After being content with looking at other peoples photographs of Halong Bay we have finally made it here ourselves. After a few days in crazy Hanoi we were more than ready to move on.
We boarded our luxury boat around miday to set sail thru the maze of limestone karsts to Cat Ba Island.
We were to spend one night on board the boat and one night in a hotel on the island.
We were pleasently suprised at the standard of the boat and the 16 passengers all got on well together. We set sail and were served with lunch, sadly the weather wasn’t great, dull and grey, but the scenery was spectacular none the less.
The boat pulled up at a the entrance to a cave deep inside a karst, it was amazing, coloured lighting lit up the many strange formations. After that we were taken to ‘James Bond’ cave and then to the floating village for a spot of kyaking.
I decided to give it a miss as it was getting late and cool, within a few minutes of kayaking Stan was completely out of site weaving in and out of the karsts, darkness fell and I began to wonder if I’d ever see him again! Fortunately he did manage to make it back but said it had been completely disorientating as there were so many boats with twinkling lights in the otherwise dark sea.
Evening meal was a relaxing affair as we became aquainted with our fellow passengers. We played a crazy card game, overcoming the language barrier and then retired early in order to be up for sunrise over the bay.
Sunrise didn’t actually happen , due to grey skies, but the dim light and the sillouettes of karsts and boats gently bobbing about made for a mystical sight. After breakfast 9 of us were herded onto another boat and waved goodbye to the remaining passengers who were now on their way back. By now our group were like one big family and we spent the next hour taking photos as we sailed thru’ the maze to Cat Ba Island.
Once on the island we were whisked of by bus to a place for trekking , the trek was a steep path up to the summit of a limestone karst. There were scores of people all crowded onto the tiny summit around the viewing tower. It looked a very rickety affair but of course Stan just had to climb to the top accompanied by Jonathan, the french guy in our group. We all arrived back at the bus, the laid back Italian couple, Franchesco and Sandra, bringing up the rear (as usual!). We were dropped off at our hotel in time for lunch. Later we walked to Cat Co 2 beach, had a swim and were then joined by the Aussie family.
After a pretty rank evening meal in our hotel we went to Green Mango Bar, where once agin the 3 Aussie sisters and also Jonathan joined us for another lively evening. The next evening we all returned to Green Mango and enjoyed a meal together, when the bill came it came to one million dong exactly! By the time we’d pooled our money there was a huge pile!
The following day everyone else left the island and we felt quite lonely so hired a bike to explore the National Park.
We are now back in Hanoi for 2 crazy days before flying back to Bangkok.
We can’t seem to add photos here in Hanoi so will send this blog without and try to add them later then republish.