Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Island

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, June 23, 2005

We set off to Ha Long Bay on Thursday morning on a nice Air Conditioned bus (a very welcome rarity in this place) with our group, 13 of us. After a fab lunch in some hotel somewhere we boarded our boat and set out into the bay. Its a stunning place, looks like Yangshou (which you may have read about already) except its in the sea.

The boat was nice, everyone had thier own rooms with bathroom and showers. We sailed around some of the islands and stopped for some swimming in some secluded bays and coves. Really wonderful stuff. At one stage we came to this huge island that looked like any other but then they put us into a little bamboo boat and rowed into a little cave that was at the base and went through the rock for about 50 metres and came out on the other side in this enclosed lake with beautiful mountains all around, its the only way into it and was apparently only discovered recently (discovered meaning that some westerner probably stumbled across it after it was known by the locals for thousands of years).

We stayed the night in a lovely cove on the boat and went night swimming, which is supposed to light up the water with phospherescence but didn't - the plankton mustn't have been in the mood. It was still nice though with the full moon rising from behind the islands.

The next day we set off for Cat Ba island, a resort island and the biggest one in the bay (they say its a bay but its not really - its about 3000 spooky looking islands scattered in the sea) checked into a nice hotel and set off again on the boat to Monkey Island, an island with - you guessed it - monkeys!!! But the monkeys are all spoiled by tourists feeding them rubbish. I've attached a photo of one of them eating an ice cream!! Someone told us that the Monkeys were brought there from the mainland about 10 years ago as a tourist attraction.

Anyway, more swimming, eating, canoeing and secluded beaches came later then we came back to Hanoi the next day on the boat. All very nice really....
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