If you’re planning to visit Vietnam anytime soon, one of the “must-visit” places is the Ha Long Bay, also known as the Bay of the Descending Dragon. It is one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, so you bet it’ll be worth your time. It has almost 2,000 islands and islets in various shapes and sizes. We traveled here in June so the rainy season has started. It is said that the Dragon brings rain to the country as a blessing, which is essential for agriculture. So I guess we can also consider ourselves lucky for being blessed to see Ha Long Bay in such good weather.
Because Ha Long Bay is a very popular destination for both local and international visitors, we booked a private tour from KKday because we trust that it will be nothing but amazing. Our travel time was four and a half hours from the capital of Hanoi, but good thing our van was very comfortable so we can just relax as we appreciate the sceneries along the ride. Ms. Lan, our tour guide, is able to speak English very well so she was able to share with us some interesting facts about Vietnam on the way.
Our first stop was at the Legend Pearl where we learned how they culture fresh pearls. The process is quite interesting because it then only takes a year or a year and a half to produce 1 pearl. Still pretty long wait if you ask me but just like any beautiful piece of art, these things can’t be rushed. The pearls are then sorted to be used for different items such as jewelry, ornaments, beauty creams, and so much more.
Next, after Ms. Lan arranged all the necessaries at the wharf, we boarded on the grandiose Ha Long Bay cruise, which is designed like an old antique boat that really takes us back to a different era. This then took us around the different islands of Ha Long Bay. These limestone islands are absolutely breathtaking! I love how we can just relax and marvel at the picturesque landscapes. It’s a maze of limestone islands rising out of the blue-green waters. Yes, this is what we are seeing as we enjoy our lunch of grilled seafood.
We then headed to the Sung Sot cave filled with interesting images formed from stalactites. The cave’s absolutely huge and well-lit. I love the pathways are made safe, not slippery. Oh, and it didn’t smell at all! (I thought it would because of the bats and well, it’s a cave) I was fascinated with the different formations found inside. There was a dragon, a turtle, a couple getting married, and many other things that are naturally fantastic. They also played with the shadows that the stalactites formed to make it seem something else.
After enjoying the bay’s remarkable landscapes, we headed back to the boat. We each had our own space or corner on the deck. I love how the waves lulled us to sleep. It was so relaxing! We definitely had an unforgettable experience in one of nature’s seven new wonders of the world. Cruising around the countless islands and spectacular mountains is an incomparable experience that we will remember and cherish for a lifetime.
THE QUEST FOR (legit) KARAOKE
We were pretty much tired from the walking and gazing, so I’m glad to be spending a night here before heading back to Hanoi. We stayed at Galaxy Halong Hotel, which was located to the center of the city. There were stores found everywhere so we can easily buy whatever we need. After yet another sumptuous dinner, we didn’t really want to call it a night just yet and wanted to explore some more.
We had this not so crazy idea (at least we thought it was) to find a karaoke place because we LOVE to sing and we just wanted to do something close to our roots. It’s part of us. Yes, ask any Filipino household for a Magic Mic and they have it. But I just have to warn you guys that their karaoke place here is not the typical ones that us, Filipinos, are accustomed. Not really sure if this place is legit of just trying to cover for something else, but I felt like it’s more of a gentleman’s club lol Anyway, we still got to sing and enjoyed the night.
As we wrap up our time in Ha Long Bay we enjoyed our filling breakfast at Galaxy Hotel. I really enjoyed having pho in the morning. After checking out, Ms. Lan was already waiting for us at the lobby. We went to stopped by a souvenir shop along the way before heading to the city. I guess this is one of the highlights of my trip as I got to connect with talented people who creates beautiful handmade masterpieces, which takes weeks or event months to finish. What's even more interesting is that the people doing these are all handicapped as a result of Agent Orange's effects back during the world war. It breaks my heart how such phenomena still affects the people who live in this area. Nonetheless, it's quite inspiring how they strive and hope for a brighter future as they put aside that event in past and move forward instead. Their creativity and love towards their work is just absolutely astonishing. I hope that one day, I can go back to this place and buy myself one of their masterpiece because look at the details put into it. Amazing, right?
BACK IN HANOI
It started raining when we arrived Hanoi for lunch at Minhanh, and just as how KKday is, seems like we had another restaurant all to ourselves. Private dining all day errdayyy! So we can eat comfortable and shout “Mot Hai Ba Yo,” which is cheers in Vietnam as we chug down them rice wines (Shots?). Anyway, we were left with full stomach by the end of the day and memories to last us a lifetime.
We then went on for our city tour. More of that and the things I explored in the city up in my other blog.
So overall if you ask me, this deal was pretty sweet! Check out KKday for more amazing deals!
Until then, see you anywhere in the world!