Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sites : Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

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Ha Long Bay
Hanoi, Vietnam (A UNESCO Heritage Site)
Scenic & Tranquil Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

We visited Hanoi, Vietnam in March 2009 and went to UNESCO Heritage site of Ha Long Bay. It is a scenic, beautiful and tranquil place that is not to be missed.

The following is an extract of Day 2 of our 3-day tour (see Vietnam - Hanoi Day 2).

At Ha Long Port, the wharves were dotted by many boats. But these boats are not for fishing, they are converted trawler boats to ferry the tourists around the bay.
The tourism industry have been kind to Ha Long.

We left via Baichay, one of the many tourist wharves that stretches out perpendicular to the coastline.
Here's Lynn posing at the entrance - looks like she has woken up!

On board and ready to go! In this ridiculous denim jacket I looked more like a Vietnamese than the Vietnamese themselves! 
The boat that will be taking us is the Song Bien, meaning willow - How romantic!
Lunch (included in the tour package) is served on board, a good spread of sea-food ala Vietnamese.
OR one can even opt for an overnight tour, staying on board one of these boats.

As we left, I looked around. There are boats of all kinds - a Chinese Junk...

... a multi-tiered tourist boat, this one is probably used for overnight cruises.

And far away I espied the Bai Chay suspension bridge, beyond it is the large Vinh Cura Luc Lake. Over there are where the real fishermen's trawler boats are.

Fifteen minutes after disembarking, we were served lunch. Better to eat before reaching the scenic spots!
Here's Lynn with another tourist waiting for lunch to be served. Now that we are on the way, she's perky and all smiles.

Finishing lunch, we went atop and was awed by the majestic view of the many islands popping out from the sea.

The islands with the white limestone topped by dark greenery sitting in the emerald green sea looks so much better in real live. My photos do not do justice to their beauty.
They are definitely much, much more beautiful than those at Pha Nga Bay in Phuket.

As we neared the islands, boats can be seen mooring just off their beaches.

Our destination island is Dao Titap, a favorite for tourists as it has within it a labyrinth of caves. From the boat, I could see a temple sitting on & into the face of the limestone cliff.

As  we approached the island, high above can be seen a viewing platform, accessible only from the internal caves.
We will be there later to take in the panoramic beauty of the bay.
The title photo at the top of this blog was taken from this platform.

Titap Island, the roofed shed on the right is the entrance to the cave system.
As we landed on Dao Titap, my heart was thumping with excitement - the grandiose of the place has gotten to me, and I was eager to walk around and physically take in the place.

The tour guide led us right off into the caverns with it's show of lighted stalactites.

Further down, there was an unique formation of honey-comb stalactite.

The small paths and caves led to a large cavern, it was brightly lighted up and colorful.
These caverns were interesting and beautiful but not as great as the ones which I see at Yunan (see China - Dyanmic Yunnan Day 2).
And my interest in these were diminished as I was more keen to get to aforesaid viewing platform.

Finally, we are at the viewing platform. We spent a while there, basking in the view of the surrounding islands.....
..... like this one which seem to come out from an fine Chinese painting. But really, it's a photo I took with my simple automatic digital camera.

Well, time passes and we had to drag ourselves from those great views and back to the tunnels again. The beauty of the caverns largely overshadowed by the beauty of the outside.

Time to leave the island - we boarded our boat.
But it's not the end yet, we still have the return journey to enjoy the scenery.

YES! The return trip was just as enjoyable.
We took a slightly different route back, and through more vistas of more beautiful islands.

Passed by this interesting double masted modern junk tour boat.

Saw this lady rowing a sampan, selling refreshments to tourist in the boats.
The water here is really clean and rich emerald green.

Also passed by this conical shaped island with a temple atop.

Another double-masted Chinese junk tour boat, but this one had yellow sails.

A little girl selling refreshments from a sampan.

I zoomed in on the girl. She was young, probably about 10 years old.
Besides having to ply her wares, she had to looked after her toddler baby brother.
That is indeed a heavy responsibility for one so young.

We are leaving the island area and getting closer to the mainland.
I turned around to have a final look at Ha Long Bay.
The memory of the white green-crested islands in the rich emerald sea will forever be etched in my mind.

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Sites : Nyonya Mansion, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Vietnam-Hanoi Day 01 / 02      - Junp to Day 03
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