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Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam crew member visits natural wonder her team represents

by Clipper Round the World Race 27 Jun 13:13 BST
Ha Long Bay is an UNESCO World Natural Heritage site © Clipper Race

One Race Crew member got a sneak preview of what future Host Port Partner Ha Long Bay, Vietnam has in store for when the Clipper Race visits the city in spring 2023.

Terri Fisher, who is part of the 2019-20 edition team entry Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, competed in the Southern Ocean Leg, from Cape Town to Fremantle. Following this epic endurance challenge, she rewarded herself with a trip around Asia with her daughter, Nicole. And she changed all her plans just to visit the stunning location that her team represents.

She says, "My original idea was to travel around Australia after my race. But as soon as I found out the name of my team back at Crew Allocation last year, I just had to visit Ha Long Bay. I'm so glad I did as we had the best time!"

The Quang Ninh Tourism Department, Team Partner of the Clipper 2019-20 Race, represents the province that is home to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, and so arranged for Terri and her daughter to experience the best sights the region has to offer. To add to the excitement, they would be spending Christmas in Ha Long Bay.

Says Terri: "We arrived in Ha Long Bay City on Christmas Eve. I popped to a little corner shop close to the hotel and got talking to the guy working there. Vietnamese celebrate Christmas more on the 24th December rather than Christmas Day itself and within minutes we were invited to join the festive feast they were having, held right there on the street. We were made to feel part of the family and they shared lots of local delicacies with us and also a chocolate cake to die for, with little Christmas Trees on top."

"It was just a wonderful evening and with locals so friendly and hospitable, the Clipper 2022-23 Race Crew are going to be in for a real treat!"

The next day, the Quang Ninh Tourism Department had arranged for Terri and Nicole to explore northern Vietnam's number one tourism spot, Ha Long Bay. Towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters in the bay. These famous rocky outcrops feature on the hull design of the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam yacht, along with the area's famous sunsets.

The rock formations are what attract millions of tourists every year to take to the water and discover the region by taking overnight boat trips. Visitors can take cruises to lazily sail the emerald green waters among thousands of rugged islands and islets, stopping at some of the most spectacular caves, viewing impressive and centuries-old formations. Ha Long Bay's mystical beauty has made it a bucket list attraction within the country, but it's still possible to find secluded corners to call your own.

The boat that was to take Terri and Nicole around this natural wonder was a far cry from the basic living quarters on a Clipper 70.

Our cabin was pure luxury. We had a gigantic bed, nothing like the bunk I'd been sleeping in for a month. As the trip began, we were treated to a welcome dance, then we sat up on deck to enjoy the beautiful views. I couldn't quite believe it was Christmas Day. We visited Sung Sot Cave (known as Amazing Cave). And we got to kayak around the calm waters. I paddle at home in Derry-Londonderry, on the Foyle, but this was something else. It felt surreal to be paddling somewhere so stunning."

In the evening, Terri and her daughter enjoyed a luxurious feast. "I love my food", says Terri, "and I'm really fussy. But the food was out of this world, with five star service where they place the napkin on your lap. It was night and day to the food and eating experience in the galley on board our team yacht."

Says Pham Ngoc Thuy, Director of Quang Ninh Tourism Department, "It is no coincidence that Quang Ninh is considered a tourism paradise in Vietnam. The beauty, the charm of the rich and unique natural landscape with friendly people, unique coastal dishes is what makes Quang Ninh different. Participating in the Clipper 2019-20 Race and also the 2022-23 edition with a racing yacht named Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam is an opportunity to bring the image and brand of Quang Ninh tourism to the world.

"Quang Ninh was very pleased to welcome the first member of the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team, Ms. Terri Fisher. Hopefully, Quang Ninh, Ha Long brought a wonderful vacation and an unforgettable experience to her.

"As one of the destinations of the Clipper 2022-2023 Race, we believe that all tourists and Clipper Race Crew will enjoy the eye-catching, safe, friendly and attractive Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh and have the most authentic experience while they are here."

On their return to the city, the mother-daughter duo spent another three days in the area and spent time at Sun World Ha Long Complex. Sun World is a huge entertainment park, spanning 214 hectares, and includes a cable car, water park and amusement park. Sun World Ha Long Complex is owned by Sun Group, who along with the Vin Group, are Team Supporters of the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam yacht entry.

Terri is now back in Derry-Londonderry, living in her apartment overlooking the Foyle Marina, where the Clipper Race fleet has berthed for four editions. She will rejoin her Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team when the race returns next year and will be competing in the eighth and final stage of the race, the 'Homecoming Leg'. Read more about how Terri came to be an ocean racer here.

Want to add Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam to your holiday bucket list? Find out more by visit the region's website here.

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