Vietnam Series: Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination, located in Quang Ninh provinceVietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to Hạ Long City, Cẩm Phả town, and part of Van Don district. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. Ha Long Bay is a center of a larger zone which includes Bái Tử Long bay to the northeast, and Cát Bà islands to the southwest. These larger zones share similar geologicalgeographicalgeomorphologicalclimate, and cultural characters. 
Ha Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 km2, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets.[1] The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate.[2] The geo-diversity of the environment in the area has created biodiversity, including atropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea shore biosystem.[3] Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species[4] and 60 endemic faunal species.[5]  —WIKIPEDIA

I was curious of  what is Halong bay. Groupon and often features tour deals for this place. Initially, I was thinking of going to Cambodia after Saigon, but I still want to see what Hanoi has to offer.

Halong Bay has an interesting history and legend. It\’s nice to know that it\’s also part of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
It\’s a 3 hour bus ride from Hanoi. I availed of package tour from the hotel. Anyway the prices are just more or less the same from the travel agencies around the Old Quarter. I only got the day tour so I can maximize my stay in Hanoi.
I am grateful to have nice and friendly tour mates.
From L-R: Me, Leane from Australia, Michael and Vitec from Poland
First off, we waited for other fellow travelers to gather around the terminal. We are led by our friendly tour guides. The wait didn\’t seem that long because Michael kept me company. He\’s very talkative for a guy.
This is our boat. It means billow according to Google Translator.
We had our lunch first after some friendly reminders. The food is delish! During the boat ride locals will suddenly appear along side the tour boat to sell knick-knacks that you could buy at cheaper price in the city. 
After eating, we are headed towards the floating village.
The green colored house is a school. 
After the boat ride, we transferred back to the tour boat to go to Hang Dau Go.
Looks like chickens kissing or fighting?

Hang Dau Go (Cave of Wooden Stakes) is a huge cave consisting of three chambers, which you reach via 90 steps. —SOURCE

Once again my brain is again challenged as to the difference of stalactite and stalagmite.
Legend has it (as told by our guide) that the Dragon and Fairy lived in this cave. They have 100 children. They lived together but called it quits after some time. The couple took 50/50 of their children. From time to time both of them still returns to the cave to pay a visit to the remembrance that they have left for each other.
This is what the fairy has left for the dragon.
This is why the fairy keeps coming back for more
I just have to LOL when I heard the story. There are a lot of rock formations inside. And you really have to use your imagination to see it. 
Can you see the cat?
We made it out alive! Etchos lang.
Then we\’re off to the boats…then back to Hanoi.
The journey back was informative and insightful because Leane told me wonderful stories of her travels. Will blog it on another post.

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