Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Other attractions in Ha Long Bay - Tuan Chau

Tuan Chau island or Sentinel Chau Island is 3 km west of Dau Go cave. The island is approximately 3 km2. This island is inhabited by people. The nurturing hands of humans have turned this island into a fertile farm producing vegetables and fruits for the outlying mining and fishing villages of Ha Long Bay.

Other attractions in Ha Long Bay

Dong Hang Hanh tunnels through mount Quang Hanh 9 km from the township of Cam Pha. The tunnel and cave is approximately 2 km in length.

To visit this cave the visitors must take a small row boat to access the entrance. On the way the rower must maneuver through a variety of rock formation often so narrow that only one boat can fit through at a time.

Cave of Awe (Hang Sung Sot)

Sung Sot cave is on the same island with Trinh Nu cave. The path to Sung Sot is quite steep and is lined with shady trees. The cave has 2 chambers. The outer chamber is square and is often referred to as the waiting room. The cave's ceiling is approximately 30 m high. The walls are almost perfectly smooth as if it was built by man. The walls generate a variety of colors that blend with the setting of the area.

Hang Trinh Nu (Virgin Cave)

Hang Trinh Nu or the Virgin is also known as Mid Gate cave. According to local lore, an old couple lived here long ago. The husband made a living fishing around the bay. They were very poor. They had only one daughter. She grew up to be a beautiful young woman, so beautiful that people from all around knew of her. There were many suitors and her reputation reached the local mandarin. The mandarin immediately sent his soldier to her home to capture her. She was forced to marry the old mandarin.

Pelican Cave (Hang Bo Nau)

Unlike Dau Go cave, Bo Nau cave is not as deep and large. Looking out from the cave the visitor can enjoy the scenic beauty of Ha Long. The clear blue water with rocky formations rising forms a picturesque setting. Bo Nau is a compound word derived from two words, bo cau meaning pigeon and nau meaning brown. Bo Nau literally means brown pigeon. For some reason, many foreign translations refer to this cave as Pelican cave.

Hang Dau Go (Wooden Stakes Cave)

Hang Dau Go is one of the most beautiful cave at Ha Long. The name, Dau Go or Giau Go, has direct ties to the history of Vietnam. According to the locals, while preparing for the Mongolian attacks in 1288, general Tran Hung Dao, sent a convoy to this area to cut wood from this region. Wooden stakes were then fashioned from the wood and hidden in Dau Go cave. The stakes were embedded in Bach Dang river to form a barrier against the attacking Mongols. According to legend, general Tran Hung Dao dealt a great blow to the Kublai Khan when he tricked the Mongolian army into chasing him deep up Bach Dang's channel.

Scorched Beach (Bai Chay)

Upon arriving in Ha Long city, the visitor will be driving along 'Bai Chay' or scorched beach. The sand on this stretch of beach is dark. And judging by the name the visitors may mistakenly think that this is due to the dry climate or lack of wind in this area. However, contrary to this interpretation, the area is quite pleasant during the summer and fall months and the temperature here is around 70 deg F. According to the locals, Bai Chay got its name long ago, based on another historical event

Ha Long - Bay of the Descending Dragon

The end of the Vietnam war, and the advent of "Doi moi", Vietnam's policy of opening its economy to foreign trade, means that Westerners and South Vietnamese now have a chance to visit Ha long. Vinh Ha Long or Bay of the Descending Dragon is often touted by proud Vietnamese as the world's Eighth wonder. One of the main attractions of Ha long is the bay's calm water and the thousands of limestone mountains dotting the seascape. The Bay's water is clear during the spring and early summer. Some of the islands are quite large and there are small alcoves with sandy beaches where swimming is possible. Ha Long bay lies in the northeastern part of Vietnam and is 165 Km from Hanoi.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Halong Bay Fiasco 2

Day two of the Halong bay tour started surprisingly similarly to day one. Claire was in the shower when the phone rang. The voice said ”Finish! Leave hotel now!” I looked at my watch: 7.10 and we had been told to meet at 7.30. Ignoring what had been said I took my time, had my shower and we were at reception at the agreed time, but not before a hammering at the door at 07.15. “FINISH - OUT NOW!” No need to remind us quite so incessantly. Vietnam is a bit funny about passports when you stay in a hotel.

Ha Long bay

SereneOn the second day of our three days two night trip. We woke up to a nice breakfast inside since it was pouring rain outside. After breakfast we visited a floating fishing village at Cao Dam. This village of 170 or so people fish for a living and each house cost around USD10,000. IndoChina Junk sponsor and teach them about tourism which is a nice touch. The village was established about 17 years ago and there are traders that come and bring in the necessary daily items.

Days in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

ha-long-bay1.jpgTo take a break from the constant drone of bustling and smoggy Hanoi, I got away on a three-day, two-night tour of the mysterious, beautiful, and much quieter, Ha Long Bay.
This wonderful landscape of limestone cliffs enshrouded in mist cascading into the gentle waters  became a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1994.  (By the way, since I never knew, UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.)

Halong Bay, Vietnam

   Halong Bay is a must for anyone visiting Vietnam. The unique sea/landscape is a pleasant retreat from the busy streets of Hanoi. We decided not to rush and stayed two nights on a "junk." The boats are not authentic junks but have been fitted with sails to give tourists the illusion

Embarking from Halong City.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ha Long city - fish market

 Halong city - where I live
5AM - When the sun has not protrude from the mountains

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

History of the name “ Halong”

    “Ha Long” is literally translated as "Bay of Descending Dragons." Prior to the 19th century, this name was not recorded in any document or archive. When mentioning the present-day Quang Ninh Sea or Ha Long Bay, old historical books often referred to them by the names of An Bang, Luc Thuy or Van Don. Not until the late 19th century did the name of Halong Bay appear on a French Marine Map. “The Hai Phong News”, a French newspaper of the time, had an article, “Dragon appears on Ha Long Bay”,