After the traffic, pollution, and chaos of Hanoi, we ventured to the interior of Quảng Ninh province to explore the vibrant rice paddies and flower plantations. We arrived at a small port full were greeted by a large boat with orange sails which for two days transported us to a magical realm.
The name Ha Long means "descending dragon." According to legend, the Jade Emperor ordered a dragon to help stop the Chinese sea invasion. The dragon swooped down from the sky, spitting chunks of jade and destroying the enemy ships. These chunks of jade went on to form the many islands which we see today. The legend also says that the dragon is still alive and sleeping at the bottom of the bay.
During the morning, the bay tends to be covered in fog which lends a fascinating air of mystery to the islands and karst formations. You occasionally cross paths will conch vendors in their little boats which adds a touch of color and life to the surroundings. At night, the boat lowers its sails and drops anchors, letting you spend the night floating in the calm waters beneath an incredibly starry sky.
To get to Cat Ba it is necessary to come to Halong. Cat Ba is an island in Halong Bay. It is a nice and cozy spot but also, like in much of northern Vietnam, you feel a strange sensation, marked perhaps by the sour character of many locals and a feeling that you are trying to cheat. However, the island offers several attractive spots. There are 3 beaches in town, beautiful vegetation. You should rent a motorbike to explore the island here, be sure not to miss the fishing village, beaches and caves, also from here you can organize the trip to explore the Halong Bay.
Halong Bay is perhaps the most touristic place in Vietnam. In the middle of these beautiful karst formations, you can visit the fishing villages which form towns, called Vung Vieng. They are made up of small houses made of wood, on platforms of drums and wood so they float. With the wood and networks they make fish farms- fishing here is their way of life.