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Cat Ba Island

Jemima Durnford
We had spent 9 days in Hanoi working out what to do and searching for bikes and it felt good knowing we were moving on and ready for our road trip adventure. We headed to our first destination, Cat Ba island in Halong Bay. We got a little lost trying to leave Hanoi but were soon on the right track. Luckily Liam had taken his iPhone with him and although it was just useful as a tablet, even though we had no data we were able to use the locator map for directions. It was a straight and easy road to follow and we headed to Haiphong which we'd heard is the best place to get a ferry to the island. As we rode along, everyone waved and smiled and it was so friendly. Farmers were drying grass our on the tarmac.
Muthu Venkatesh
The next day morning I visited Cannon fort. Cannon fort is about 5 miles from town center and is a good place for a morning hike. From the top of Canon fort you will get a nice panoramic view of both Halong Bay and Cat Ba island. The tunnels and gun emplacements here were first installed by the Japanese in WWII, but were also utilised by the French and Vietnamese during subsequent conflicts. If you feel lazy then can rent a bike and visit both Cannon fort and Cat Ba national park which is located at the center of the Island.
Took a bus from Hanoi to Cat ba Island and from there we did a day long boat cruise trip across Halong Bay. First time I had the experience of Kayaking in between the beautiful limestone rock pillars and green emerald water. The next thing was jumping from boat cruise and swim to one of the island. I already asked my fellow travellers to save me if I drown. Yeah I am not very good at swimming but the adrenaline inside me was at highest level. So I jumped from the boat cruise and made it to the nearby island. But while coming back to cruise I started loosing breath and strength so I called my friend David who instantly came and took me to the boat cruise. Yes he saved my life that day. When I thanked him then he said that’s what friends are for. So we were a group of six and all of us were solo travellers and we decided to rent motorbike next day to explore the Cat ba island. But the two girls Erin and Dasha were trying motobike for the first time and only thing came in my mind God save us. But by the evening it was all cool. There is an hour long hiking trail to the highest point on the Island inside Cat ba National Park from where one can witness breathtaking views of the whole Island.
tejaswini pagadala
From Hanoi, we were put on a ferry to the Cat Ba Island which lies in the Lan Ha Bay. From there, another bus picked us up from the island and dropped us off at our hotel or (you can get off in Cat Ba Town).
Later in the evening we reached Catba Island. We all stayed at different hotels. After resting for some time, we went for an evening stroll, visited the local market and said our final good buy to Jenice and May. It was so wonderful meeting them and hope we meet them again very soon. (In fact we did plan to meet May on our visit to Sanfransisco, she invited us for dinner also, but things didn't work and we couldn't meet.)Next day morning we left for Hanoi with a stopover at an island for lunch with around 20 strangers.