Published: June 16th 2011June 16th 2011
We arrived in Cat Ba Island after a 4 hour journey. A bus from Hanoi to Haiphong then a short boat trip from Haiphong to Cat Ba followed by a bus ride into Cat Ba town. Most tourists just book a trip to Halong bay from Hanoi and do not venture out this far, so they do not make it to Lan Ha bay which was recommended to us by many travellers who said it was more beautiful than Halong Bay.
We arrived on a Friday and the weekends are a busy time in Cat Ba as the local Vietnamese tourists come swarm the place. We spent the next hour trying to find accommodation which proved to be difficult as most had been snapped up and Hotel owners were asking ridiculous amounts like $30 a night. We eventually stumbled across a little hotel up the top of a hill and haggled for $10 a night. That evening we went for dinner at Noble house overlooking the pier. If you go to Cat Ba, visit Slo pony Adventures who specialise in rock climbing and are also really helpful in providing you with some insight into the local area. Better than local
The following morning we decided to rent a scooter and look around the island. We went up to canon fort which had windy, hilly roads and was recommended to us by the guys at Slo pony for some of the best views in town. We were not let down. From here you get some breath-taking views of the town and the surrounding bays. Canon fort as its name suggests was used as a defensive point against air assaults by the Vietnamese. After a bit of whizzing around the island we headed back to the beach for a swim.
Later that evening we booked a 2 day tour to Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay - for the first half of the day doing stuff with a group, then having a private boat that evening and for the following day. We thought this would be a great experience. We booked with Cat ba Ventures – the guy there is a nice chap.
The following morning we checked out and got picked up and taken on board a boat. During the day we went to some caves, kayaking, Monkey island for a swim, cruised around Lan Ha Bay.
At around 4pm we said our goodbyes to our tour group and hopped onto our private boat. We headed back around Han La bay which is stunning at sunset and docked near a floating house. Our guide told us the floating boat was his uncle’s house and Angelo was offered a glass of rice wine which he happily knocked back. We also met his granny who had a floating boat selling food, drinks and beer. Angelo took a picture of her and showed it to her. She claimed she should be in a tourist postcard!! We had dinner sitting on roof of the boat watching the sunset. It just was the perfect ending to a perfect day. This was paradise!!
The following morning we got up and had breakfast. There was a bit of rain but it didn’t last long. We set off to some caves to do some kayaking. We came across a floating village and the little kids were excited to see us kayak by, some just shouted ‘money!!’. After kayaking we headed off around Ha Long bay and stopped off on a little beach for lunch and for a swim. Words cannot describe how pretty it
was here and the photos do not do this place justice. After one final swim on a secluded beach it was time to head back to Cat ba and take our overnight bus to Hue.
Deb & Ang
There are more photos below