Getting Sea Legs in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay

Sunset over Ha Long Bay off the northeast coast of Vietnam creates a scene that defines the Orient. The silhouetted islands, great limestone columns soaring out over the sea from the slenderest of bases, assume such perfection of proportion and form as to mock all man-made sculpture as artless imitation. Centuries ago, the harmony of this seascape inspired a whole school of Vietnamese painting. To drift today in a red-sailed junk beneath the yawning overhangs and watch the fading light transform rock peaks and fringing jungle into giant figurines is, for a few short moments, to become part of an ageless...

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