Some of the islands support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Many of the islands have acquired their names as a result of interpretation of their unusual shapes. Such names include Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock), and Mai Nha Islet (roof). 989 of the islands have been given names. Birds and animals including bantams, antelopes, monkeys, and lizards also live on some of the islands.
Almost all these islands are as individual towers in a classic fenglin landscape with heights from 50m to 100m, and height/width ratios of up to about six.
Another specific feature of Halong Bay is the abundance of lakes inside the limestone islands. For example, Dau Be island has six enclosed lakes. All these island lakes occupy drowned dolines within fengcong karst.”
Hoi An is a Unesco World Heritage Sight, Vietnams most important trading port from the 16th to 18th centuries. Many of the picturesque buildings are protected historic landmarks, some of which show the heavy influence of China and Japan with whom trade relations were strong throughout the history of this charming city.
The most popular activity in Hoi An is having custom clothing made, the city streets are full of tailor shops offering beautiful wardrobes.
The Japanese Covered Bridge, built in the early 1600’s
Stephane took a Vietnamese cooking class, firstly touring the market to learn about the various fruits, vegetables, and spices. The witty instructor would dryly offer such advice as “if onions make you cry, make someone else cut them” and “if they don’t have these particular ingredients where you live, move.”
We were warned of what to expect of Vietnam traffic but had no idea what an extreme sport it would be to cross a street in Saigon. We rested up at a public park where there was a festive cultural performance before getting the nerve up to brave the walk back to our hotel.
After a couple of days of the big city we were happy to have the opportunity to kick off our shoes and walk barefoot along the beaches of Nha Trang. Our weather was rainy and chilly so a day at the Thap Ba Hot Spring Mudbath was in order.