bright flashes, thunder and torrential tropical rain
has on the night a storm over the Bay Tung Sau
discharged. The "Paradise Cruises I", a traditional
Vietnamese junk, has still barely moves. Even in bad
weather, the water is almost always calm between the
pinnacles, cones, sugar hats and miniature islands
of Halong Bay in northern Vietnam. The sky is low
over the bay, the morning light is still red, as Tai
Chi champion Miss Xuan training session for the sun
In slow motion it takes graceful movements, while
the early birds among the passengers try to
coordinate arms and legs. Then push apart the
clouds, sunlight falls on the velvet blue of the
water. As the air begins to evaporate, dismisses
Miss Xuan their students for breakfast.
165 km between the capital Hanoi and Halong Bay.
Three and a half hours it takes by car, five by
train, 30 minutes by helicopter only. But for the
journey is like for Tai Chi, the slower the better.
For larger, the contrast between heat, noise and
bustle of the metropolis, where thousands of moped
drivers honking pave their way, and the sublime
silence of the South China Sea as smooth as glass in
Halong Bay do not have.
The best preparation is several hours drive to the
coast. Lotus flowers, dozing ox, a flock of geese,
which is driven past the markets of small towns and
the emerald green rice fields, emerging from them
Vietnamese pointed hats - though these pictures are
evidence of a laborious life, they have in their
archaic force is a very special magic.
A higher down from the sky dragon, which is called
in Vietnamese Ha Long, and his children left behind
the bizarre islands in the sea, as they spat in the
fight against invaders pearls that were to land. So
says the legend. Geologists may know better, but the
myth fits perfectly with the magnificent, strange
and beautiful landscape. Those who do not believe in
dragons, for which science has an explanation ready:
So it is in the bay around a sunken limestone
plateau in the last ice age, extend of which only
the top of the water.
Colorful fishing boats bobbing on the sea, the rocks
look around like in rock-cut mythical creatures.
Since 1994, UNESCO, the 1,500 square kilometer
region is one with its 2,000 islands as a World
Heritage Site, today it is one of the most important
stops on the route of travelers through Vietnam.
Therefore, it is now already necessary to avoid
other tourists. Where crossed in the early days of
tourism 50 boats are now hundreds on the road. The
end of 2008 the fleet grounded "Paradise Cruises'
starts from the island of Tuan Chau - 15 miles from
the popular point of departure Bai Chay, a district
of Halong City, away. That means definitely an
advantage. In addition, the Vietnamese society have
an anchor at the pearl farm approval Sau Tung said
the French manager Vincent Le Cannelier, whose
enthusiasm for the bay - and for its fleet - to rein
in, even after 150 trips can hardly be.
Here, only three ships may moor at night instead of
the usual 40 to 50, so we at the evening kayak trip
is not constantly the hiss of opening beer cans off.
That the Bay of the clock is navigable only to 20,
gives the world heritage site, at least at night
Unlike most other junks in the bay are the crossing
under the golden sailing ship "Paradise Cruises'
historic replica Vietnamese boats and not those from
nearby China, do not look bad, but just different,
especially flat. They come from Vinh in Central
Vietnam, where some craftsmen still dominate the
traditional design. With ships like these already
visited the Vietnamese emperor to Halong Bay.
Although the play in contemporary Vietnamese junks
everyday no longer relevant. But its nostalgic
charm, in conjunction with the clear size of 17
cabins must for a romantic travel experience.
Captain Nhat, which controls more than 20 years by
the bay, knows every rock in the water and gives off
a sovereignty that is entrusted to you.
The rock cones and needles are uninhabited lack of
flat surfaces. Not only visitors are therefore
dependent on boats, even the residents. For
generations, the people here live on the water. The
fishing village of Cua Van is one of four floating
villages in Halong Bay. His wooden huts stand on
pontoons, there are even television and electricity
from the generator, but, although this is required
by law, no sewage system.
Once the boat from the junk in the Bay of Cua Van,
rowing approaching children who deal with the boats
as naturally as their peers elsewhere on a scooter.
For pennies a minute, they offer mussels, which are
certainly not allowed to perform. A school is part
of the floating village, visit the children until
the fifth grade. Then they would go to boarding
school, but what few people, like Nguyen Van Huu
said. The 84-year-old lives with his wife, Vu Thi
Dai and five other family members in the lodge,
which consists of two rooms and a hallway in
between. They wash themselves with water from the
rain barrel. They have to buy drinking water. The
three-generation house has a small terrace with two
fish tanks in front: Fish farming is the main source
of income of the 500 villagers.
In an old Coke can stand the toothbrush of the
family, a blanket roll on the floor one bed
suggests. On the neighboring terrace, which is only
two meters away, a dog is tethered. Before every
house flies the Vietnamese flag. The inhabitants of
the floating village do not pay taxes, but receive
no benefits. If you take the compulsory education
seriously, do not get caught with drugs and there is
no prostitution, the Ministry of Culture, the
floating villages adorned with the title of
"cultural village". The Glory and honor, but no
As visitors pass back to the fish tanks to balance
the boat, waving to the children of a sales campaign
last goodbye. The boat leaves in a wide swing in the
next bay and into another world, back to the junk,
where guests are greeted with ice cold sweaty towels
from which rises the smell of lemongrass.
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