Halong Bay

The last place we visited in Vietnam was Halong Bay, which is about four hours from Hanoi. Halong Bay is famous for the many limestone islands (over 1600) which fill the bay.

The limestone islands of Ha Long Bay

Once again, in order to see the islands, we took a cruise, this time on the "Treasure Junk".

The Treasure Junk, looking as though it could use a coat of paint

The upper deck of the Treasure Junk. It was little cool for sunbathing but a nice place to watch the world glide by.

We cruised through the islands until we stopped for our overnight anchorage. Next morning, after breakfast, we paddled our own canoes through the islands.

There are entire floating villages attached to some of the islands, although there numbers are diminishing. They make a living from fishing and tourism.

Floating grocery and fruit stall.

After the canoe experience, we transferred to a traditional rowing boat to see some more of the islands. For some reason,  all the rowers were women. Perhaps the men were fishing.

The rowing boats were a bit more stable than the canoes, so we were able to get into some more open water.

A natural bridge, showing how the islands have been formed by erosion.

From a distance, the islands can appear very mysterious.

After touring the islands in a rowing boat, we returned to the ship and from there drove back to Hanoi, for two  nights before leaving Hanoi for Kuala Lumpur and then flying on to Sri Lanka.