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Go to Ha Long Bay and You May Never Feel the Need to Go Anywhere Else in Viet Nam
The absolute highlight of my trip to Viet Nam was spending 2 days on a Chinese junk in Ha Long Bay. This area is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage site and has been nominated as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, as well as the 8th Wonder of the World. Ha Long Bay is simply stunning. There are more than 1900 islands, mostly made from limestone, emerging hundreds of feet high from the sea, exploding in spectacular glory.
Most of the islands are uninhabitable and contain caves and lakes. The Vietnamese government prohibits occupation of the islands, but you will find floating fishing villages near some of the larger islands. Some fishing villages raise pigs, so it's sort of weird to see a floating structure with a pig on it. Other villagers eke out a living by rowing around the waters to sell supplies to visitors on junks.
The water is serene, and even though we were warned to wear warm clothing, it wasn't really cold in December and I didn't need my jacket. Our boat held 9 cabins, which didn't leave room for our guide, so he had to spend the night on some other boat.
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