Halong Bay, Vietnam 2003: Descending with the Dragon

Back in 2003 we were still using expensive-to-develop film, and even so our two day cruise on Halong Bay to Cat Ba rated an amazing 70 photos.

Enter our 2013 cruise with digital cameras and there are several hundreds of photos to sort through.

It’s one of those places where you can take a ton of photos of and they all look amazing, and anyone who sees them wants to go to Vietnam!

Here are some of the photos from our 2003 trip:

The junk we sailed in on…
cruising Halong Bay in 2003Some of the other tour boats sailing around Halong Bay.
A Junk with Red Sails in Halong Bay in Vietnam A Vietnamese boat in the shadow of the karst cliffs.
A Vietnamese Boat in the Shadow of Karst Cliffs in Halong Bay in Vietnam The floating fishing village on the way to the island of Cat Ba. These villages have all been removed as they were polluting the waters around the island of Cat Ba, at least according to the government. (In 2013 the cruise went a different route and we stopped at one of the still existing fishing villages.)
Cat Ba floating village, Halong BayIn 2003 Cat Ba was still a working island without a lot of tourists. A few years later we saw an ad for a tourist condo development on the island. Yikes!
The working waterfront at the island of Cat Ba in Halong Bay, Vietnam The ‘tour’ included two different options: kayaking through the karst rock formations or hiking in Cat Ba. We chose the hiking option but when we got together with the people who had chose the kayaking option we kind of wished we had done that instead. (And in 2013, they no longer went to Cat Ba so we got to kayak after all.)
Karst Formations in Halong Bay in Vietnam The hike gave us an opportunity to look down on the bay.
A Junk Cruising in Halong Bay in VietnamOur hike was through farms and high grasses of type seen in a lot of movies about the Vietnamese War. In peacetime there was only this farmer gathering rice.
rice gatherer on our hike in Cat BaAfter the hike they sent us out on this rickety walkway to the main beach on Cat Ba. We really wanted to go back here in 2013 but the weather was a lot colder and the tour company no longer went to Cat Ba.
Rickety walkway to Cat Ba Beach The itinerary of our 2003 cruise.
Handspan Cruise to Halong Bay Itinerary More on our 2013 Vietnam trip.

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