Halong bay is one of vietnamâ€™s most famous sites. Itâ€™s a large bay w/ over 3000 limestone cliffs jutting out of it. We booked a 2 day tour to go check it out. On the 3 hour drive there, it was cool to look out the window and watch the Vietnamese countryside go by. We saw farmers working in the fields and lots of small towns.
After arriving in halong city, we boarded our boat and sailed into the bay. Our first worry was that we wouldnâ€™t be able to see anything. The bay was extremely misty and visibility was really bad. Eventually, as we cruised along, the limestone cliffs started coming into view, but they were difficult to make outâ€¦ you could pretty much only see the silhouettes. But as we got closer, things started looking betterâ€¦ though things were definitely still murky. In a way though, it was actually pretty cool to see the cliffs slowly appear out of the fog. As we moved forward, you could see layers upon layers of these cliffs, each of them a varying shade of gray depending on how close or far way they were.
Eventually, we got to Titop island where we got to hike up a (small) mountain. From the top, the views of the bay were stunning. For the first time, we were able to see the islands in good lighting.
After chilling on the island for a bit, we got back on the boat. The boat we were staying on was really nice. Each room had its own private bathroom and the dining area was huge though there were only 11 tourists onboard! When we anchored for the night, some of us went swimming. We got to jump from the second story of the boat down into the water below which was really fun, though insanely freezing. After swimming, we spent the rest of the night kicking it w/ the rest of the people from our tour. A couple of times, this woman on a raft would float up to our boat and try to sell us crackers, chips, etc. what a crazy job that must be, floating all day on raft from boat to boat, trying to sell stuff to tourists.
The next day, we checked out this huge cave on one of the islands. This thing was enormous and each time I though we had gotten to the end of it, there would be another huge chamber to explore.
Then, that was pretty much it. We sailed back to halong city, taking in the views as we went.
One other crazy thing about halong bay is that there are people there who live in floating houses. These are small houses on floating platforms in the bay. That must be such a weird way to liveâ€¦ every time you step out your front door, youâ€™re surrounded by water.