It was a three hour bus ride from Hanoi to Halong Bay for my 3-day/2-night cruise. We stopped at a craft village were handicapped individuals produce artwork and jewelry to sell to tourists. There’s enamel painting, thread art, sculpture, and jewelry with various stones and pearls.
From there we continued to Halong Bay. After boarding our ship,
the Cristina Diamond, the nineteen of us were served lunch and then head out for our first excursion, a visit to a water village where we had a choice of kayaking or riding around the islands with a lady rower
who took us past floating homesteads were people living there have been grandfathered onto their floating homes when the government changed the rules and no longer permit people to settle on Halong Bay.
The limestone rock formations in Halong Bay are very photogenic. The first day had some sun but otherwise it was very overcast.
Then it was off to the Pearl Farm where oysters are raised to produce pearls. We see examples of oysters raised in different parts of the world and then watch as a oyster is opened to check on the growing pearl inside.
The last step is the gift shop were you have the opportunity to purchase pearl jewelry…rings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, earrings, etc.
Back to the ship for a cocktail party before dinner and a little squid fishing if you’re interested out the first deck door.
All you need is a light, a bamboo pole and a hook. All supplied for you. No one had any luck hooking a squid.
Here’s a night shot of another ship that was anchored near us the first night.
Day two I was transferred to another small daytrip boat to go kayaking and to a very small beach. There were two ladies on the trip with me.
One was from Spain and the other from Belgium. I took my camera in a dry bag and got a few pictures. I also got soaked as we rowed into the wind and had plenty of water coming over the bow.
I was with two different groups because most were on a 2 day/1 night trip. I met Germans, Brits, Swiss, Japanese, Vietnamese, Danes, Netherlanders, Spanish and Estonia. Everyone spoke a little English. We had a great conversation.
Before our last lunch together, one of the crew showed us how he makes the table decorations from a cucumber and carrot.
This last piece looked like a fish net and was made from a carrot. It was used to cover a fish that we were served for dinner the night before. It looked realistic!
It was a relaxing couple of days. Now I head to Ninh Binh for a daytrip before heading off to Da Nang/Hoi An on Saturday.
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