I wasn’t able to enjoy the surreal views of Ha Long Bay my first time there, nestled in my mom’s cosy uterus. So I went back, ready to be blown away by the hundreds of rocks emerging from the turquoise sea. I wasn’t disappointed.
There’s something magical about this little corner of the world… So magical the Vietnamese have a mythological explanation for it: under yet another Chinese invasion, the Vietnamese were helped by the dragon whose tail struck the water. Hundreds of rocks emerged for the Chinese ships to collide with before sinking to the depths of the sea.
A little throwback to 1993. Vietnam had just recently opened its door to foreigners. My parents and grandparents stayed on a small boat and drifted through the bay, sleeping under the stars huddled in blankets. Ha Long Bay was peaceful, and quiet, and fully theirs to explore.
I will only ever be able to experience this through my grandfather’s home movies, because Vietnam has drastically changed in the past 20 years and such adventures are simply left for me to imagine them. The two day cruise through Ha Long Bay remains nonetheless a wonderful opportunity to be wonderstruck before nature.
Our trip was unfortunately cut short by the threatening typhoon that disrupted the following part of our journey down South but we made the most of our time on the cruise, sipping on mango juice at sun set.