While in Hanoi we came across a stack of old books where a weathered Lonely Planet guide to Vietnam from over 20 years ago caught our eye. After flipping through a few pages of outdated cafe recommendations, we found a section where the author wrote about a newly accessible area for travelers to venture to: Halong Bay. The small paragraph was filled with descriptions of fog, emerald seas and karst formations in numbers that had never been seen before, but also made clear mention to watch out for something we had only imagined in folktales: pirates!
The destination surely no longer contains threats like these since becoming one of Vietnam’s most popular destinations over the last few decades, but it’s these dreamy images of mountains rising out of the sea, fog shrouding itself among the countless karst, and pirates hiding in hidden coves that adds to the myths and mystery of Halong Bay.
We managed to catch unseasonably warm weather which meant our moments of fog and mist would be replaced with clear skies and sunshine. While we can’t complain for the ideal traveling weather, a small part of us still hoped to experience being on a ship at sea, cooled by a salty breeze, and enveloped in the grey mystery of the bay. ◆