Gulf of Tonkin

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20 travelers at this place:

  • Day40

    Ha Long Bay

    April 19

    Via vores hostel i Hanoi, Flipside Hostel, bookede vi en “Chillout Tour” til Ha Long Bay. Vi blev hentet på hostellet tidligt om morgenen, hvorefter vi kørte til Ha Long Bay, og fik anvist vores båd. Båden i sig selv var ganske fornem. Den fælles spisesal var virkelig fin, med sjove bartendere, hvide duge på bordene samt den perfekte udsigt der altid var. Værelserne var små, men da størstedelen af tiden blev brugt på dækket, på korte kajak-ture, i spisesalen osv. var de intet problem.

    Maden ombord var overdådig. Vi 4 sad til bords (samt delte soveværelse) med en Australier med navnet Justin. Hver af de 4 borde på båden fik serveret en lille buffet, hvor der selvfølgelig var taget højde for individuel ønsker om vegetariske, veganske og pescetariske kostmuligheder. Vi gik i hvert fald aldrig sultne fra bords.

    Turen var 3 dage/2 nætter. Første aften gik med Karaoke i spisestuen, mest brugt af de 2 spanske familier om bord, eller rejefiskning, hvilket os og 4-5 andre fra New Zealand gjorde hyggeligt brug af. Morgenen efter var vi ude at sejle i Kajak. Her kom vi lidt tættere på nogen af de folk der har deres liv i og omkring Ha Long Bay. Overalt i Ha Long Bay er der små tømmerflåder. På nogle af dem bor fiskerne der et par uger af gangen alt imens de fisker en masse fisk, hvorefter de sejler til kysten og sælger fiskene til lokale, men andre tømmerflåder er større og bruges helt anderledes. Et par steder i Ha Long Bay, desværre ikke steder vi besøgte selv, men kun så fra båden, er tømmerflåder så store, at hele landsbyer og deres beboere bruger hele deres liv på tømmerflåderne eller i fiskerbådene. De bliver født der, opvokser der og dør der. Aldrig sætter de deres ben på fast jord.

    Efter en lille vandretur mod en udsigtspost på en nærtliggende ø, bevægede vi os mod en anden lille ø, hvor vi skulle tilbringe natten i bungalows. Da vores båd dokker ved kajen, er en anden lille båd ved at sejle derfra. På dækket af den anden båd ser vi 3 danske drenge vi mødte i Vang Vieng i Laos. vi får lige råbt et par hilsner og finder ud af, at de også skal overnatte på øen om aftenen. Et sjovt sammentraf der ledte til en fodboldkamp, en beachvolley kamp, og et par spil Pool (og selvfølgelig bajere).
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  • Day29

    Vietnam has more than its fair share of UNESCO Heritage sites. One of the more famous ones is Ha Long Bay, which is a four hour drive from Hanoi. Scattered throughout the bay are between 2000 and 3000 small, limestone islands. The islands are relatively small, and almost none of them are inhabited. Having heard that the scenery is stunning, we opted to take a 3 day, 2 night cruise on the Dragon Legend, which is run by Indochina Junk. Given the length of the cruise, the boat is actually able to travel to Baitu Long Bay, which is part of the Ha Long Bay province, but is a little further off shore and has fewer boats. (Traveling to Ha Long Bay is wildly popular, and there are approximately 400 boats that take visitors on trips that range from a few hours in length, to a week long.)

    The Dragon Legend boat is supposed to resemble a traditional Vietnamese vessel, and is decorated with carved dragons (a symbol of prosperity). The name “Dragon Legend” refers to the legend regarding the formation of the islands. According to ancient legend, the islands in Ha Long Bay were formed when a dragon visited the bay, and the small islands were formed from the fire that she breathed. Baitu Long Bay is where the baby dragon settled. (The word “Baitu Long” means baby dragon.) The boat itself was lovely: lots of rosewood, dragon carvings, and beautiful rooms. The service was very attentive. Unfortunately, most of the food was so-so (too many sauces, and pretty bland).

    After getting settled into our rooms, we were able to go kayaking around some of the islands. Arie and I were quite excited to kayak, given how much we enjoy kayaking at the river. So, we enthusiastically scrambled into some of the most rickety kayaks that I’ve ever been in. (I swear that Arie’s paddle looked like it had been eaten by a dragon, as it was missing large chunks at the edges.) While the kayaks proved to be seaworthy, I found the whole experience to be quite depressing as the water is littered with trash. And, I mean littered — bottles, cans, bags of garbage, large chunks of styrofoam, etc. Apparently, the litter is tossed in the water by both the tourists, and the people who live and work in and around the Bay. While we were told that some of the tour companies were working on cleaning up the Bay, and that the amount of trash has decreased, there is still so much left to be cleaned up. By the time we had finished a 45 minutes kayak trip, I had had plenty, and happily returned to the boat.

    There were a total of 36 guests on the boat. Most of the guests were either American, English or Australian. There was also a large family from Taipei— from best that I could surmise, it was a couple with four grown daughters. We met some interesting people, including two families traveling with relatively young children (ages 12 and 9). Both Arie and I were impressed with the kids, who were both charming and curious about the world. We also met a couple from North Carolina; the wife is an environmentalist and is working in Hanoi for 5 months. It was interesting to chat with her about life as an ex-pat in Hanoi.

    On the second day of the cruise, we were treated to a barbecue on the beach. I expected picnic blankets, and a simple meal of grilled meats. What we actually got was something else entirely — formal tables, with white table clothes, ceramic plates and glasses. It was surprising elegant for a beach barbecue. And, we were served the best meal of the cruise —endless platters of grilled meat, chicken and fish. It was just lovely. Arie kept saying, “no one is going to believe this — a formal spread on an island in Vietnam!

