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
Hang Sung Sot (AKA Surprise Cave) before my camera
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!)