Bai Tu Long Bay, the beautiful, less-touristed neighbor to Ha Long Bay
Picture this: You pull out from the harbor on an afternoon shrouded in mist, carefully avoiding the fishing boats at anchor as you enter the bay. You soon leave the colorful jumble of boats behind. For the next two days, you'll see other boats only occasionally -- and the only tourists you'll see are the ones who set sail with you. It's just you, the water, and the majestic landscape. The masses of rock protrude sharply up from the water and press through the fog.
Small floating houses dot the bay. The inhabitants live on the water year-round, seeking shelter in nearby caves when stormy weather blows through. They make a living farming fish and shellfish off their floating platforms.
At sunset, our monochromatic landscape was set alight with hues of yellow and orange.
We spent the night on one of the islands, guests in the home of a retired fisherman. After a delicious dinner and breakfast, we rode bikes to a local beach, played frisbee in the sand, and then set sail back through the silent peaks to our colorfully crowded harbor.