From Hanoi, we set out via private car to the port of the Gulf of Tonkin for our excursion to Ha Long Bay. The port is a mess of tourists, all being herded by vietmanese cattle drivers. You there, no no, come come, you wait. ATMs are hard to come by, and you need cash, so make sure to pull out your DONG here. Play on words, but seriously, pull out your DONG (Vietmanese Currency). Although some may accept USD.
After about an hour of moving from here to there, we got on our boat. Though I was simply a tourist, I felt like a pirate. Of course, all the boats are made to look like pirate ships and therefore make you feel all ARRRGG, but even though you know its a trick, the boats do the job. As a tourist, in the mist of the bay, I set out for an evening at sea. Darting through islands, looking at the stars and sipping cocktails. Eventually I make my way to your room, and settled in for a pirates nap. As I woke up in the early morning, after a soft night of sleep at “sea”, I was taken aback by the beauty of the bay.
Ha Long Bay is a designated World Heritage Site and feels like a magical land you seek only on epic, pirate’s tale kind of adventure. It is one of earth’s most spectacular beauties. Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’, and as legend claims, the islands of Ha long Bay were created as a great dragon from the deepest part of the mountains, sped towards the coast, creating valleys and crevasses in its midst. And as the mighty dragon dove into the sea, he filled the valleys with water, leaving only the peaks for human eyes to see.
As we carved our way to the end of the bay, I was seriously on the look out for that dragon. Ha Long is that mystical and beautiful.