Aside from cruising the numerous karst islands of Ha Long Bay, another activity along this UNESCO World Heritage Site is spelunking. There are a number of cave systems on some of the thousands of islands dotting the bay. On our first day of exploration, we were able to visit one of the popular caves at the center island of the bay called Sung Sôt Cave. Found on Bo Hòn Island, the cave has also been known as the Amazing Cave or Cave of Surprises.
Bay of the Descending Dragons is such a dramatic phrase. It’s like going into a mythical world where magic and mythical creatures still exist. Quite unlikely in this day and age, but Ha Long Bay, which literally means the same phrase can be a good setting for a fantasy movie. This karst filled bay found in Quảng Ninh province in Vietnam, 170km east of Hanoi, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Let us go on a photographic journey in this natural wonder.
I’ve been eying Ha Long Bay for some time now. In fact, I was supposed to go here on my first visit to Vietnam but ended up in the central area instead. But that place didn’t disappoint as well since it has 3 World Heritage sites that each yielded a unique experience: from the elaborate citadels and tomb raiding at Hue, warping back in time at the French Colonial streets of Hoi An and exploring the Ancient Kingdom of the Champas at My Son. But the natural wonder of a karst-filled bay has quite an appeal that I went fidgety with delight when my buddy Oggie informed me he was going to northern Vietnam. After much convincing and being accompanied by a
clown good friend, I just couldn’t pass this up and joined the trip.
“Same Same… but different” is one of the popular quotes you’ll see and hear when you visit Vietnam. And it’s funny in much ways this is how I saw things as well during my recent visit to Northern Vietnam with my buddy Lagal[og]. I guess it’s one of those trips where I’m reminded more of home and really appreciate what we got. Don’t get me wrong, Vietnam and it’s natural wonders have a unique charm on their own, but I found it not that far being a neighboring country of the Philippines.
Sunrise at China Beach Da Nang
With our expedition of Central Vietnam nearing its end, after all the potpourri of sights, sounds, and tastes that invaded our senses in this whirlwind exploration, I was really looking forward in having a relaxing climax on this journey. So when I made the itinerary for this trip, I made sure we had a downtime at China Beach Da Nang.
View of the Mountains from Thuy Son Mountain
I’m close to wrapping up my series of entries on Central Vietnam. And as 2nd to the last entry would be one of the most fun destinations in my opinion close to the city of Danang.
Entrance to Ling Ong Pagoda Cave
After visiting My Son Sanctuary we continued our journey and headed to the famous Marble Mountains, which is a cluster of 5 mountain peaks jutting out flat lands towards the sea. The mountains are also called Ngu Hanh Son or Mountains of the Five Element since each peak represents five elements; Thuy Son (water), Moc Son (wood), Kim Son (metal), Tho Son (soil) and Hoa Son (fire). The sight itself from the main road going into the city was very interesting. It just makes you think how those mountains ended up there together when most of the landscape is flat.
One of the towers of My Son
Traveling on the back of a motorcycle for an hour and half from the Ancient Town of Hoi An, pass the rural countryside, rich with rice paddies and farms, we headed to another of Vietnam’s UNESCO Heritage site – My Son Sanctuary.