A Second Trip To Ha Long Bay: Differences Between My First And Second Visit
February 21, 2018
My first Ha Long Bay excursion was in September 2017. It was Vietnam’s Independence Day and I had unknowingly booked a spot on a party cruise. The weather was scorching and the itinerary was packed with sun-soaked activities. This is the start of peak season for Ha Long Bay.
My second trip to Ha Long Bay was in January 2018. I am still reveling in the glory of trip number one. Somehow, I was lucky enough to see this natural beauty twice, but this trip was much different. I traveled to the Bay solo and enjoyed an itinerary with less water sports and more down time. While January might offer the best weather traveling through the rest of Vietnam, I doubt it is peak season for a cruise.
That being said, each trip was a remarkably unique experience. Not only were the people and the activities different but the landscape was completely altered. In the summer, the limestone rock formations jet up, out of the water and into the sunlight. They glow in the daylight and offer a strong comforting warmth. As you sail past each formation, you can see every detail.
Winters in the north of Vietnam tend to be foggy. The fog was not thick or unpleasant but it did change the atmosphere of what I knew Ha Long Bay to be like. The gentle mist that hovered over the bay during the majority of my second stay was mystical. Somehow, the layers of limestone from foreground to background went from looking like a painted backdrop to a mysterious place for adventure. The rocks appeared to rest between the water and fog, creating a completely opposite but equally stunning view.
I was interested to see if I would notice something I did not see the first time around. Different activities meant new sites such as a nearby cave and Ti Top Island. These lessons in history where included on the party tour.
There are things that both trips had in common too. Both trips were an incredible escape from reality. Removed from the chaos of Hanoi, they both provided a beautiful, comfortable place to stay with a breathtaking scene. I met interesting people from across the world, ate delicious Vietnamese cuisine, enjoyed a heavenly nights rest and I couldn’t stop taking pictures.