Halong Bay was beautiful and tranquil… there were countless islands and grottos amoungst the limestone waters. Sorry for the long post, but pictures do speak a thousand words… so enjoy 🙂

Halong Bay, Vietnam - boat villages

During our boat ride, we feasted on a huge gourmet banquet, explored some fluoro-lit caves and visited a fishing village. Below, is a floating school… part of the fishing village.

Halong Bay, Vietnam - school at boat village

Halong Bay, Vietnam - boat

Halong Bay, Vietnam - grotto

This grotto looks low but we managed to slip beneath it…
I was also fascinated with the lifestyle of these boat villages. It was sad to see little kids forced into labour by their parents. This young boy was selling fruits to passing tourists:

Halong Bay, Vietnam - boy on boat selling fruit

Just before lunch, we had the opportunity of picking live seafood from a fishing boat…

Halong Bay, Vietnam - live seafood ready for lunch

And for lunch, there were salads, spring rolls, fried hot chips, tofu with tomatoes, pipis, squid and much more!

Halong Bay, Vietnam - lunch on boat (salad, spring rolls, fried hot chips)

Halong Bay, Vietnam - lunch on boat (fried tofu with tomatoes)

Halong Bay, Vietnam - lunch on boat (pipis)

The next couple of pics are from Thien Cung Grotto… The Jenolan Caves just don’t compete against these crazy neon illuminated caves.

Halong Bay, Vietnam - bridge to Thien Cung Grotto

Halong Bay, Vietnam - neon / fluoro-lit Thien Cung Grotto

Halong Bay, Vietnam - illuminated Thien Cung Grotto

Halong Bay, Vietnam - sea lion show, circus performance

Another thing to note, is that most of the beaches in Halong Bay were man-made. The sand was shipped in from Nha Trang (which I visted later in the trip).
Beach lounges , umbrellas and huts were dottled all along the beach, but unfortunately were not free of charge.

Halong Bay, Vietnam - huts on the beach

Halong Bay, Vietnam - wooden beach chair

This is Mai, our tour guide from Vietnam Open Tour:

Halong Bay, Vietnam - Mai, our tour guide from Vietnam Open Tour with Bryan

Halong Bay, Vietnam - pink flowers

Overall, Halong Bay offered breathtaking views in a tourist-driven atmosphere. Luckily, as a listed world heritage site, I know its beauty will be preserved 😉
Lastly -this is where I stayed:

Halong Bay, Vietnam - Atlantic Hotel

Atlantic Hotel
Tel: +84 (33) 842842
Web: atlantichotel.com.vn

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.