30 July 2014

Vietnam-part 2

Welcome to Halong Bay.







A Unesco World Heritage Site- commonly known by many of us Brits as "that place they went to on Top Gear!"
It's a surreal place, and to be honest, when I first saw it I was a bit disappointed. I'd imagined it to be much taller and so tightly packed together that you really had to weave in and out. However, then I realised that I was seeing it from the deck of a rather large ship! Once at sea level in a kayak, the scale and beauty of it was much clearer. It really is quite spectacular.







In the kayaks we rowed in and around the bay and over to one of the fishing villages formed of floating houses. It's amazing how these people live their lives, making do with the natural
resources around them, using boats as floating grocery stores, catching squid under lights at night time and building floating houses - which raised many questions, how do they get their post?!








Not sure I'd want to live in this one!!

We also stumbled across the famous floating bar from that Top Gear programme that sadly  was closed as well as the brightly coloured boats they use for squid fishing- they hang lights from the boat and use them at night to attract the squid.


Halong bay is formed of around 2000 islands - legend has it that the islands were created by a great dragon from the mountains! It's now a thriving tourist site where flocks of boats weave in-between the islands dropping groups off here and there to explore the caves and hidden bays. We were surprised by just how green the islands were and to find out that there were goats living on them- I imagine clinging on to the steep rock face!!

We stayed on one of those typical cruiser ships that takes you in to the middle and then puts down anchor over night whilst you have a meal and experience a night sleeping in the cabins before setting off again the next day to visit the beach and viewpoint. 






Sorry for the misty photos- it was so humid that my camera really couldn't cope!!



From Halong bay we flew to Hue. 
Hue is what I would describe as a kind of in-between place. Everyone seems to stop there on their tour for a night or so before moving onto Hoi An.
It's famous for its old imperial city modelled on the Forbidden City in China and its beautiful temple.  





We were also shown around a traditional Vietnamese house with its beautiful old wooden shutters. 









As well as the famous old imperial city and temples, Hue is also known for its slightly spicier food. 
I sampled the spicy grilled beef with pineapple which was definitely a bit of a hair raiser! 




Since our travels in Sri Lanka last year, we were also all craving some banana fritters. The bananas out here are small and sweet with a much stronger banana flavour than we are used to. Mix this with a crispy deep fried batter and passion fruit sauce and I'm in heaven! 


From here we took the famous mountain view drive from Hue to Hoi An, the foodie capital of Vietnam- more to follow in the next post!

4 comments:

  1. Oooh those bananas look so good! I've never had banana fritters, but can't help imagining them dipped in chocolate... naughty!

    Halong Bay looks beautiful. It was a shame the weather was so foggy and horrible for you instead of clear blue skies! Plus, annoying that the bar was closed - that would have been awesome!

    Katie <3

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    1. Ahhh they were soo good! Especially after I'd been craving them for so long!!
      It really is beautiful! xx

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  2. Wow Vietnam is now on the list what beautiful pictures the scenery is wonderful. The food looks perfect too Lucy x

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    1. It had been on my list for a long time - definitely go as you won't be dissapointed!! xx

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It's really appreciated and lovely to hear some feedback. Katie x