As we’ve been here nearly 2 months I think its safe to say we’ve sussed out the best things to do on the Island and heres the list people in no particular order… (If people have read ever post this might be a bit repetitive sorry)
1.Party at Oasis – here you will find the friendliest and trendiest vietnamese staff on the island, Chief, Twee and Moon (along with all the others) will make sure you feel right at home. Not forgetting the up to date music and free pool table. Plus with Happy hour beers coming in at 10p a go and some of the only draught beer available on the island you do not want to miss out on an Oasis party! If you are traveling on your own this is a good place to meet people and the staff will be sure to point you in th right direction for whatever you require!
2.WOODSTOCK – its been the centre of our lives since we landed here in Cat Ba and we have met some of the best people ever! There ain’t no party like a Woodstock party! We saw in Christmas and the New Year with these like minded nut cases and Woodstock has been the foundation for a lot of our memories of Cat Ba. Consider yourself a bit of a hippie or just fancy life in the slow lane for a bit Woodstock is the place for you, the staff will ensure your every need is looked after and you can sit back and enjoy the atmosphere and look out onto the stunning bay. Sleep in a hammock or treat yourself to luxury and enjoy one of the kitted out tents. Not to mention the amazing food including the family dinner which really makes everyone feel like part of the team. Woodstock has been a place for memories long may you rein on. One of our highlights has been seeing Christmas and the New Year in here and we’ll miss our Woodstock family as we continue on our adventure.
3.Deep Water Soloing – How brave are you? This is a must do for adrenaline junkies and climbing virgins alike. How high will climb and will you dare jump from the top. After spending our first month on the island working as climbing guides we spent a lot of time deep water soloing and loved it so head down to Cat Ba Climbing speak to Mr Zoom and book yourself in for a morning full of fun! Add in kayaking for a whole day to remember such a brilliant time and the best way to see all of the bay.
4.Go to the beach – Cat Co 1,2 and 3 all offer a little bit of paradise with views overlooking beautiful bays. Nice way to enjoy the weather if its good. Cat Co 2 is probably the best in our opinion but they are all equally beautiful.
5.Trek in the National park or anywhere else as we never actually made it to the national park whoops – But seriously its beautiful. joe did a trek up the highest mountain on the island and said it was breathtaking lots of beautiful scenery to enjoy. And we enjoyed many a trek to hidden valley which you can get information about at Cat Ba climbing.
6.Play games – We know it sounds lame we thought so to to begin with. But playing games is what everyone seems to do we surely felt like we were missing out so headed down to see what it was all about and the 4 of us were hooked. you really haven’t lived unless you’ve had a decent game of chicken invaders in your time and its a brilliant way to speak to local and feel apart of Vietnam.
7.Hire a bike – I feel like a real grown up talking about beautiful scenery but the best way to experience all of Cat Ba is to drive around thats how you find closed of roads and hidden streets and old war bunkers. Not to mention secret beaches just round from Woodstock. Get a bike and drive round, the islands not that big so you can see the majority of it by just driving around. If you can’t ride a motorbike or aren’t as confident as some of the road conditions are questionable hire a push bike there are even plenty of tandems to hire in town which look incredibly fun!
8.Visit the food market – The food market is eye opening. It starts with an array of fruit and veg and a few little food stalls. they have a lot of exotic fruits as well as your standard apples and pears. Next it opens out into a room full of butchery where there are various parts of various animals lacing the tables. Then it progresses into a fish market where as well as fish they have buckets and buckets of live crabs and squid, theres also a small live part at the back where you can choose your own chicken or duck. We enjoyed wondering around the market many a time when the weather was bad or we just fancied a bit of window shopping.
9. Yummy’s Restaurant!! – Newly opened and not far of the main street this is the place to go for the best local Vietnamese food with a few Western specials chucked in if you fancy it. Bun Cha to die for (like a hot pot of meats and veggies where you cook your own noodles with it bit by bit) Not to mention the Pad Thai.
10. Watch the sun go down at the Bungalow Hostel view point – Total perfection is you get a clear night and normally a good crowd of people floating around.
A bit of an update as lots happened already since Cat Ba..
With Cat Ba done and dusted its mixed emotions and we are headed to Hanoi, our trip down was stressful as we missed the first ferry and then it rained and then Joe got something stuck in his eye so we had to stop for half an hour. And then it appears I take after my pops when its comes to directions as we got slightly misplaced in the middle of town down a one way street. But we made it! This city has truly charmed me and I love it a little bit more each time we return. We spent 3 nights here after originally planning 2 and adding an extra one. We had big plans of visiting museums, some shopping and a trip to the circus. Sadly we never made it to any museums due to being lazy and preferring the pub and the circus was shut. None the less we had a fun 2 nights with Harris and Bobby roaming round the city and drinking in the pirates den. I did manage to squeeze in a bit of shopping too and treated myself to a nice North Fake coat and got my hair done.
We left Hanoi for the third time and headed south, to Ninh Binh, there are two different roads that you can take one is the famous Ho Chi Minh road that is classed as the scenic route and the way most tourists travel down south. We decided to bypass this for the first few days as the weather is rubbish and we wanted to make good time so headed for the less scenic duel carriage way if thats what you call it. All went well the first day and we made it to Ninh Binh in good time. We settled into our hotel and sorted out some washing and drying of clothes before heading out for a little look around and dinner. We had a really nice dinner and discussed plans to spend another day on the boring road tomorrow as then the weather should be greatly improved. We left the restaurant feeling very happy to be on the road again and traveling to new places once again. Then there was a minor problem. Motorbike won’t start. oh dear all mechanics were shut at this time so we pushed Hettie back to the hotel and decided we’d head to a mechanic first thing in the morning. Only problem being in the morning neither of us could get up. Haha, in the end we got Hettie fixed for £2 and it took the guy all of 15minutes if that, we’ve now booked another night and are going to spend the day sorting out photos and planning! We might visit a cave this afternoon i’ll do another post if we do! Speak soon…
New Years Resolution update:
21.01.2017 (Week 3 of challenge) Books Read:
- A dance with dragons 1: Dreams and dust – George R. R. Martin
- A dance with dragons 2: After the feast – George R. R. Martin
Status: ONE WEEK BEHIND