Monday, August 20, 2018

Tonkin, mon amour – where the dragon descended

We would've loved to see so much of Vietnam, but there were two things we wanted to do, which prevented us from visiting more: getting to know Hanoi well, and spending our anniversary day at Halong Bay. And since Halong Bay was such a special place anyhow, we opted to spend not one, but three days and two nights, on a cruise. And we loved it. Halong Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long, the bay of the dragon that descended) is one incredible UNESCO heritage site – towering karst formations rise from the water, turning the bay into a gorgeous otherworldly aquatic maze. There are floating villages, caves inside the karsts, and just a landscape that morphs with every turn and every change in light...

There's not much more to say, except the obvious – what a beautiful and unique place, and what a privilege to have been there. 

These first pics are from our first day, which included a strong blitzstorm while we were waiting for our boat after an expedition to Ti Top Island. Incredibly, the storm cleared (but not before leaving us completely soaked) and gave way to the most impressive sunset of my life. Really, I can say, in all honesty, I've never seen something like that. It was quite awe inspiring as it was, with gradually less and less light, when all of a sudden there was more light again, with clouds reflecting one last round of fiery orange sky. What a spectacle.

















After such a gorgeous show the night before, the second day I was sure up early in the morning to catch the sunrise. Lovely shades of colour with the dramatic backdrop of the karsts in the distance. Wow. And then we had a beautiful sunny day. In fact, we were so lucky, because there had been typhoon-like conditions barely a day before we boarded the ship, which had in fact led to the cancellation of many cruises before ours! The sunset the second day, of course, was nice but could not compete with the previous one, but at least we had drinks and music (part of the cruise's activities), and that was followed by a clear night...










Our final day was a long, slow ride back to port, past more incredible formations. A slow goodbye to this one-of-a-kind place...




Now, like I mentioned, we did some excursions, but that's for my next post. I just wanted to share – with photos that can by no means do the bay justice – the raw natural beauty of this place first.  

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