Vietnam Gallery ~ Halong Bay
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Halong Bay - Panoramic
November 28 2001

A UNESCO world heritage site, Halong bay off the coast of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin, is the north's premier tourist destination. The name Ha Long translates as 'where the dragon descends into the sea' referring to the story of the bay's creation. A giant dragon living in the northwestern mountains plunged into the water here, his flailing tail carved out the formations you can see above. In recent years tourists and locals alike have had numerous sightings of some great sea creature in the area. Hunting the Tarasque, as the beast has come to be known, provides even more incentive to visit the beautiful bay.


Haiphong Harbor
November 29 2001

This quiet portion of bustling Haiphong port on the mainland is the main embarkation point for tours around the scenic bay.




Natural arch
November 28 2001

As the outcroppings and islands support no agriculture, the sea is the main source of sustenance for the Vietnamese who live in this beautiful area. Not only do hundreds of boats ply between the rocks gathering nets and traps, in some of the quieter bays houses are built onto anchored platforms and entire lives are lived on the water. Shortens the morning commute immensely.

Cat Ba town harbor ~ Cat BA island
November 29 2001

Cat BA island is the largest in the bay and boasts a town of 12 000 souls, all of whom seem to make their living from netting fish or hooking tourists. As long as one ventures out during daylight hours only, Cat BA makes a pleasant place to stay while in Halong Bay.


Cat Ca beach ~ Cat BA island -Panoramic
November 29 2001

The beautiful half deserted beach called Cat Ca welcomed us after the morning's sweaty hike through the national park. Pictured here: After negotiating the price of the chair rental, Julie spread her towel and promptly went to sleep on the sand in front of them.



Fishing boat
November 28 2001

There are many fanciful shapes and large caves in the tiny islands of Halong bay, all of which have found some function whether as a Viet Cong supply dump, a holy shrine or an underground hospital.



Fruit sellers ~ Cat BA town
November 29 2001

Selling fruit near the fishing fleet in Cat Ba's harbor





Julie aboard
November 29 2001

We took a guided tour out of Hanoi that included all bus and boat transport, meals and lodging for 3 days and two nights - tours such as these are incredibly popular throughout Vietnam for their ease and value and so are well attended. This particular tour cost us only $28 per person, so you might understand why a quiet moment away from fellow travelers is of high value.


Fresh Shrimp
November 28 2001

Shrimp can be no fresher than live from the local woman who came alongside long enough to conduct business with the Vietnamese aboard our vessel. At about 75 cents a pound a bargain too good to refuse for those who knew what to do with them.



Nigel aboard
November 29 2001

Sunset. Halong bay.

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