I decided to jump ship. My trip to Halong Bay was only for 2 nights and I missed being near the sea after 8 weeks of travelling inland. I decided to stay on Cat Ba Island for an extra couple of nights and go exploring.
I had thought that I would go hiking and kayaking and be kept very busy. In the end I decided that I wanted to relax, read, and swim and the Island was perfect for that.
I’d been told that the best views of the island were from Fort Cannon so I slipped on my new “North Face” shoes I’d bought in Sapa and headed up. And up. And up! It was a steep climb to get to the top but the views were worth it.
The Fort also had underground tunnels and gun emplacements to explore. They were first installed by the Japanese in WWII and later used by the French and Vietnamese in subsequent conflicts.
After such a hot and sweaty climb I needed a swim to recover. I had 3 beaches within walking distance of Cat Ba Town to choose from. They were all white sand beaches, simply called Cat Co1, Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 3.
I was initially disappointed to see that the beach had been taken over by the resort and you needed to pay for a sun lounger. Very unKiwi like! That disappointment passed quickly and I was grateful to have some shade and the luxury of somewhere comfortable to lie. I read an entire book that day.
The next couple of days passed in a similar way. Find a beach. Reading, interlaced with swimming. Eating at the wonderful restaurants; by candlelight sometimes as the power was out. Ice-creams. Sleeping in and sand.
My last day was an early start as I rejoined my tour company and got to know a whole new set of travelers as we headed back through beautiful Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay.