A Quick Adventure On Cat Ba
Trip Start Jan 02, 2011
58Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Thang Loi Hotel
Just a mention on some toilets we visited. It made Carl Pilkington's 'An Idiot Abroad' China episode look like luxury. A communal concrete trench in the rain, worst toilet in Vietnam? Probably.
On the surface of things north Vietnam seems very different to the south. Out come the down jackets, boots and anoraks as the weather resembles something like the English Lake District, but the people are different too. Lots of spitting and low personal hygiene, something we need to get used to for China, we suppose.
All the transport links runs super smooth and it isn't long before we leave the smog of the mainland and arrive on Cat Ba Island
Slo Pony is an adventure tour operator specialising in rock climbing and have single handedly established the foundations of a potentially huge climbing scene in Vietnam. We booked a kayak tour for the next day with them at $23 each, which included lunch on the boat and a full day on the water in Halong Bay. It was a crazy morning as we woke up unsure of how we would feel from the night before. In a rush we scoffed some pancakes as we got into the mini bus to take us to the port. After an hour of cruising through bizarre karsts landscapes and floating villages (each with their own dogs on floating platforms) we got into the kayaks and set off for some hilarious fun exploring remote lagoons, beaches and rock. We couldn't help but wonder what kind of paradise this place would be like in the summer. Had lunch back on the boat but we decided to call it a day as we needed to run some errands on the mainland
That evening we ate at Bamboo Cafe, highly recommended by the Lonely Planet, but as usual it was totally not that great! So we bought a bottle of whiskey and chilled on our balcony.
An epic day. We had some breakfast before renting motorbikes and climbing gear, and set off for Butterfly Valley, the most popular mainland crag on Cat Ba Island. The roads through the island were very scenic and its 12 km to the valley. We decided to do an easy grade that proofed tough at 25 metres high, it was highly exposed and the highest we had climbed before. Great fun though, after 10 metres of rock you get to some crazy tree roots similar to that at Angkor Wat, which you climb like a monkey for a further 10 metres
Ate at another recommended place from the LP, Green Mango. We were all very impressed with the grub, had deserts and went back for breakfast the next morning before our lift off the island.
17/2/11 27 quid
18/2/11 16 quid
19/2/11 27 quid
Kayak Tour 30 quid
Climbing Gear Rental 18 quid
Bus/Boat/Bus to Hanoi 11 quid