This is a group of about 6000 islands and rocks, scattered in the South China Sea. They are a continuation of the rock formations of scenic Guilin in China, but under water. The view is spectacular; the islands are classified among the new seven wonders of nature, and rightly so. Most of the time they are covered in mist, sometimes light and romantic and sometimes opaque – it takes a typhoon to clear it completely.
We drove from Hanoi, then boarded a boat to cruise in the bay, and spent one night on board. We were lucky in this tour, as the trips are often cancelled because of thick fog or rain.
By the way, Ha Long means "descending dragon" in contrast with Thang Long, "rising dragon", which is one of the names of Hanoi.
|Rice fields forever; here still green, but in the South the rice was already harvested, and they started a new crop.|
|The dead are buried in the fields, so the family will always be nearby. You can see little buildings, or just funeral stones, sometimes in innundated rice fields.|
|The city of Ha Long in the background. Beside tourism, it is also an important port for coal export.|
|That little boat is for real.|
The beds i'the east are soft|
Our cabin, which I liked very much.
|The boats put up red sails, I thing mostly for show.|
This island has a beach, and stairs to climb the hill; on the way there are two pavilions, one shown in the picture, one at the very top. Most tourist boats anchor nearby.
It is named after Gherman Titov, a Soviet cosmonaut whom Ho Chi Minh had met, and taken to an excursion to Ha Long. Ti Top is the Vietnamese version of Titov.
|Climbing. The first thing on that board was the warning for people with heart trouble, so I stayed on the beach.|
On top of Ti Top
Pictures from above.
|I was crazy enough to swim: I walked in and threw myself on my back in the sea. I held out about one minute: the water was very cold, but not as bad as in San Francisco. Liliana went to knee depth, and gave up.|
On the beach
Many Australians, but no radioactivity.
|Lots of tourist boats in the bay near Ti Top Island.|
There are many caves on the islands, as the rocks are calcareous. This was one cave one could visit, but I didn't go because it involved climbing hundreds of steps. Beloved wife, however, always brave, went there and brought the photos back.
|Cave entrance, seen from the sea.|