Ha Long Bay is probably the first thing you think about when you think of Vietnam. If it’s not – it should be. This UNESCO World Heritage Site (named so in 1994), really took my breath away, and I am convinced that the best way to see and experience Ha Long Bay is with a cruise ship. Our time of arrival was 10:30am, but around 08:30am I started seeing these small islands of hills and mountains in the water, called limestone karsts and isles, on either side of the ship! It’s almost impossible to explain what it looks like, and no photo can do it justice. So over the course of roughly 2 hours, these karsts and isles would be closer and further, bigger and smaller, greener or rockier. Thousands of them!
Ha Long Bay has an area of around 1553km2 with 1960-2000 islets, and most of them are limestone. The core area is an area of 334km2 and has around 775 islets in higher density.
When we arrived in Cai Lan, the tender boats were local ferries that came up to the ship and took everyone ashore. A very unique experience as we always use the ships’ tender boats.
Unfortunately the sun set early and our sail away time were late in the afternoon, so I didn’t get to experience the scenic sailing twice (you can see a few photos I shot at dusk). The whole day was hot and humid, and standing in the cooler evening air on the upper decks during sail away, and seeing the limestone karsts fade into mist and darkness, a feeling of bliss will settle over you. Cruising is indescribably great!
If you are in Ha Long Bay and you didn’t get there via cruise ship, I would recommend renting a boat to take you along the whole bay to capture the true magnificence of Ha Long Bay.
For more photos, try this link: