"Halong", practically means under the Dragon. This mystic place was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Natural Wonders in 1994. Since then
tourism has grown rapidly. However in this trip, I saw overcrowded tourism at the port, too many boats fighting for business.
It is a very beautiful place, and it is defeintely worth visiting. I just hoped that the government and the people worked together to build
a better and sustainable infratstructure to support the volume of tourists flooding in from all over the world.
But I have to say here that I had my best time to kayak alone in some no-man waters. I also cannot forget the scenes that I visited the
floating villages, played with local kids on the waters and rowed their boats for fun.
The dock is absolutely not equipped for 500 boat launch. We had to jump down about 6 feet.
Me at Halong Bay ...Tired.
Set sail for Halong Bay ... it's actually motorized.
Boat Launch @ Halong Bay (6.9 MB file).
Hanging out on the rooftop of our junk sail.
Quite a view seeing Halong Bay the first time.
It's like a racing game, as there are routined stops for 500 .
Transferred to a small boat to tour some caves.
We're actually on a small boat inside a enclosed pool.
Our boat just jammed in between docked boats when arriving at Dao Titop Island.
This is a viewpoint on top on Dao Titop. (453 steps up)
Other bigger Junk Sails carrying more tourists.
Hang Sung Sot is where some of the beautiful caves located.
View from top of Dao Titop.
Dinner on our Junk Sails .... delicious!
Every Junk Sail has a Dragon in the bow, symbolizing the "Long" in Halong Bay, meaning Dragon.
See if your boat come late, .. you don't have a spot to dock .... (Taken at Sung Sot)
These caves were formed over 200,000 years ago
This reminded me of Mamoth Cave in Kentucy.
I was actually quite impressed of what they did here, built a path to tour these mystic caves. Very nice.
Launching again .... from Sung Sot Island.
If they could have stood still for just 1 second, this could be "The picture of this Trip".
Local people selling grocery, snacks, drinks to the tourists on the Junk Sails.
I am going for my Kayaking afternoon, by myself !.
Very quiet afternoon, because I asked the captain to get further away from the big tourist crowd.
Just think about how I took this picture, kinda of difficult .....
Hello my friend, long time no see.
Cover me, I'm going in .... =)
Wow, I wish I can stay here longer ....
We are moving to see a fishing village museum, where I can paddle more to see the local fishing villages.
This museum is donated by the Government of Norway.
My lunch, just for me ....so romantic, ey ?
Display inside the museum.
Local people live here, repairing their simple boat made out of straw and bamboo.
He was a bit moody that day ...calm down cowboy!.
Typical floating village, home upstairs & fish cage underneath ..simple lives.
Paddling along (another difficult shot I attempted).
See how relaxed this cowboy is .....
No boundary, just paddle to where you like.
Big screen TV, they have satellite, power generator on these floating homes.
Young teenagers rowing across from one side to the other side of the village.
2 kids were fishing ....
I decided to approach them....
Seeing the horizon was very relaxing ...
This island is still being renewed with newer facilities.
Walking up an unpaved trail to a higher viewpoint, on my thongs.
back on the boat, ...going to another viewpoint.
Beaches here are very rare here, local people are paid to comb the beach.
Local people working ...to keep the beach clean.
The same person who cleaned the beach also runs a boat kiosk selling drinks and snacks.
The big boat was coming in, twice the size of my boat ....
Something needs to be done here, unethical practices such as these are very common, destroying the only dock for this island.
This big boat is named "Dragon Pearl", so next time if you go Halong Bay, you know what to choose.
It can house over 40 people.
6am the next day, our captain still sleeping in his quarter.
I am going for my morning paddle.
So quiet here, usually it is noisy because of the power generator and engine exhaust.
This guys rowed this boat early in the morning to sell things to tourists.
Oooops, they forgot to tie up my kayak .....
Turning around to get it ....
My first attempt to row a round bottom boat like them.
So difficult to line up ..the oars.
Come on Ken, you can do it.
Not really, .. not that easy my friend.
These kids paddle with their feet. Don't believe it, take a lot! (4.6 MB file).
These 2 boys allowed me to row their boat for a while ....fun kids to play with.
This time, we remembered to tie our kayak.
Sailing home ....
Same scene, all these tourist Junk Sails were racing back ....don't really know why > Those are cold and hot water tanks on the rooftop.
Last few glimpses of Halong Bay.
... until we saw these giantic coal transported barge running in the same channel ... ouch!.
Our funny tour guide ...
To get off, from the left boat in the picture, we jumped to the middle boat, then climbed on the right boat, then walked up another ladder to the dock.