Southeast Asia: Halong Bay, Vietnam

Before we left for Asia, everyone who had been to Vietnam told us to go to Halong Bay. They all said the same thing: it's really touristy, and totally worth it. They were all right. Halong Bay is an magestic landscape of limestone rock formations jutting out of a moss green sea. It is also chock full of "junks" - 15th(?) century style boats, each one housing a tour group. That said, there are long stretches on the water where no other vessel is in sight, and in those moments, the landscape's mysterious and lonely quality are stunning. We actually quite loved our tour. It was fun sleeping in our own wooden room on the junk, and kayaking among the towering formations was a highlight of our entire trip so far. On the second day we biked and hiked through Cat Ba National Park, a jungle-y tangle of plants and vines, and stopped at Monkey Island, where Dylan nearly lost his face to a monkey attack. So if you're planning a trip to Vietnam, go to Halong Bay: It's really touristy, and totally worth it.

Pulling out of the harbor with a mess of other junk boats.

We didn't have the best weather, but the thick grey skies certainly added to the eeriness as formations emerged out of the fog.

A floating village, of which there were many dotted throughout the bay.

This woman seemed to be scooping water into her boat, maybe keeping the day's catch wet?

The dock to the beach where we had lunch.

Dylan takes in the view as we chug along.

A spider in Cat Ba National Park - just about the size of a grown man's hand.

Dylan loves the hiking!

This photo was taken seconds before this outraged little monkey tried to attack Dylan. It leapt at his head, and as Dylan spun around to protect his precious face, the monkey sprung from his backpack into a nearby tree, and moments later, repeated the action. Dylan was so scared, he shrieked like a girl and pushed me into the monkey's path, so I think it's safe to assume that if this was a dominant male attack, Dylan's response promptly ended it.

We never wanted to leave.