Traveling to Ha Long Bay has been on my list since last year. It was one of my must go places. So earlier this month we finally went there. Ha Long Bay is in Northeast Vietnam and listed in UNESCO world heritage site. It is also said to be a new addition to the 7 natural wonders of the world.
Since we had only 4 days and 3 nights to spare, we went straight to Hanoi as a stop to visit Ha Long Bay. Our plan was to stay for a night at Hanoi then go to Ha Long Bay, stay there a night and then come back to Hanoi stay there for a night and back to Bangkok. As we approached the date, there was an unfortunate news of a possible storm at Ha Long Bay that would last for a few days and the storm was scheduled to arrive on the day we landed at Hanoi :(.
I was very disheartened of this news but nevertheless we kept our hopes high and boarded the flight. The day we landed on Hanoi was a pleasant day. It was sunny and warm. As soon as we reached our hotel we inquired about the possibility of going to Ha Long Bay the next day but they said all the cruises to Ha Long Bay had been cancelled and it was impossible to go there the following day even for a day trip. Knowing this we went out to explore Hanoi. There we decided to check with a travel agent anyway. On inquiring, she suggested us to book a day trip for day after tomorrow and hope that it doesn’t rain that day and that is exactly what we did :). And when day after tomorrow arrived, much to our delight there was no rain and it was a warm and sunny day.
We had booked a day trip to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi. A bus came to pick us up at the hotel at 8 am. It was a 4 hours ride from Hanoi. Once we reached the port, the guide gave us tickets to one of the cute Chinese wooden boats.
Chinese style wooden boats.
At first, the bay looked like any other bay but as we went farther, we could see the limestone hills on the sea. Even when looking from a distance, it looked mysterious and ethereal. As we went deeper inside, there were numerous hills on the sea. It was beautiful, in fact it was the most spectacular view. Everyone in the boat was in the top decker by now to take pictures and enjoy the view.
Amazing Ha Long Bay with all its glory! And it was still a little cloudy.
After that lunch was served on the boat and it was very disappointing :P. After lunch, the boat took us to an entrance to the lagoon. We had to go through a water cave to enter the lagoon. We were lucky that day as it was a low tide and the entrance was open. It was a paradise in the middle of the sea, a calm water surrounded by those beautiful limestone hills.
Spectacular Ha Long Bay, you can see the tiny entrance to the Lagoon.
A cave entrance to the lagoon.
After that we saw an ancient civilization of people who lived on water and it was called a floating village. They even had a school on the sea!
The floating village, an ode to the ancient civilization.
Once we came back from the lagoon and the floating village, the guide informed us that our trip was almost over and we would stop over to a cave before we return. A and I were very happy to have made it there despite the weather forecast.
Then as we returned, the guide told us that we go to see this cave and then we take another route out. I had no idea what this cave was all about. Also I had done very less research before the trip and honestly all I was excited about was Ha Long Bay!
But as we entered the cave, I was dumbstruck with the beauty of the cave. It was one of the stalagmite and stalactites caves and it was a huge cave with all sorts of natural carvings inside the wall of the cave.
The most amazing stalagmite cave, it left me breathless!
I had never ever seen such a spectacular thing in my life; it was a gift of mother nature. As it turns out the huge limestone hills on Ha Long Bay were hollow from inside and long time ago there was water inside the hills but now the water was gone leaving behind beautiful impressions of the waves.
Inside the cave
I felt almost spiritual inside the cave and I even imagined it to be one of the caves of ancient hindu times where Yogis and Munis meditated to attain moksha :). It was so peaceful and cool there, we didn’t feel like coming out.
A mini waterfall, simply amazing!
We spent almost over an hour roaming around the cave and admiring its beauty. The guide explained that until a decade ago, this cave was not recognized world wide but now it was listed in the world heritage site and it deserved every bit of recognition. The inside of the caves were lighted with carefully placed artificial lights that revealed the beautiful stone carvings which were formed naturally over the years.
Peek a boo!
This trip was worth every Vietnamese Dong we spent getting there and I am so glad to have been to Ha Long Bay especially the Dau Go Cave(I found the name later). Leaving you with some pictures. This is a must go place and highly recommended by me for everyone. I leave you with a short video I took from my phone.