We took a passenger ferry from Halong City to Cat Ba Island, it cost $3/£2 per person and it’s one of our best buys yet. The ferry only takes an hour, journeys through the 100 islands of Halong Bay with the sun shinning and birds flying, all at a fraction of the cost of the tourist boats most people take. You won’t get a better ferry ride than this.
I could try and come up with creative descriptive words to describe the views or I can show you some pictures…
When we arrived we rented a moped and hit the the road heading to the national park thinking we could (like Phong Nha Ke-Bang National Park) just ride about soaking up the sights. Turns out you can’t ride around and trekking is the only option. We were totally unprepared for trekking so we decided to move on and cruise the island. We went to the harbour and then to the Cannon Fort.
We heard the fort was a bit of a waste of time, admittedly, it’s had better days. You can walk around in about 30mins, there are a few exhibits, cannons and even a tunnel to walk through, but the money shot was the best views on the island. Overlooking everything… Definitely worth the $3 price tag. It’s a bit weird when people on Trip Advisor say something like that isn’t worth it. $3 can’t even buy you a Big Mac meal back home and at least after visiting the fort you don’t feel like you have violated your body.
That night we sat at a bar watching the sun set over the harbour, it was pretty nice seeing the suns reflection on the sea while slurping an ice cold beer.
The next day we went back to the harbour and rented a kayak for the day. Off we went, passing a floating village, numerous fishing boats and about a couple of kilometers later we stopped at a deserted beach on a random island to soak up some rays and rest the wary shoulders. We claimed it and named it Team MussMart Island. Who was gonna stop us?
We then set off looking for another island. After 10mins we hit rough waters we thought we could make it but it was getting a bit too risky. We started to imagine the grim headlines and headed back to calmer water.
That night we hit the town. The sea front has its fair share of ‘westernised’ bars selling beers for less than a dollar. A few hours and random chats later we were drunk and headed home. The next day which was planned to be a beach day was a wipe out, as the wife was too hungover to do anything. So we stayed in bed, watched TV and movies, which was actually nice because we hadn’t done that for a long time.
We booked a bus for the next day to take us to SaPa which will be our last stop in Vietnam. It’s a mountain town in the north that we hear has much cooler weather. More to report on that next time.
Some more photos
See you on the other side … Stephen and Katie x