“I’ve never been to a place that has immediately floored me with its beauty like this place has,” says Neil Gresham, the international rock climber, on this expedition in Vietnam‘s famous Halong Bay. This is where part of the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies was shot, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Sleeping in an old-time Vietnamese boat, each deep-water climb of the limestone spires begins from a boat.
But, since they don’t have a top-out, they have to jump into the sea to get down.
These limestone spires are a very different vibe to the relaxed, easy-access cliffs of Majorca, and much of the UK that Neil and his climbing partner Leah Crane are used to. “Despite the differences, Halong Bay is stunningly beautiful, warm water, and incredible rock,” is the summary.
If you are heading to Vietnam on your future travels, an overnight boat trip would be the perfect way to see the area and relax. There’s nothing quite like a deep sleep you get rocking gently on a boat at sea, only to be greeted with the rising sun glistening over the water as you sip your morning brew.
“Every morning when you wake up on the boat, you open your eyes to the serene landscape of open seas, fishermen in boats, and these huge towers of limestone rock jutting out from the sea,” Leah says, completely enchanted.
“It’s so much more the just the climbing. It’s the whole experience of being here. You’re getting fresh fish from the little floating fishing villages you get here. You see the Vietnamese people here in their original surroundings, like a timeless community that life just forgot about,” Neil says.