I’d read and heard from a number of friends that a cruise in Halong Bay was a must-do during our stay in Vietnam. Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the few such sites that we’re visiting on our trip that’s a natural site rather than historical or cultural. The bay has thousands of little islands, most of which are limestone and that rise sharply out of the water. When the sun is shining and the sky is clear, the brilliantly blue water should beautifully contrast against all of the little jungley-clad islands.
So we were pretty excited for our day trip out to the bay, even with it involving eight hours of driving time for only four hours on the water. When we woke up to gray skies in Hanoi, we hoped that things would clear up by the time we actually made it out to the bay. Unfortunately, the rain ended up lasting all day. The bay was still beautiful, but in an eerie, gray, mist-shrouded sort of way. On the plus side, we had the boat all to ourselves, including a huge feast of a lunch, and the cruise was fun and romantic even if it didn’t turn out quite as we expected.