We woke fairly early (5am I think!) on our cruise on Bai Tu Long Bay, the more secluded part of Halong, to catch the rise of that big ball of fire that felt so near on this side of the globe.
It. was. unbelievable. The stripes of teal and yellow, blocked by the mountain shapes.
Walker stood at the bow of the boat shooting photos,
while I got up my courage to join the Tai Chi class. It wasn't as easy as I expected, the slow rise and fall of the arms, as our guide said, like splitting an invisible watermelon with your hands.
Meanwhile, this was the view that I couldn't really turn to look at, as I was in the front of the class, and the whole experience was supposed to calm us.
After breakfast, which I can only recall the options as pancakes and tea, we set out on our second excursion of the cruise: to the caves.
We again took small motor boats to the landing for the Thien Canh Son caves, which are actually owned and protected by Indochina Junk, our cruise company. Since they own a few boats, we had to wait outside for a little while until they were vacated for us,
but we had this view and our guide Ha to entertain us.
We went through a bit of a tight squeeze,
into a truly ornate world of stalactites.
Looks like Jess and I were chatting again (hi, Jess!), but I love how this shows the scale of the room.
We embarked again for the main cruise ship,
and spent the last hour packing and enjoying a quick lunch on deck.
And then said so long, Ha Long!
It truly was one of the most incredibly striking places we've ever visited, and a highlight of our entire trip.