Vietnam – Halong Bay

7th-9th August 2014

My three day trip to Halong Bay was lovely.  Halong Bay is an area of beautiful limestone mountains (called karst here, similar to those I saw in Guilin) rising out from the sea.  I met a great group of people on this trip.

The area is very pretty, although the sun didn’t want to play so the pictures are a bit drab.  It was similar to Guilin in China, except the karst mountains were jutting out of the sea, and not out of the river.

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Jen, me, Amy and Lisa

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Workers embroidering beautiful pictures

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Tortoises….they get everywhere!

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I had another bout of illness on the evening on the boat, and in my cabin the air con wasn’t working and it was so hot and humid, I felt horrendous.  They came and looked at it 3 times before I gave in and laid there with the fan blowing hot air onto me.  Not the best of nights!

The next day went to a really cool cave.

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I’m saying nothing!

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A cool looking spider

Then we arrived at our island where we would stay on the island for a night. I had my own little bungalow room and it was lovely. 

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A sandy dog!

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A floating shop

I skipped the bike ride as I still felt ill, and slept for 3 hours instead!

I went kayaking on my own which was so lovely, peaceful, and I took the mandatory selfie with some snaps from the boat too.

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The next day included a visit to a pearl farm, now I never realised what went into producing pearls!  Basically, they import shell powder from South Africa, (not sure why), and form this into small pearl like stones.  They then get an oyster, open it up, place this pearl into its ovary, along with a piece of cut out muscle from another oyster (this is so the oyster recognises the DNA and hopefully does not reject the round stone!). The oyster is then reclosed, and placed into a container and back into the sea, where it will stay for the next three years, carefully nurturing and growing its pearl!  This happens by the oyster coating and coating the stone in its ovary, creating the desired end product – the pearl!  Once the three years are up, the oyster is taken from the sea, then cut open (ie.killed), and the pearl retrieved.  Not all of them produce a pearl, but most do, but not all of them are perfect enough to go on sale.  Only about 20% of these sea water pearls make the grade, the other 80% of pearls are just binned, or sometimes made into seconds jewellery.  A pretty invasive process for an oyster I’d say, but fascinating nonetheless.

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We had a mini cooking class on the boat, and learned how to make pork spring rolls.

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Cobby enjoying the island

5 thoughts on “Vietnam – Halong Bay”

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