Monday, December 9, 2013

Ha Long Bay - beautiful even in gray weather! (Photo-essay)

Early on the second day of my mother's and my Vietnam vacation, we piled into a van that took us -- along with an interesting mix of Vietnamese guide and traveller, and fellow tourists from the US (though the mother was born in Vietnam), Malaysia, Singapore, Chile and Norway -- on a four hour ride from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay.  

Along the way, we were dismayed to see rain drops fall.  Our guide tried to keep our spirits up by telling us that it's possible that the sun would be out when we got to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.  But the truth of the matter is that it was mainly cloudy, if not rainy, during the bulk of our 2 days-1 night Ha Long Bay cruise.  And, in fact, this is actually the norm this time of the year -- with a crew member on board our boat telling us not to expect to see a sunrise even if we woke up at the right time!

These weather facts notwithstanding, we still managed to have a good experience on our V'Spirit cruise.  The boat was nice (with our cabin and attached bathroom being far larger and more comfortable than expected), ditto re our guide (Tam was his name), the majority of our fellow passengers (with the exception of a Singaporean family group with three annoying young boys) and the food we were served on board.  And yes, Ha Long Bay really is beautiful (as I hope you'll see via my photos) -- and very happily, I honestly didn't see the terrible pollution that I had read about and was worrying that I'd be seeing... :b

Even on a gray day, Ha Long Bay visually impresses

One of the few photos I managed to take inside
started majorly malfunctioning when in dark places ;(

This photo of one of the cave's mouths gives some idea 
of how crowded this fortunately cavernous natural 
structure was when I visited ;(

The famous view of Ha Long Bay from 
one of the mouths of the Surprise Cave

On our second day in Ha Long Bay, we visited the
Luon Cave area which is home to a lagoon

 The view from our boat's top deck, which I enjoyed 
hanging out on -- even when it drizzled!

Puppet Ponyo was another fan of the so-called sun deck
and its views, however unsunny, of Ha Long Bay

All too soon, we had to bid farewell to Ha Long Bay
-- but, truly, I'd like to go back some time (and 
after seeing these photos, I hope you'll understand why!)


sarah bailey knight said...

Lovely photos, beautiful scenery and Puppet Ponyo looks like the overcast weather didn't bother her.

YTSL said...

Hi sarah sbk --

Puppet Ponyo doesn't mind overcast weather but draws the line at rainy weather... Incidentally, I think she added quite a bit of welcome color to the picture... ;b

Bill said...

Hi Yvonne,

The top photo could easily be the subject of a classical Chinese painting...The overcast conditions, if anything, add atmospheric character to this photo-essay. The scenery resembles (but is still different from) the peaks of Guilin or southern Thailand.

Well, Ponyo makes another appearance in your Vietnam blog and I'm sure she would like to be in more since she does so enjoy being in the limelight.

Ponyo, from your origins in Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, to your loose Japanese adaption in Ponyo, to your incarnation here as Puppet Ponyo - it has indeed been a long journey for you. Here you are in the foreground of this photo in your water element - right where you belong as ever the joyous starlet and faithful traveler's companion.

Ponyo, in my eyes you transcend mere puppetry and pop culture. Your ageless face gives me hope for this chaotic and increasingly polluted world.


YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

I've not been to Guilin or the parts of southern Thailand with limestone islands -- but the limestone islands of Ha Long Bay did get me thinking of the limestone hills near Ipoh, Malaysia...

As for your comments re Puppet Ponyo: She's already pink but may now turn even pinker as a result of them! ;b