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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nov 29-Dec 1: Halong Bay

From Hanoi, Michael & I took a bus to Hai Phong on the coast where we boarded a boat that would take us to Cat Ba Island. We sailed through the beautiful crags of Halong Bay, the quintessential image of Vietnam. I was awestruck.

Once on the island, we investigated things to do. We found Slo Pony, a local rock climbing guide company. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to book a climbing trip with them. It was way too cold to be thinking about dropping into the water after a route anyway. I bet it's awesome in the summer time - all those big tall rock formations jutting out of the water seem to scream out "CLIMB ME!"

Even though we weren't going climbing with them, the folks at Slo Pony gave us some useful advice on other things to do on the island. Since we really only had one full day for sight seeing, they suggested we rent a motorbike & drive around the island. We found a scooter for about $5 for the day including gas. Nice.

Neither of us had ever driven a motorbike, so at the toss of a coin, I ended up in front. After a few false starts, we were off! We spent all day driving around the island, stopping here & there to explore. It was so beautiful - Cat Ba Island is definitely one of the gems of Vietnam.

We both wished we had more time to spend here, but Michael was scheduled to fly back to the US on the 1st, so we reluctantly packed up & took the boat back to the mainland. Maybe I'll be back one day. If so, I'll bring my climbing gear.

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