Photography by Dennis Phan





Cinema  精武英雄  李連杰 - 倉田保昭  主演




The first stop of our cruise was Ha Long Bay aka the Bay of Descending Dragon approximately 3 hours drive from Ha Noi. I have heard about this bay but never had a chance to see it until this cruise.


We booked the junk boat tour to see the bay from the cruise line. The junk boat picked us up directly from the cruise ship. It was drizzling that morning but fortunately, no heavy rain. We went to the top of the boat to maximize our view of the bay. The view was breath taking! We saw many stones with different sizes and shapes. Some stones resemble a fish. Others looked like a swan. Not surprisingly, there are many tourist boats in the bay. I saw several boats rushing against each others just to have a closer look at a fish shape stone regardless of the passengers' safety! I was glad the captain of our boat kept a safe distance from the crazy crowd. Our tour guide was a young Vietnamese girl born after the war. She tried hard to explain the bay history to us using her English with heavy Vietnamese accents. I gave her credit for doing her homework and gave it her best shot. One merchant on the boat noticed us as Vietnamese USA citizens. She occasionally approached us for some proper English vocabulary advice for the merchandises she was selling to the tourists. We were glad to help her. During the tour, there wasa small boat going after ours trying to sell tropical fruits. The mother did the selling and her teenage son was the captain. Life is tough out there and people are trying to make ends meet at any given opportunity.


Our tour included a visit to a cave accidentally discovered by local fishermen in early 2000's. Now the government makes it a tourist attraction with steps and lightings inside. The cave is somewhat smaller than the ones we had seen in the USA but in general, those caves share very similar characteristics and sceneries. Again, our tour guide tried hard to explain the chemical components making up the cave. She really did her homework!


After about 3 hours touring the bay, we were back to the cruise ship. Since we still had a little time left, we decided to explore Ha Long City near the port. We didn't have time to go to Ha Long downtown with only little time left before the cruise ship departure for Da Nang. We decided to try the icons of Vietnamese food beef noodle soup and egg roll. May be we were in a tourist area, those foods didn't meet our expectation in term of taste but looking at the bright side,we didn't get stomach ache after eating the food! Walking back to the cruise ship, I was thinking of trying Vietnamese baguette, another icon of Vietnamese street food, but the baguette shop didn't look that appealing so I passed it.


We were back to our cruise ship on time catching our dinner and resting ourselves for the night.

We were ready for our next stop: Da Nang.





Dennis Phan   潘家墉

Khai Minh, UCLA and Investools Alumni

Los Angeles, 10 May 2019













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