My desire to visit Vietnam was ignited the first time I glimpsed a photograph of Halong Bay. It countered the image of Vietnam I had conjured in my head; the one where chaotic streets are overcrowded with motorbikes and stifled with pollution. The picture of Halong Bay showed a different scene entirely – one of tree-covered karst mountains rising from an azure sea. I was intent on traveling to Vietnam just to see Halong Bay with my own eyes. I didn’t know it then, but my expectations would be surpassed when we actually experienced the UNESCO World Heritage site on a 2-night Halong Bay cruise.
Cruising Halong Bay, Vietnam: Tai Chi
On our second morning of cruising Halong Bay, Vietnam, we woke up slightly bleary-eyed and with unsettled stomachs (aka hangovers), but refused to succumb to the self-inflicted pain. Instead, I joined a small group on the rooftop deck at 6:30am for a lesson in Tai Chi. Thankful for the clouds hiding the sun and the cool, morning breeze, I followed the moves of the instructor and stretched my way out of my haziness.
Cruising Halong Bay, Vietnam: Amazing Cave
After a quick breakfast of Pho (they eat it for every meal here in Vietnam!) we tendered to Amazing Cave, which was, in fact, amazing. The limestone karsts often contain caves as rain and sea water have left their mark over the past couple million years, but this is one of the largest. Stairs and paths led us through three connected caves, each one bigger than the previous.