Our trip to Ha Long Bay included a Water Puppet performance on the way back to Hanoi. Jürgen and I had already seen a show while in Saigon, so we asked if we might be allowed backstage to see the puppeteers at work. To our surprise, they agreed.
We were really just looking for breakfast. After a horrible night of sleep, we stumbled out onto the streets of Ha Long, hoping to find a quick bánh mì and get a couple hours of work in, before our trip back to Hanoi. But then, we came upon the wharves and the fish market of Ha Long. Breakfast could wait.
If you'd like to see Ha Long Bay, but you don't want to spend cash on a tour... or maybe you're afraid of the water... it's possible to get an incredible view, without ever stepping foot on a boat. Climb to the top of Núi Bài Thơ (Poetry Mountain), to see the unique formations of Ha Long from above. The path up the mountain is hidden down a tiny alley on Hàng Nồi Street. But it's not…
After a luxurious night of sleep in our cabin on the Dragon Legend, we woke ready for a day of adventure. On Day Two of our cruise, we'd be visiting two dream beaches, exploring a limestone cave, and kayaking around the hills of Ha Long Bay.
After settling into our room aboard the Dragon Legend, we had lunch and then took a couple short excursions. The first would be a sightseeing trip on a small jetty between the limestone hills, while the second would take us to one of Ha Long's oldest floating fishing villages.
Ha Long Bay was a destination which we had been excited about, but also dreading. For every jaw-dropping photo of the bay's karst hills, there's a horror story to match. Would we experience an otherworldly paradise, or a tourist boat traffic jam? More than usual, our choice of operator seemed to be extremely important.