    After 2 comfy nights on the boat, we departed early on a speedboat and returned to Ha Long for our next adventure . . .
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  • Day98

    Ha Long Bay

    January 17

    Für zwei Tage haben wir uns auf die weniger besuchte Insel Cat Ba begeben. Heute haben wir dann eine Bootstour von hier aus unternommen, die uns zuerst zur Halong Bucht führte.
    Dort angekommen sind wir 1,5 Stunden mit dem Kayak durch die Karstlandschaft gefahren und haben die einzigartige Atmosphäre und die Stille dort genossen! 😍

  • Day34

    A mellett hogy gyonyorkodhetsz az obol csodalatos sziklaiban, a hajout tartalmazott 2 kis kirandulast is, ezek kozul az elso a helyi uszo falu meglatogatasa volt. Atszalltunk egy kisebb motoros hajora ami kivitt minket a "kozpontba", innen mentunk tovabb 6szemelyes, kezi hajtasu bambuszjarganyokkal.
    A kambodzsaihoz kepest ez a vizi falu rendezettebbnek tunt, es a hazak is stabilabbak, rendes tetovel, ajtoval :)) Erre szukseg is van erre, tekintve hogy kb 16fok volt. En konkretan felhuztam szinte minden ruhamat, de jo hogy meg futonadragot is hoztam ;)
    Sajnos a kepek itt sem adjak vissza, mennyire gyonyoru szinei vannak a tajnak es a tengernek.
    A hajo legenysege igazan kitesz magaert, nagyon kedvesek, es ugy altalaban nagyon jol szervezett itt minden.
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  • Day9

    The afternoon excursion takes us into the primitive floating fishing village where over 100 people still live today on bare basics.

    Their houses float on large empty drums, they have no running water and electricity. They share a generator between a couple of homes for lights at night.

    These people are born here, grow up, grow old here and die here.

    On the one hand they have the most peaceful place to call their home but on the other hand it must be a hard life, or call it just survival.

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  • Day9

    Cooking lessons

    January 21, 2017

    Learned to make Vietnamese spring rolls!

    Isabel was pretty good at it, I sucked as my spring rolls kept breaking. I put it down to the fact that I was barely able to get my hands into the plastic gloves. I did not have the full range of motion with my hands hence I will try this again at home where I can do It with bare hands.


  • Day10

    We dragged ourselves out of bed for a sunrise and Tai Chi class on the deck.

    From the tiger to eagle pose we did it all. Not really the most intense workout I have ever had, I did not even break a sweat in the 15 minute workout.

    However we can not complain about the venue and scenery!


  • Day9

    Seawater pearl farm

    January 21, 2017

    Isabel and I just had an argument about seawater vs freshwater pearls yesterday and here we are visiting an actual seawater pearl farm. 😜

    Seeing the process helps me understand why these pearls are so expensive.

    Basically every oyster can only produce one pearl in their lifetime as the oyster has to be killed to harvest the pearl.

    A pearl is formed if an oyster gets a grain of sand or a rock stuck in the oyster, and as the oyster does not have the ability to get rid of the foreign object it basically builds this pearl shell around the foreign object to protect it self.

    The pearl farmers use this ability of the oyster to create beautiful pearls. They open the oyster slightly, and implant a round little ball into the oyster to ensure the oyster produce a nice round pearl, then they let it grow the pearl for up to 8 to 10 years. The oyster gets cleaned and x-rayed every 3 months to ensure the existence of the growing pearl but the farmer can't see the quality of the pearl until its harvested.

    When its time to harvest the pearl, the farmer simply open the oyster and cut into the flesh of the oyster to release the pearl. Seeing this was unreal as it basically come out as a perfect pearl which needs no further work to be sold. The only thing they do with the pearls after harvesting is rate them between level 1 and 4 and drill a hole in the pearl if its going to be used in a string. If they polish the pearl it actually lose value.

    Experiencing this made me think of my mom as I know she would have loved to see this.

    Isabel was in heaven, and was looking and trying on necklaces. The sales lady was convinced she will make a sale today. The joke is she did not even bother with the cheap pearls she went straight to the best quality pearls. I am going to get more than one job it seems 😥!

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  • Day10

    Lunch with a view

    January 22, 2017

    Presentation wins!! We started off with a potato soup, which was very tasty. Then we had a pineapple turnip and coriander salad for the table, garnished with a flower cut out of a red pepper- I loved this it was so refreshing. Today I mentioned that I don't eat fish (due to my fussiness). Me and Cathy got a beef stir fry which was really good, the pork and chicken for the table was all a bit weird. We all shared everything the girls just dodged the sea bass. It's quite strange how they bring things piecemeal, the stir fried veggies arrived last which would have actually complemented the rice and "meat dishes". I am happy to do it Vietnamese style it is just a strange way of serving food especially its brought for the table.

    I stick to my opinion the vegetarian options win.

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  • Day11

    We visited the Thien Canh Son cave (Heaven caves) which has only recently been turned into a tourist site.

    The cave was recently discovered by a fisherman looking for freshwater. He found another fisherman family living in this cave. Hard to believe that as little as 10 years ago there was people living here, almost like prehistoric cave men.

    The beach on the little islet is also a gem and a fitting place to end our time in Halong bay.

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You might also know this place by the following names:

Gulf of Tonkin, Bac Bo Gulf, Bak-bo Bay, Beibu Wan, Golfe du Tonkin, Gulf of Tongking, North Vietnamese Bay, Peiboo Wan, Pei-pu Wan, Tung-ching-wan, Vịnh Bắ Bô, Vịnh Bắc Bộ, Vịnh Bắc Viêt

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