In Bai Tu Long Bay there’s floating Pearl Farm with a built-in jewelry store. It’s a little strange browsing jeweler’s cases with a bunch of people in life-jackets. On the way into the store they show you how pearls are cultured and harvested, presumably in an attempt to engender a sense of gratitude / reciprocity from those who are really psyched about it.
One of the interesting experiences to be had on a junk boat tour in Vietnam is dining in a cave. This cave used to be employed as a shelter for fishermen during storms. Given all the rocky skerries in the bay, I suspect being in a boat in a storm here would be terrifying. However, the caves are now prohibited to those without a license. Because the fishermen took to lopping off stalactites and stalagmites because they make for impressive mountains for bonzai displays–and those displays can be big money makers when done well.
An example of what I’m talking about can be seen below.