What Does Halong Bay Means?
Halong Bay was described to me by so many fellow travelers that I couldn’t wait to see it in person. There are so many stories about the islands and one girl even shared the legend which explains why Vietnamese people feel connected with dragons. The main characters of the legend are hidden in the name Halong, which means descending dragon.
Ancient legends and stories make nature more mystical than it actually is. Sometimes, as a consequence of centuries-old rumors, some places get special treatment and are protected from the greedy hands of humans.
Halong Bay Tour
I really didn’t know what to expect from this Halong Bay tour. To explain, Ian warned me about this place. He was here many years ago and it was simply too busy, dirty and sad. “At the end of the day you will be sad”, were his words. Strange enough, my morning on the day of the Halong Bay tour started out very hectic.
In fact, there were so many unpredictable events that happened that the whole bus ended up waiting for me. So when I finally made it to the bus, I looked around and saw friends that were even less ready than I was. However, there was something in the air, something different than the anticipation of a great Vietnamese tourist attraction.
After boarding the boat, I couldn’t stop imagining how surreal it would be if our boat was the only one on the bay. How different this area must have been before the tourists invaded it, that was something I kept thinking about. In my mind, I could see beyond the masses of garbage that were floating all around us – this was not an easy task, because the sea is really dirty. All of us agreed that if the ship would stop, no one would even think about swimming there.
But in my imagination, we were drifting in the green emerald water, with the limestone islands still untouched by mankind so it is easy to spot eagles circling around them. Seriously, above one tiny island, there were seven of them!
As a part of the tour, we stopped for kayaking activity. For me, it was more fun to watch the clumsy tourists than getting into one myself, so I sat back at enjoyed the live show. It is not every day I get to see people paddle in a circle and then get hit by the lady who is in a hurry to earn family income. Or to see the couple who is proud of their parallel paddle skills and easily meanders around beginners.
What a victory! There was also a couple who ended up in the water within the first minute of getting on the kayak. Before that happened, the boy tried to gain balance by waving his hands and accidentally hit the girl’s head with a paddle. I don’t know about the rest, but I sure had fun.
People Here Lives Gypsy Style
By missing out on the kayaking, I got to explore the small manmade island where few people still live and breed fish. One fish was huge and around its cage, there were a bunch of Chinese tourists gathered around. They tried to get the fish’s attention by throwing trash in the water. After a few failed attempts, it was time for loud shoe tapping on the surface. I felt really sorry for the fish there, these poor animals don’t have any peace or space.
The Monkey Island
Our trip continued and we reached Monkey Island, which had lovely furry residents. There was one beautiful young monkey that caught the attention of our friend and they bonded immediately. Soon, a teenager came and kept the youngster company while they kept checking our friend. He enjoyed all the attention but was also cautious at the same time.
To prevent any drama, he didn’t have anything on him that they could steal, unlike other tourists that carelessly came under the tree with a huge bag. Of course, the monkey seized the opportunity and jumped right on the bag.
Don’t Mess With the Monkey
At first, it was fun and the girl tried to take a cool selfie with a monkey on her back. But the monkey didn’t choose her for a selfie, and he got straight down to the business. Again, some fun for me! It was interesting to observe two completely different humans interacting with the primate. One had a blissful experience, where monkeys caressed his hair and a baby even cuddled in his lap. And then the other person had a traumatic experience that will surely keep her awake for days. She had a panic attack and ended up in tears. Sadly, the nervous girl got bitten in the neck and the monkey ran into the forest with her cell phone. My guess is that monkey wasn’t pleased with her selfie!
That was enough drama for the day and a perfect excuse to climb up to the viewpoint. When the jungle stopped and the sharp rocks began, I realized that my footwear wasn’t appropriate and I turned back to the beach. Despite not reaching the highest point, it was still a successful mission.
Should You go on Halong Bay Tour?
Everywhere we are we can have a good experience if we choose to. From time to time, having some common sense doesn’t hurt. We are all different and something that comes naturally to one doesn’t have to feel good to me. That is why I think it is important to connect with ourselves. Nature exceeds my expectations every time I get a chance to enjoy it. I’m terribly sad when I see how some people don’t respect the root of our past and what is also the foundation for our future. All of us share the same planet and ruining half of it doesn’t leave the rest untouched.
Yes, you should see this pearl of nature and simply imagine it how it would be without us. Ironic enough, we are the reason it is like this. But we are not in 1970 anymore and the Vietnamese Government should take some action here, rather than spying on the people.
What About Ian?
He was sunbathing on the deck almost throughout the whole day. Well, he didn’t even get off the boat and I can’t blame him. At the end of the day, there surely is some bitter taste and a lot of questions in your head. “Ian, don’t be stubborn, we will make another Halong Bay”