With its world-famous limestone hills giving it its unique atmosphere, Halong Bay is for sure the highlight of a trip to Vietnam. We have all seen the postcard-like pictures of Halong Bay posted all over the internet or in travel brochures… Blue skies, hills full of greenery, looks like a wonderful summer day in a wonderful place.
I couldn’t wait! Once on the boat, the sky was clouded but the weather was still clear. Awesome weekend ahead! All these hills clustered along the horizon were incredibly attractive. It was very exciting to think that the boat I was on was soon to be surrounded by this scenery.
As we got immersed in the landscape, night was falling and it was time to throw out the anchor among other boats.
On the next day, the first attraction was Titop Island, the triangle-shaped island on the left on the picture above. The special feature of this island is a natural yellowish sandy beach, and a path leading to the top of the hill. The weather had already deteriorated and got quite foggy.
The fog emphasized the beautiful layers effect caused by the varying distance of the different islands.
As we were sailing further and further into the heart of the bay, the clouds got more and more threatening and what had to happen happened: it rained. The bay was completely engulfed in a thick mist and I felt the frustration coming – I won’t get my postcard view. How cursed I was, who knows if it was the only time in my life that I will see Halong Bay, and it had to rain! The vexation didn’t last long. I was totally fascinated by the ghostly shapes of the islands emerging from the mist.
To tell the truth, I have always been a big fan of such foggy weather. Obviously, I am not saying that I like views that are completely blocked by the fog. But when the mist is very present but still enables to make out the outlines of the landscape, the atmosphere of mystery it creates is indescribable.
In the end, with such weather, I have the feeling to have seen an authentic Halong Bay, far from the postcard image we all have of it, something different. And a unique experience is always good to take don’t you think?
That said, I wouldn’t be unhappy to go back to Halong Bay in a more appropriate season to see it under a bright sun! I wonder if the sight would be just different but just as nice, or if it would be twice as more mind-blowing. I won’t fail to write about my impressions on that blog when I get the opportunity to sail in a sunny Halong Bay!
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