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Vong Vieng Village, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – day 1

By on September 9, 2015 in Vietnam

At 3:30 pm on day one of my trip to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, we were rowed around some local caves near Vong Vieng Village, and I must say that the scenery was impressive. Wow!  It was amazing to get up close with the islands of Ha Long Bay.

One thing that has struck me about how Ha Long is a lack of wildlife. I’ve not seen many birds, and I was expecting a lot of birds.

With the inaccessible cliffs and the surrounding sea that should or could contain a lot of fish, I’m really surprised at the lack of seabirds. Ha Long Bay looks like an ideal location. Therefore, it was great to get out into small boats and move around the cliffs, and to go into caves, to see what wildlife was around. I thought that getting up close and personal to the islands might reveal more wildlife.

To my delight the cave had bats, and on the trip to the cave, we saw two monkeys (Crab-Eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)) on an island. However, we saw no other wildlife. No birds at all. Where are the seabirds? We were told we would see Pelicans, and I didn’t see a single one on the trip to the caves, or in my three days in Ha Long Bay. Most odd.

On the cave trip, we had a choice – we could either go by rowboat (and be rowed) or take a canoe. I opted for the rowboat, which we boarded at a small floating village (it was more of a floating shop than a village).

vong vieng village ha long bay

Being rowed into the caves was great. It gave you a feeling of how big and grand the islands of Ha Long Bay are.

vong vieng village ha long bay

However, it was disappointing to be making the trip into the cave with so many other rowboats around. I would imagine that being there on your own would be truly magical.

vong vieng village ha long bay

The image below shows our first sight of the cave. You can hardly see it, low down on the cliff, hugging the water.

vong vieng village ha long bay

The roof of the cave was very low, and the rock formations were stunning. I liked the sort of crinkly wavy effect that could be seen.

vong vieng village ha long bay

Stunning rock formations in the Vong Vieng Village cave. It makes you appreciate the power of water.

vong vieng village ha long bay

It was dark in a cave; the only sound was the squeak of bats and the drip of water – and of course all the noise being made by my fellow tourists!

vong vieng village ha long bay

After passing through the cave, we entered a large bay area that was full of canoeists.

vong vieng village ha long bay

The scenery was stunning.

vong vieng village ha long bay

vong vieng village ha long bay

vong vieng village ha long bay

The trip around the cave near Vong Vieng Village was great. It brought home the beauty of Ha Long day. The grandeur of the place. However, I am still worried by the lack of wildlife I’m seeing. Where are all the birds?

Could it be that all the visiting tourists scare them off? Somehow I think this is unlikely; there must be lack of food as the habitat would seem to be ideal. So, the question is where are all the fish? Fish were here in the past as I’ve been told that the area used to contain a number of floating fishing villages – of which Vong Vieng Village was one.

vong vieng village ha long bay

vong vieng village ha long bay

These days the local villagers seem to provide the muscle power for rowing the boats to the cave.

vong vieng village ha long bay

vong vieng village ha long bay

vong vieng village ha long bay

vong vieng village ha long bay

Some of our canoeists were late getting back, so I return to our main boat was slightly delayed.

I decided to skip the 6:30 pm spring roll making class, and just head for dinner at 7:30 pm.

The meal served on board our boat was very good, and we had lots to eat – the food was excellent.  We started with sweet and sour soup,  followed by spring rolls (and if you made spring rolls at the class then they were served to you),  and a choice of main dishes.

After dinner, there was the option of squid fishing from the side of the boat. No instructions were given, we were just provided with rods and a lure. I saw what I think were a lot of squid in the water, but I didn’t catch a thing. We were using a bright light and a green lure. Later I was told we wouldn’t have caught anything as there was no moon!

One thing that is annoying is there are no tea and coffee facilities in the rooms and Glory Cruises were charging for tea, coffee, and water, at shamefully charging marked up prices.

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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