Friday, April 8, 2011

Vietnam-Cat Ba Island-Ha Long Bay (Day 61)

Time to leave Cat Ba Island to catch our 8 am flight to Beijing the next day. 

A few days earlier Urs and Max had left via a tour of Ha Long Bay to the north and then caught the ride to Hanoi from Ha Long City.  The night before we booked the tour ($21 each) and transport to Hanoi ($5 each) with the owner of our guesthouse. 
We grabbed dinner at our favorite restaurant Bamboo.  After breakfast we got a nice surprise that Tony had decided to join us and head out on the tour with us and to Hanoi.
Our boat headed off into the harbor.
A look back at Cat Ba Town
Our first stop on the tour was “monkey beach” there were a few monkey’s here but nothing like Thailand.
There was a nice little hike here to a viewpoint.
We also saw this jellyfish about the size of a beach ball.
Views of Ha Long Bay.  It is a pretty amazing place.
The trip was long so Anja started working some on the boat.
A boat similar to our passing by.
Before our cave tour they served us lunch as we were joining a different boat after the cave.
We got a tour of Surprise Cave.  From the bay it only looked like a small cave but inside it was huge with a few large chambers.
The cave was lite up in many different colors and was a nice walk around.
The view down to the bay from the mouth of the cave.
We transferred onto another boat for the trip back.  It was more of a Vietnamese tourist boat and was smaller with more people on it. 
Anja setup to work again so I went and sat on the deck to take in the views.  While up there this little boy was very interested in me and kept saying “hello” to me until his mother put him on my lap.  He was a handful and the rest of the ride she try to get him on my lap and out of her hands as much as she could.
Things had gone pretty well to this point and we found ourselves in Ha Long City at 3:30 pm but our ride was not due until 5:30 pm.  We checked around but failed to find a good option to get back to Hanoi so ended up waiting around.  Then it turned out our ride had a problem and wasn’t making it.  Luckily, Tony was there to help us as he had a cell phone and spoke a little Vietnamese. 
We got a different ride at 6 pm on a packed tour mini bus.  Things were rushed from the moment we saw them and over the 3 hour ride we figured out two of the tour members had a train to catch that evening and were rushing the guide and constantly complaining to him that they were running late.  The guide was already rushing the group and the mini-bus was driving crazy.  We got to the Old Quarter of  Hanoi and were than happy to get tossed off the bus and out of this situation.  We caught a cab to the hotel.
Sadly we had missed getting dinner with a climber friend from LA Lihn as it was 10 pm and we were exhausted and had a early flight the next morning.
We were happy to wrap up this day.

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