The next stop on our Vietnam trip was Hạ Long Bay. We spent three days and two nights touring the beautiful bay on a junk boat, an ancient Chinese sailing ship. While it was wonderful to view the rock formations and the fishing villages within the bay, for the sake of honesty kayaking is not my favorite thing and we did a lot of it.
While I won’t be sprinting to the next Asian cruise ship (or any cruise) I met some incredible people while on the ship. Hạ Long Bay is almost always immersed in cloud cover and the landscape transported me to Asian silk screens and tapestries!
There is much more that needs to be said about Hạ Long Bay, but I am not sure where to begin. Fisherman still live and work in the area but the government has rounded them up and moved them into fishing communities. These same communities are then placed on display for tourism. Pollution continues to be a real problem. Above all as I toured around the area I couldn’t help but think how my presence is perhaps more of a hindrance than a help. With the influx of tourism and tourism cash, societies are transformed for better or worse. Ironically it was the only time in my month long trip where I really began to wonder if a dramatic increase in tourism could really damage a place.