Cruisin' Halong Bay and climbing Cat Ba Island
Bobby Nguyen | 05 Aug 2009
We had another wait at Halong City before boarding our boat in bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine!
WE PULLED into Hanoi at 4.30am. With our eyes just open we made it back to Elizabeth Hotel to catch up on some emails before setting off to Halong Bay. Back on the bus again for three hours we stopped and grabbed some fantastic egg, bacon and cheese bagettes (or it could have been we were starving) before getting back in the bus. We had another wait at Halong City before boarding our boat in bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine. We set off on our cruise along Halong Bay with a seafood lunch onboard. Our first stop was at the caves we wandered through back on the boat only to nearly leave one of our passengers behind. We set off again through floating villages and through the spectacular formations of the bay. Next stop, kayaking! After our previous experience we now considered ourselves experts or close too especially given the absolute stillness of the water compared to that of Laos.
Back on board to our docking point, we were finally allowed to jump in. Joined only by a few others we enjoyed a late afternoon swim in the quite warm bay! Swimming was called to a halt to take some pictures of the amazing sunset, only for the batteries to run out. Showers and it was time for dinner on board. After dinner we had a few beers and a game of cards with some others including our Vietnamese Tour Guide whom we tried to teach the rules of “Cheat”, impossible but very amusing because he just couldn‘t cheat “oh my Buddha”. We chilled on the roof under the stars before bed.
Up at 4:30am to see the sunrise (with fully charged camera batteries, our batteries we definitely still running low!). But unfortunately it was too overcast, instead we enjoyed an beautiful transition from dark to light without the sun rise. After a few reasonable photo’s we crashed for a couple more hours. After a light breaky we cruised to Cat Ba Island. After a friends had said the trek was a short walk along a path. Carly set off in thongs and shorts. Two and a half hours later up two very substantial hills, no path and lots of grit and sweat the thongs were not such a great idea. But the magnificent views of the harbour and national park were worth it.
A easy climb down and we jumped back on the bus to our motel with beautiful views overlooking the harbour. After lunch we walked to Cat Ba Beach 1 and 2 after a quick swim to cool off dodging the litter and huge weed we went back into town. We met up with our group for dinner ( which was the same as dinner the night before and the past two lunches) tofu, vegies, squid and spring rolls. We wandered up the street, alive with street performers and locals before crashing early to catch up on some well needed sleep, in a stationary bed
Feeling refreshed we joined the others for breaky. Before a long journey back to Hanoi, back on the bus to the harbour ,to the boat to Halong city, to the second (very hot!) bus and finally back to Elizabeth Hotel to pick up our bags and washing and then a taxi to the airport. Next on the plane to Bangkok! Jez was pretty happy to see the back of Hanoi! We arrived in Bangkok at 11pm with plenty of time to kill before our next flight to Koh Sumui at 6am! We checked in our bags and wandered around the airport, grabbed some burgers and watched the soccer with the rest of those stuck at the airport at 3am in the morning sprawled out on the floor out the front of one of the restaurants. Finally 6am arrived and we set off for Koh Sumui.