Hanoi to Halong Bay
This morning we departed Hanoi and transferred by road to Halong Bay, (approx. 4 hours). The traffic in the city is crazy, as usual. Bikes, scooters, cars and trucks all sharing the roads and walkways. Pedestrians bravely cross the road and the bikes and cars veer around then. There are no rules of the road. They drive everywhere and anywhere. Somehow its organized chaos. On our way to Halong Bay we stopped for a break to stretch our legs. The rest stops are commercial tourist shops. They have women sewing embrodery, and many items are for sale. Purses, shoes, silk items, dresses, jewelry and much more. There are bus loads of people stopping at this shop.
Overnight: Halong Bay Syrena Cruise
Halong Bay is considered Vietnam’s eighth wonder of the world – three thousand spectacular chalk and limestone outcroppings, cliffs, arches, and coves form a dragon’s tail across the bay. Upon arrival at Halong Bay we boarded a traditional-style luxury sailing junk to meander through the area whose name translates as ‘Where the Dragon Descends into the Sea’. We stopped at an islet and climbed through a series of breath-taking caves and grottoes, marveling at some of the most impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations anywhere in the world. A lunch of local seafood specialties was served on-board. If the weather is fine you may be able to swim in the bay and sunbathe on the deck.
The following morning the early risers enjoyed Thai Chi on the upper deck. The sky was clear and the bay peaceful. Coffee and a light breakfast were served before we headed out for a kayak trip about the bay. The monkeys came down to the waters edge in hopes of receiving a treat from the tourists. After a delicious brunch we checked out and transferred back to the mainland. We drove back to Hanoi to catch our flight to Saigon. We stopped at pearl farm to learn how they cultivate sea pearls and a burial site to learn about their local customs.
We transferred back to the Hanoi airport for our flight to Saigon, also known as Ho Chi Minh city. Our guide Huie met us upon arrival and transferred us to the hotel. It was a late arrival. Most wanted to skip dinner and head to bed early. Some met at the rooftop bar for a night cap. The view of the Saigon River and the city lights are spectacular.
Overnight: Liberty Central Riverside, Saigon