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Perfect Simplicity

The Impossibility of Halong Bay

VIETNAM | Friday, 30 May 2014 | Views [337]

Sky scraping mountains erupted from the calm bay and were scattered about as far as my eyes could see. I couldn’t fathom how far Halong Bay stretched on for as we cruised throughout its vastness.  The sheer size put me in awe and made me realise how beautifully insignificant I am in the scheme of things.  It is spectacular, it is beautiful, it is magical, all the stories other tourists told me were true - it is a breathtaking place.  Kayaking through Halong Bay also made me feel like an ant amongst the monolithic mountains: we yelled high pitched “cooees” and like little kids waited for the numerous echoes of our voices seconds later.  We parked our kayak and perched ourselves on the rocks. Although the mountains appear beautiful, their rocks are deceptively sharp and climbing around barefoot was not the smartest choice.  Staying overnight on the boat which anchored itself in the middle of Halong Bay was definitely the highlight for me. Waking up to the spectacular view of the misty mountains floating on the water is definitely not something you see everyday. I may not see a sight like that again for the rest of my life.

We went to a national park and trekked up a mountain. Trekking is a delicate way to put it - some of the time we actually had to climb our way up.  The unforgiving humidity is what made it most challenging. We were all coated in a thick, heavy sweat, there was no point in wiping the sweat off my face with my hands because my entire body was saturated.  On the way we spotted a crab - its claws were gripped around a snail and it was slowly prying the poor bastard out of its shell for lunch. What a way to die. Finally, we reached the summit and the view was worth the gruelling hike.  We could see out over the mountains and beyond - I really did feel on top of the world, as cliched as that may be. But the worst part for me was knowing we had to descend back down the way we came. Slipping and breaking my ankles was always a thought playing at the back of my mind.  As we trekked down, there was a viper on the middle of the track and he wasn’t alone - he was in the middle of consuming a baby squirrel. The squirrel’s head was down the viper’s throat - and from looking at their size difference you wouldn’t think the viper could eat the squirrel whole - but he could - and he was.

 There were simple villages floating on the water of Halong Bay.  I remember reading that the village people had been born there, had lived their whole lives there, and would die there - never having seen mainland Vietnam in their lives.  It is a life I could never imagine having.





Tags: boat tour, halong bay, hiking, kayaking, mountains, national park, villages

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