On the way to Hanoi
35 hours! That’s how long it has taken to get from Vang Vieng in Laos to Hanoi in Vietnam on a single bus journey. I
wouldn’t say the trip was bad, i’ve certainly had worse but it definitely wasn’t pleasant. The bus was quite nice with decent reclining seat/beds, but it was very overcrowded. People were occupying all available space, even the aisles. Once everyone was in their place, they were staying there until the driver decided to stop for a beak. It was just so long, being on a bus for that length of time is exhausting. But, it was nice to finally get to Hanoi and meet up with Anna who I hadn’t seen in quite a while.
We explored some of the nearby sites which included the temple of literature and the military museum and then had our first taste of Bia Hoi; a traditional and very cheap type of beer that is made fresh everyday and sold in really dodgy little bars and shops. It is actually really nice, and for the price (about 18p a glass) you really can’t beat it
We didn’t really spend that much time in Hanoi before making our way to Catba Island, but we only had a 30 day visa for Vietnam and wanted to make the most of it and get a move on. Catba Island isn’t too far from Hanoi and when we arrived we searched for somewhere to stay. We found a great little hotel right next to the bay and with a great view. It was on the fifth floor which really gave my legs a good workout carrying my very heavy backpack.
Catba Island has some really great locations of interest which really aren’t very touristy. Cannon Fort and Hospital cave for example. We had these places practicallyÂ to ourselves.
The Unesco heritage site of Halong Bay is what brings most of the visitors to this part of Vietnam. This was definitely on my todo list so Anna and I took a boat tour out into the bay.
As we sailed out from Catba Island and into the maze of limestone islands, Small floating fishing communities began to appear.