Halong Bay and Surrounds
I spent the weekend on a boat in Halong Bay and the surrounds. What a welcome relief from Hanoi. Once on the water I instantly relaxed. The entire trip was orchestrated by a tour operator so no need to fend for myself: no dodging traffic, no miscounting my money, or living in a freezing unheated Hanoi hotel room for 3 days. The capacity on the boat is 14 but being off season, there were only 5 of us. Really quite a treat as well.
The weather in Halong was a bit soupy but that aside very interesting visually. Similar to the Li River in China, both have numerous limestone outcrops as mountains on both sides of the river. I found Halong to be far more interesting based on the irregular shapes and placement of these mountains as well as the activity of the locals including those coming up to the tour boats and trying to trying to sell snacks.
The real treat was Beo Fishing Village. One of many I am told. Here, the people catch fish in the bay and ocean perhaps, place the fish in large net pens in the bay where they continue to grow until they are ready for sale. The fishermen & woman, live on these floating structures with no less that 2-4 dogs apiece and their entire family. My understanding that formal education is limited for the children of these villages. This was my time seeing this so I was quite intrigued by this village indeed. In fact a few of us arranged an additional boat tour of Beo Village for several house the next morning starting at sunrise. Wow is all I can say. It going to be VERY hard to select my favorite images from this experience but here are a few to wet your appetite.
Off to Sa Pa, North of Hanoi via the night sleeper train.
More to come soon,