Blogs from Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong, Red River Delta, Vietnam, Asia - page 5


Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island May 28th 2010

Second day in Halong Bay. I found out that there was a climbing outfitter in town near where we were staying and made plans to jump ship from my tour. I did, however, take the short trek to a hilltop fire tower in the Cat Ba National Park - nice valley views. After lunch with my tour group I parted with my new friends and got to know the next group coming to my hotel for the night. I'm realizing I haven't been talking much about the people I've been hanging out with, so I'll try to add a coupla photos here and there from now on. I roomed with a kid named Conor, from Belfast, who was traveling for a few weeks in the middle of a 6 month volunteer gig in Borneo. Nice guy ... read more
View from Firetower 1
View from Firetower 2
Sean and I

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island May 10th 2010

Woke up to the sound of thunder and rain at about 5am. We had to get up earlyish as brekkie was at 8. Weather was horrendous, torrential rain. English girls were only on a one day tour so they stayed on the big boat while we got on the little boat to Cat Ba Island. Here we were joined by another tour group (14 people all in their 20's, all from UK except 2 Canadians). Other group had already chosen to cycle on Cat Ba so our group, together with our non English speaking local guide went trekking in the most horrendous weather. We'd all bought plastic ponchos (read: really thin, pretty useless carrier bags) and me and Rob had rain macs on too, we looked well stylish as we trudged through the jungley mountain. It ... read more
wet rob
ha long

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island April 7th 2010

It seems the north of Vietnam is nothing but a series of trip highlights. After spending all our money in Hoi An, we traveled up to the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi. It is a fairly large city, and in stark contrast to Saigon. The old quarter is a maze of streets and alleyways that are impossible not to get lost in. Each street is named after the product that was sold there hundreds of years ago, and things still tend to congregate around the old quarter. For example, you can search for hours for a pair of shoes, and then turn a corner and find 50 shoe shops on the same street. It's a really neat city indeed. After wandering around Hanoi for a day, we headed south to the city of Ninh Binh. This ... read more
Tam Coc
Ninh Binh
Exploring Ninh Binh

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island April 6th 2010

Day 130: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010. Halong Bay to Cat Ba, Vietnam. Intrepid notes continued: "On day 12 we arrive at the beautiful and relaxing Cat Ba Island for one night. On Cat Ba Island we stay in a basic one-star hotel. There are options to trek in the national park, spend time on the beaches, kayak the warm waters, check out the local markets or watch the harbour activity. The lovely foreshore is a great place to sip an evening beer and watch the sunset. Upon arrival at our guesthouse we will take a short orientation walk, your leader will point out the best options for internet, cafes, restaurants and which way to the beach." The weather is much clearer (still foggy but not oppressively so) and, liter aside, it was a beautiful morning. I ... read more
P.O.N. Halong Bay
Oyster Farm
The gang contemplating Water Buffalo, the other red meat.

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island March 27th 2010

Cat Ba Island Most every traveler to Vietnam goes to Halong Bay. It's a World Heritage sight and quite gorgeous. We wanted to see it, but wanted to avoid the super touristy route, so we read an alternative would be to make your way to Cat Ba Island which is south of Halong, and take the boat from there. You can see some of the same sights, but there wouldn't be as many boats or people. Getting to Cat Ba Island, our jumping off point for the much-touristed and raved about Halong Bay involved no less than one taxi, 3 buses, one ferry boat and a motorbike ride. Just like we'd been advised by the trusty interwebs and guide bibles, the trip went fairly smoothly, delivering us to the main street of Cat Ba Town from ... read more
ferry from Haiphong to Cat Ba
the boat we cruised on
Photo 5

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island February 15th 2010

Well it was with a great deal of trepidation that we boarded the plane from laid back Laos in Luang Prabang bound for Hanoi. We'd heard plenty of horror stories about scams and people being ripped off from the moment they landed to those who had been heckled virtually their entire way around the country. Well, we couldn't have had a more opposite experience! Exec summary: What a stunning country. The people were amongst the friendliest we have met, the scenery dramatic, spectacular and varied, the food delicious, the chaotic cities electrifying and the white beaches magnificent and relaxing. All in all, we'd love to go back some day to do the bits we chopped out of our trip as well as go back to those where we'd loved to have stayed a bit longer. And ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island January 17th 2010

The place is awesome! Spectacular views, when the fog and cold don’t get in the way I think I spent the entire time bloody freezing. The bus was pretty horrible but only 4hours is Childs play in Asia travel the highlight was the ;soft shell crab’ Pringles. The food on the whole tour was really nice even if a few shrimps looked really dodgy iv still not died from food poisoning, there was also a realisation that rum & fanta tastes like iron brew which was great if not a forced revelation as the boats try to charge a 10dollar corkage fee on alcohol which costs £1 to buy drink smuggling was being done by everyone. We went to a huge cave which looked like it belonged in a movie m thinking a crappy Sci-Fi cus ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island December 23rd 2009

Cat Ba Island So we opted for a taxi ride to one of the many bus stations in Hanoi, unable to find a convenient local bus route and unwilling to face the traffic fumes for the 4km walk. This proved to be a good choice as it was further than we thought but also pretty cheap considering it was a 'proper' taxi and not a two stroke, three wheel monstrosity held together with string and paper-clips - ie. An Indian auto-rickshaw. The ferries to Cat Ba island leave from Haiphong on the coast at the most inconvenient times which would require either staying the night at the lovely industrial city of Haiphong or a 4am start from Hanoi. Thankfully the good folk at Hoang Long transport realised the impracticality and devised a bus-boat-bus system that leaves ... read more
Fishing boat
Welcome to Cat ba!
catco 2 beach

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island December 22nd 2009

Hi guys, we're now in Laos and its the day after we hit the tubing here (basically a pub crawl along a river) so I'm a bit hazy on the details of the past week in Vietnam, I don't even remember what day it is anymore. Hoi An - a very old trading port with many preserved period houses and Chinese community temples. It’s got a lot of character and is also famous for the 500 tailors that make very cheap suits, jackets, dresses and well, anything. Of course I had to partake myself and had a long silk maxi dress made - very suitable for backpacking! We got the 12 hour sleeper bus to Hoi An but decided to cheat and fly to Hanoi as the flights were really cheap. We arrived at 1am with ... read more
Hospital Caves
I think I'd like another snake in my wine please
Hoi An

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong » Cat Ba Island December 3rd 2009

Hey Guys, Well after resisting all the Touts offers to do a package tour from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island we opted to take the local buses and get there ourselves. Although it wasn't as smooth as a packaged tour might have been, it's more rewarding doing it yourself. That's not to say it's not without it's stress and headaches. We managed to get the bus to Haiphong and then after figuring out where the ferries to Cat Ba were we managed to walk to the docks, this is where following our Lonely Planet has screwed us again (although it has saved us a lot too). We were greeted by a lady on a scooter just as we were about to reach the docks telling us to hurry the boat was leaving. We were mis-informed that ... read more

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