2011, DEC 10: VIETNAM, HALONG BAY
We got up early to leave our hotel at 7:30 a.m. for a four hour-drive to Halong Bay. It was a cool morning. We needed sweaters and light jackets.
On the way, we made a restroom stop at a factory store, stocked with paintings, sculptures, lacquer objects, clothes, jewelry, snacks, and similar other things to tempt tourists to purchase.
I noticed a Ganesha-like sculpture. No one I asked could explain its significance for the Vietnamese.
Small towns we drove through looked much like small towns in India except that they were
cleaner. There were no open gutters. Dogs were not running and cows were not wandering around.
Situated a 4-hour drive away from Hanoi, Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Recently it was voted to be one of the new Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Three-thousand limestone rocks of a various sizes and shapes jut out of the emerald-green waters of the Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin.
We boarded a boat to cruise along some of the islands in the Bay.
No one is allowed to live on the islands. But there are floating fishing villages, some with their own banks.
The cruise along the bay was a worthwhile experience except for the 4-hour long, boring drive each way. Perhaps an overnight stay at Halong Bay would have made it a more pleasant event.