Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trekking in Halong Bay

We should probably get a frequent visitor card from UNESCO because this feels like the 100th World Heritage Sight that we've visited so far on the trip.

Halong Bay is very deserving of its status as a significant natural sight - it features breathtaking limestone cliffs and almost 2000 small islands.

From K - Halong Bay


We arranged a 3-day, 2-night tour to Halong Bay, allowing us to stay on a boat (see below), and go kayaking and swimming in the bay.

From K - Halong Bay


Although some of the activities we did on the tour were too touristy to be truly enjoyable (picture walking single file through a cave with 200 other tourists), there was one moment that made the trip definitely worth it.

At sunset, we had free time and we were able to jump off the 3rd story of the boat (about 15 feet) into the bay and swim around. Floating around and watching the orange sun sink while surrounded by the limestone cliffs was amazing. I even managed to avoid the large white jellyfish that lurked around the boat.

From K - Halong Bay


From K - Halong Bay


Another part of the tour involved cycling and hiking around Cat Ba island. The island's scenery looked straight out of Jurassic Park. The similarities didn't end there - it seemed like there were a lot of dangerous creatures on Cat Ba as well.

Our tour guide affectionately called this spider the "Cat Ba Mosquito". It was bigger than my hand.

From K - Halong Bay


I also like trekking in these parts because it gave me the opportuity to wear this awesome hat. It may not look like the most practical item, but it served many purposes, including protection from falling bat droppings.

From K - Halong Bay


From K - Halong Bay


From K - Halong Bay


My only complaint is that the hat can't protect me from the other people on our tour. It seems that Vietnam is a popular destination for French families with very young children. Who takes a 3-year old trekking in Vietnam? And how did I end up behind them on the hike?

From K - Halong Bay

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