Halong Bay

Vietnam Travel Route: Hanoi – Bai Tu Long Bay – Halong Bay

“Our resistance will be long and painful, but whatever the sacrifices, however long the struggle, we shall fight to the end, until Vietnam is fully independent and reunified.” – Ho Chi Minh

“The key to knowing joy is being easily pleased” – Mark Nepo

Hanoi

Hanoi is a 1000-year-old city with Chinese and French influences from past invasions, but it is transforming itself into a modern city with all that it entails.  Most Hanoians ride motorbikes or buses rather than cars and the flow of traffic in the city is a remarkable and frightening sight.  Pedestrians walk out into the traffic like forging a stream with a continuous flowing motion of vehicles around them.  Maybe it says something about the way Vietnamese seems to approach life in general.

Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay

Halong Bay in Vietnamese means “where the dragon descends into the sea.”

The limestone karsts of Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay are sites of outstanding natural beauty.  There are about 2000 limestone islands and karsts of different sizes and shapes in the two bays covered with vegetation.  Many of these islands have caves and beautiful beaches.  It is on many lists of “places one must-see,” on par with Macho Picchu and Angkor Wat.  I boarded one of the many cruise boats for a few days and enjoyed the stunning view of this place.

A graveyard on Quan Lan Island

A graveyard on Quan Lan Island is located in Bai Tu Long Bay.  I learned something about ancestor worship tradition, the Vietnamese bury the dead twice, the first time immediately after death and the second time within 3-5 years, depending on body size.