Off to Cat Ba Island. It’s Vietnam’s largest island in Ha Long Bay. Apparently it’s a sleepy coastal town…except in July/August when all the Vietnamese go on holidays! I’ll give it this – not as crazy as Hanoi.
The travel tour operators are shonky and what you think you’re getting doesn’t come close to reality. Our bus to transfer us to the boat picked us up 45 minutes late, then once on the boat which is an old Chinese junk you’re stuck moving to all he touristy places. However, it was good to float around the amazing limestone mountains that jut out of the bay and visit the caves. And there are so many of them. Quite majestic.
We ended up arriving into Cat Ba Island harbor after 7pm but we were expecting 4pm. We had told the kids we’d find a beach and have a swim but due to tour operators making money and fitting in with others that didn’t happen. At least I got to catch up on my journal writing. You can get a little crazy with the amount of travel time on boats, buses, taxis you do so it was a great opportunity to meet some young backpackers from London and Texas and enjoy a beer on the bus journey to Cat Ba Town.
Cat Ba Island had a beach! The kids were delighted. And there were waves. Not the white sandy beaches of southern Vietnam but it was a beach and I did have beach umbrellas and ice creams and a bar plus big speakers paying music in the afternoon. We owned the beach for the early part of the day, but when the heat of the day had gone the masses of vacationing Vietnamese flowed onto the beach and into the water…that’s when we left!
The beach was deserted when we arrived at midday.
But at 4pm this is what it looked like.
Had a great time lying on our wooden beach chairs that cost 50,000 each and enjoying beers, Coke and ice cream. Beers 25,000 ($1.25)!
A video of the whole beach experience. Overall a great day at the beach and we enjoyed some seafood for dinner, but next time I’d come in the quiet season when it’s not so hectic.