Ha Long Bay
Vietnam – a dream came true. The hilly landscape, the diverse nature and not to mention all the great Vietnamese food. I’d never thought that I would go on a third Asia trip this year, since I’ve already been to Japan and Thailand. I was very happy about the invitation of the Vietnamese tourism board. We would discover the country on King Kong’s path for one week and visit the filming spots of “Kong: Skull Island”.
- Short info aside: The newest King Kong movie: “Kong: Skull Island” appeared in March. In fact, it’s the first Hollywood production in Southeast-Asia after the Vietnam war in the 1970s. Have you already seen the movie?
Unfortunately, I got there one day later than the rest of the group and missed the day tour in Hanoi. After a quick noodle soup for breakfast, I was already sitting in the bus heading to the famous Ha Long Bay. I must say that the nature comes very close to the hilly landscape of Guilin, China, where I’ve been four years ago.
Discover the famous HA LONG BAY
HOW TO GET THERE
There are different possibilities to go there from Hanoi:
BY BUS: the Hoang Long Express leaves every 15 minutes from Kim Ma Bus Station
duration: 3-4 hours
price: 60k VND (2,21€)
BY TRAIN: from Yen Vien Station, Hà Nội – Hải Phòng station.
duration: 2:20 hours
price: around 12€ www.dsvn.vn/en/
BY TOUR: from Hanoi
duration: 2 days including transportation, stay and program
price: around 3m VND (110€)
Most of the travelers book an organized tour, which is more comfortable
- TIP! An acquaintance recommended Ethnic Travel Vietnam, which organize authentic tours away from mass tourism. A daily tour costs around 80€ and an authentic multi-day tour starts from 96€ with a minimum of two people.
Ha Long Bay – Off we GO!
We reached Ha Long City in the late morning and drove to our little cruise ship Oriental Sails (which I highly recommend). My double cabin was very comfortable. We met up for lunch (yay – finally some good Vietnamese food!) while we were chugging into the rolling Ha Long Bay.
Visit of the HANG SUNG SOT CAVE at Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay offers a great variety of caves. We visited the most famous cave, Hang Sung Sot (also called Cave of Surprises). Yes, a nature wonder like this is indeed impressive but my enthusiasm was remained very limited (maybe because of the jetlag!). The cave was not only run over by many tourists, the different parts of the cave were highlighted with colorful lights, which I definitely didn’t like. The cave also contains a huge stone phallus, which is a symbol of fertility for locals. The visit of the caves takes approximately 1-1.5 hours.
Off to see KING KONG!
After the touristy part, it finally went on to the exciting part. We were about to discover the untouched parts of the Ha Long Bay. Usually, they don’t drive tourists into these parts. Our little speedboat drove through the beautiful landscape and the sun finally came out.
A little bit mystical, the sun was about to set behind the hills enlightening them. We set food on the mainland were only two houses were built on. One Vietnamese lady and her five dogs were waiting for us. While she was feeding fish with rice, we discover the lake lying behind. No surprise they filmed King Kong here. The place was so beautiful.
handmade SPRING ROLLS!
Back on the boat, we let the evening fade away. Unfortunately, it was a little bit freezing and cloudy. That area must be so beautiful in summer (also the water color is completely different). The many boats were slowly pitching. From some boats we heard party music, which luckily stopped right for bed time. I guess the more expensive the boat, the better the wharf.
Our evening ended with a Vietnamese cooking class. We learned how to make fried spring rolls. Personally, I also love them as summer rolls. They were really good!
I was feeling my jetlag fell into my bed. In the end, it was a quite long day. I was excited how the next days would be. The next day we drove a little bit Southwards to the region of Ninh Bình. More in the next post!
- From Hanoi to the famous Ha Long Bay
- Ninh Bình – the North & Southeast-Asia’s most famous Pagoda
- Central Vietnam – most scenic morning & a sea of butterflies
- Ho Chi Minh City: The pink church & how much textile fits in a trolley
- Hoi An: the mecca for tailoring & the best Banh Mi Phuong
- Back in Hanoi & the nightlife at Bia Hoi Street