Vịnh Hạ Long

halong babes
Finally, Hạ Long Bay or Vịnh Hạ Long, the star of the trip!  The sole reason I went to Vietnam!  Part of my bucket list (that, if I have any), a dream come true, a wish granted.  (All dreams do come true!  Hehe…..)  The UNESCO World Heritage Site that enthralled me to go to Vietnam ‘coz you’ve never been to Vietnam if you haven’t been to Hạ Long Bay!

karsts halong

Vịnh Hạ Long means “descending dragon bay”.  According to legend, the gods sent a family of dragons to protect Vietnam from its invaders a long, long time ago.  The dragons spit jewels and jade thus forming more or less 2,000 limestone karsts and islets spreading into the sea.  These rocky mountains hindered the ships of the invaders to enter the country so the dragons won the fight.  When the battle was over, the dragons decided to settle in the sea and the mother dragon descended in the place called Hạ Long.  (Source:  Wikipedia)

The islets in Hạ Long were given names by various people from fishermen to famous ones.  Each has a story to tell, of magic and of beauty.  Comin’ up is Joss Stick Island which is in the 200,000 VND banknote.  The island stands like a joss stick signifying spiritually and people’s belief of gods.

karst formationhow karst form
If there’s a joss stick, of course there’s also the Incense Burner.  It’s a lone island with feet just like a real joss stick pot.

karst halong
Next are the Fighting Cocks.  They really look like two cocks about to brawl which is a game of gambling among Asians, taking a big part of their past-time.

fighting cocks halong
Take a closer look at the next photo.  Can you guess what it is?  It looks like a frog, right?  That’s the Toad Islet!

toad islet
Now, who let the dogs out?  Arf arf arf……  A dog climbing up the mountain.  Below is the Stone Dog!

stone dog halong
That’s only a few of the islets I had managed to know the names of via our tour guide.  I couldn’t name all 2,000 islets just like in the other photos that follow.

halong bay karsts
And these are the “gorgeous jewels in an emerald sea”!  Finally, I had gone into the footsteps of Sandra Brown,The Travelers, and other Lonely Planet correspondents.  But the photos shown here do not give justice on how breathtaking and picturesque Hạ Long Bay is.  I still need to learn how to harness my point-and-shoot photography skill, that if I have.  Hehe…..  I still don’t know how to use my camera which has been my travel partner for almost three years already.  Huhu…..

halong bay islets

Watch out tomorrow for our Hạ Long Bay cruise!  Just stay tuned here on The Other Side of Mae! 🙂 #tosomtravels

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