This next gallery is from an overnight trip out of Ha Noi we took to Ha Long Bay, the primary features of which are the thousands of small islands and rock formations that dot the bay area.  I had heard Ha Long was not to be missed, so we headed there right after returning from Sa Pa.  After 4hrs in a 35C degree minibus from Ha Noi, we arrived to a tiny port thronged with tourists.  Apparently, the Ha Long tourist boat industry has really taken off, as there were nearly as many boats as there were people waiting to get on them!  It seemed like massive overbuilding, and of course it was some time before we were able to get assigned to our group, find the right boat, and somewhat escape the the crowds out into the bay.  

Still, the trip was nice, although perhaps not as impressive as it had been built up to be.  Whereas in Sa Pa one felt we were seeing things pretty much as they were on a day to day basis, people in the fields, markets operating, etc, in Ha Long it was difficult to feel like one was really in nature, but rather one was constantly out in the bay jostling for space with the other boats.  I think another important factor is the boat itself, given that you spend the night on them in most cases, getting a good one, with a good crew, is essential.  The bay is quite pretty as some of the photos suggest, and we did finally find a patch of clean water for a sunset swim, which was fantastic!  Here are a couple of my favourites from the weekend.  

Main Gallery is located here:

Past Galleries from Sa Pa, Saigon, and Hue are here, here, and here: