And onto Vietnam... / by Neil Alexander

Ha Long Bay by Neil Alexander

For the next part of the trip we left Luang Prabang, Laos and flew back to Hanoi, Vietnam from where we did the long drive up to Ha Long Bay in readiness for a dawn shoot and a trip round the bay at first light. We arrived well after dark so it was tricky assessing where the best location would be for dawn. We tried from the roof (12th floor) of the hotel pre-dawn and for first light, but the hotel wasn’t in the best spot, so a prompt decision was made to head to the bay and get straight out onto a boat. As it transpires boats, other than fishing vessels and freighters, boats are prohibited from moving around in the bay before 6:30am, and by this time the light was well on its way to getting harsh and nasty. Ha Long bay, literally translated as Descending Dragon Bay covers around 1,500 km2 and consists of around 2,000 mainly limestone islets. A community of around 1,600 people live on Ha Long Bay in four fishing villages: Cửa Vạn, Ba Hang, Cống Tàu and Vông Viêng in Hùng Thắng commune, Hạ Long city who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. The scenery in the right light would be spectacular, so if you’re going with a view to shooting my suggestion is to stuff a few dollars into the hands of a fisherman and get him to take you out early or even the night before for the adventurous and sleep on the boat to be in the right spot….

Ha Long Bay by Neil Alexander