Haha. You are probably a little bewildered, either by the saying ( Step Brothers movie quote) or the word Junk. We took a 3 day 2 night Junk cruise to Halong Bay. A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing vessel. Obviously the one we were on was a bit more modernized! Halong Bay is located 4 hours North East of Hanoi.
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The bay features roughly 2,000 limestone monolithic islands each topped with thick jungle vegatation, rising from the ocean. The limestone has gone through 500 million years of formation. In 2012, the New 7 Wonders Foundation officially named Halong Bay as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.
Ha Long means “descending dragon”. According to local legend, when Vietnam had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist the Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of Dragons as protectors. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. Under magics, numerous rock mountains abruptly appeared on the sea, ahead of invader’s ships; the forward ships struck the rocks and each other. After winning the battle, the dragons were interested in peaceful sightseeing of the Earth, and then decided to live in this bay. The place where the mother dragon descended was named Ha Long.
We decided to splurge on this (seems to be a lot of ‘splurging’…haha oh well) and we booked the 5 star junk, Indochina Sails and we are so happy we did!
There were only four of us staying for two nights. The rest stay for a night and the boat takes them back while we go out on the day boat. We have been really luck with our groups! We got to spend a lot of time with a great Scottish couple (love their accents)! The first day we got to visit Tipup island. Here you climb roughly 400 steps to get a bird eyes view of Halong.
The second part of the day we visited a fishing village located in the bay. Quite interesting seeing families (about 600 people) live on floating docks…
(Elementary, middle and high school)
Back on the boat for sunset, happy hour, dinner, scrabble and some good old squid fishing!
The next day we boarded a day boat with the Scottish couple to explore the bay, and visit Cat Ba National Park. We went kayaking into caves, swimming in the bay, and went to a pearl farm.
And of course…a trip to Vietnam would not be complete without Tai Chi in the morning taught from a Tai Chi master.
Followed up by a huge cave exploration!
Next stop Singapore!