A View from my Window on Halong Bay
Literally. Every time I looked it was a new variation of limestone karst formation, with caves, vegetation and geometric textures in the stone. For three days, we cruised aboard the Dragon Legend, called a 'junk', but in reality was a small cruise ship. We explored both Halong and Bai Tu Long Bays, (about a four hour drive south of Hanoi), UNESCO protected areas containing over 3,000 of these islands. Navigating past one towering karst opened up the world of infinite more stretching out to the horizon, and swallowed up the place we had come from. Vietnamese legend says a dragon dropped 3000 pearls from his mouth to create this fairy tale wonder of the world as protection against foreign invaders. Only locals could know the way through these waters...We were not confined to the ship, however. We enjoyed photographing from the decks, but also had opportunities to go ashore on to small islands for swimming, a cave visit and barbecue on the beach. There was exploration on smaller boats to floating fishing villages. The Bay is closed to group kayaking, but our cruise company was granted an exception; to paddle closely and to look up the sheer vertical facing, hear the birds and gentle water movement is surely an experience not to be forgotten.