A trip to Halong Bay is, it seems, obligatory if one stays in Hanoi for more than 12 hours. The bay with its stunning rock formations and caves is indeed magnificent and worth a look. I, however, made the mistake of taking a one day tour from Hanoi to Halong Bay. I spent more time in a bus going back and forth than I did at the bay, and once there, visiting the most accessible area, which was literally swamped with tour boats and people. Tours to Halong Bay have become something of a cottage industry in Hanoi. If I had this to do again – and hopefully I will – I will go for two or three days at Halong Bay. Enough time to see more of this gorgeous place and hopefully find parts of the huge bay a bit less traveled.
The view in the photo actually looks away from the rock formations that make the bay famous. In the distance is Halong City, which has become a tourist destination in its own right and is now home to many hotels.
I returned to Thailand and Chiang Mai three days ago. Normally, the pictures are post are current – where I am and what I am doing at the moment. Not the case now. I have lots of pictures from my travels through Vietnam and I am going to continue posting more of those for the time being.
I saw quite a few of these pipes in Vietnam. Apparently using them to smoke is a longstanding tradition. Lest there is any misunderstanding, that is tobacco the man is smoking.
The woman squatting is selling small snacks. The man is one of the thousands—or more likely, hundreds of thousands—of men sitting on motorbikes waiting to give people rides for a fee all over Saigon. A subset of this group hustle rides for foreigners and the constant solicitations can finally become fairly annoying, especially when a simple no is not enough for many of the drivers. Walking 50 meters involves fighting off multiple requests for rides, shopping, tours, massages, “massages” and lord knows what else. One does not want to be rude, but… Finally, the woman behind the other two has a takeout meal, either for herself or food she is delivering.