Halong Bay

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Halong Bay
Words can do little justice to the scenery that awaits travelers to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hundreds of forested limestone karst formations rise from emerald green waters, looking like slumbering creatures ready to stir. The islands have a legend behind them—the gods sent a dragon to assist Vietnam's emperors repel invaders, and the creature spat out jewels and jade that turned into the islands. Many tourists come here on a day-trip from Hanoi that involves an early departure, three-hour bus ride to the ferry terminal, and a four-hour cruise along with scores of other boats before a transfer back to the capital. To truly appreciate the natural beauty with a modicum of solitude, take an overnight cruise—waking in the morning to see the mist-shrouded peaks without the distraction of tons of other boats (and their gawking passengers) is a sight to behold.
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