After two days in Hanoi, we traveled to Ha Long Bay and spent a night on a cruise boat. With its many limestone peaks sticking out from the bay, and Ha Long Bay is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Li River near Guilin, China, has similar limestone peaks. We enjoyed Ha Long Bay much more because boats could spread out in the Bay, while the Li River was a continuous stream of boats down the river.
During the 4-hour van ride to Ha Long Bay, we enjoyed the countryside.
Cruising Ha Long Bay.
Thien Cung Cave provided an elevated view of the peaks and boats.
The next morning we took a row boat to see golden monkeys.
When planning this trip, we came close to bypassing Ha Long Bay. We’ve seen similar limestone peaks on the Li River in China. On the Li River cruise, we were put off by sanitation and the packed line of boats on the river. However, we decided to go to Ha Long Bay since we might not visit Hanoi again and this might be now or never.
Reading that that the sky at Ha Long Bay starts to clear in March, we planned our trip so that we’d visit Ha Long Bay in early March, trying to balance clear weather with the resulting heat. As you can see, the sky remained gray during our visit. At least, the ocean was green.
Starting from these low expectations, our expectations were exceeded, and we enjoyed Ha Long Bay. This feeling of contentment lasted a few months until we took a cruise in Alaska and were blown away by the water and mountains and not having to share the place with a horde of other boats. More on that to come.
Hanoi and Ha Long Bay were the last stops on our Southeast Asia vacation.