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Seventh Wonder of the world?

VIETNAM | Sunday, 26 October 2008 | Views [611]

sunset at Halong Bay

sunset at Halong Bay

After a cramped minibus ride to Halong Bay we boarded our junk boat for lunch. Halong means descending dragon and legend has it dragons came to fight the devils who were going to attack the villagers. The locals also believe dragons never left and help drive fish into the nets of local fishermen. The day had become sunny and warm much to the delight of all the passengers. Some were taking the 2 days\1 night tour like me, others were doing 3 days\2 nights so we cruised to Ca Ba Island to drop some people off. The area encompases something like 1000 islands that jut straight from the Gulf of Tonkin.  Most islands are too small to inhabit but there are a few like Cat Ba island that have a little population living on them. With me on the cruise were two dutch, a Finnish woman, 4 Kiwis, 1 Israeli, 1 Swiss and 1 Aussie. On the way to Cat Ba island we stopped at Thien Crung Grotto, the biggest and most famous cave in Halong Bay. It was huge inside and quite deep, there were paths what traveled quite far into the cave. The boats were all docked waiting for us like a parking lot and our guide "Bobby" told me there are 700 junk boats in Halong Bay doing tours! Being the most 'bang for the buck' kind of person, I decided to follow a different group into a cave next door(I can't remember the name started with a "D") that was in my opinion nicer because no one was in it except for me and a small group of 7. I met my boatmates back at the dock and we were off to a floating village with about 200 residents who lived in floating houses. We anchored for an hour so some could tour a nearby by cave by small boat then we motored to Cat Ba island. Once there were unloaded a few folks and then went out in the middle of the bay by another island so we could kayak, swim and catch the sunset. I paddled around with Giddy, from Israel and we watched the sunset behind an island while sitting in the middle of a kayak. It was my first sunset from a kayak. We paddled back to the boat and swam around for a few minutes before leaving for our dinner/overnight location. We stopped about an hour later in a bay with 26 other boats(David, the Aussie counted) and had a nice fish dinner. Then we hung out on the top of the boat and watched stars. Unlike Turkey, we did not sleep on top as it was a little cooler and noiser plus the rooms were plenty big on this boat and I shared a room with David.

The next morning we awoke to another beautiful day, had breakfast then motored back to Halong City harbor to end our trip. It was a short trip and after a restaurant style lunch we packed ourselves into a mini-bus for the trip back to Hanoi. I was taking the overnight train to Sapa in a few hours so I was fine leaving for that reason otherwise I could have stayed on the boat much longer, for sure another night. Vietnam is lobbying to make Halong Bay the Seventh Wonder of the world you can vote on a web address found on the back of your entrance ticket. It was a stunning place hopefully my pictures will give you a taste of what it is like. Not sure about Seventh Wonder of the world, having been to Milford Sound, New Zealand that would probably get my vote before Halong Bay but I would instead lobby for both to be on the list!! Either way if you visit Halong Bay you win because it is a wonderful place.

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