Ha Long Bay is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. There’s no wonder it’s one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites not only because of its beauty but its significance to Vietnam’s history and culture. Let me show you around the area and the floating villages through the pictures I took during our Ha Long Bay tour.
A Quick History
Ha Long Bay literally means “descending dragon bay”. According to legend, to protect Vietnam from invaders, the gods sent a family of dragons to help the people. When peace was restored, the mother of the dragons chose to descend and rest in this bay.
Our Ha Long Bay tour guide didn’t say much about the place, unfortunately. I’m a sucker for folk tales and those stories would have gone perfectly well with our tour.
The Floating Village
My favourite during our Ha Long Bay tour is the floating village. It is amazing how the villagers go about their daily lives without direct access to the “outside world”. There are no malls, theatres, cars (no roads!), and convenience stores around. There is also no hospital in sight. There is just a small number of people and pets (yes, I saw a couple of dogs there!) living peacefully among the beautiful karst and vegetation surrounding the village.
It’s interesting how the villagers seem so used to tourists. They even offer activities like snorkelling and kayaking and I couldn’t help but wonder if they enjoy seeing a huge number of strangers wander about their homes all day long.
What’s in the Ha Long Bay Tour
Apart from sightseeing and taking pictures of EVERYTHING, we also had lunch on the boat. Food (unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as I expected) was included and was served on the boat but they charged us for the drinks. We were also allowed to kayak for free but the time was limited. My pair and I panicked as we got trapped in a cove and we noticed that everyone else has gone back to the boat!
We also stopped by a cave. I didn’t enjoy it that much as everything was a bit rushed because there were a lot of people queueing to see the spots.
After the tour, we headed back to Hanoi, for a couple of nights accommodation in Hanoi. I’m definitely going back to Vietnam and I will spend more time exploring the country and learning more about their culture. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with the locals so I think I’m skipping the guided Ha Long Bay tour next time and I might go there on my own.