Vietnam 2011: Halong Bay

The holidays flew by just like that. Lest I forget all the beautiful things I saw in Vietnam, I decided to spend some time editing my photos for this short series about this country.

We went on tour again as a family with Chan Brothers. Dad chose this package because it would bring us through not just north and south vietnam, but also central vietnam. In essence we traveled from Hanoi –> Hue –> Dalang –> Ho Chin Minh. We visited a total of 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Halong Bay and Hoi An, which were both charming in their own ways. Food wasn’t the very best unfortunately, but that’s the weakness of tour packages anyway. The trip did however give us a taste of what Vietnam has to offer, and a chance to understand their culture, and their people.

The Kissing Rocks, the symbol of Halong Bay

Halong Bay features almost 2000 huge and majestic limestone islets. The emerald green waters are calm, so much so you never get seasick while you’re in the boat.

We were unfortunately “blessed” with the worst kind of weather you can imagine- biting cold and a thick fog. Suffice to say my photos required quite a fair bit of adjustments to get the contrast right. That said my photos are not a misrepresentation of the beauty of this place. The editing was a matter of making my photos correspond better to what I saw- blame it on my photography  skills if you must.

Anyway, back to the kissing rocks. From this angle, we saw a dog kissing a rooster (some see two kissing roosters, anything goes ;)). When you travel around it, you see a garoupa. Part of the fun in traveling around Halong Bay is interpreting these oddly shaped limestone islets.

To fully appreciate the majesty of Halong Bay, one must also understand the complex geographical phenomenons that developed these limestone islets and the numerous grottoes located in the islands.

I’m not much of a geography person myself (scored the lowest in the level for my first geog test, whoops) so I can only furnish you with information from Wikipedia. Halong Bay used to be a deep sea, but as a result of tectonic plate movement, has developed into what it is today.

Tourists flock to Halong Bay every year to admire this natural wonder. Luckily, the waters are still very clean and beautiful, and the place isn’t overcrowded with tourists thereby retaining its peace and serenity.

I believe this boat is transporting sand. Fun fact: Singapore imports sand from Vietnam.

We visited a fish farm halfway through our trip. Bought a couple of crustaceans for lunch.

Just look at how high these limestone islets can go!

The Surprise Grotto took my breath away. The ceiling was so high and the indents in the ceiling would make you think it’s man-made. Huge limestone columns, stalactites and stalagmites littered the entire place, all products of nature after many years. The lights installed further emphasized all the marvelous detail on every work of art by mother nature. It was quite an eye-opener for myself.

More photos coming very soon!