We temporarily said goodbye to Royal Palace Cruise as we stepped on a small boat to fetch us to a much bigger boat to bring us to the bungalow on Cat Ba Island. After the tour at Hang Sung Sot cave, we just freshened up a little and we were off to another adventure. On that quite bigger boat, two groups from two different cruises came together, a total of 20 tourists, to stay on an island far from the city and who were all thrilled to uncover the beauty of the mysterious Cat Ba Island.
The more than two-hour boat ride to Cat Ba Island had offered a unique experience for we’ve known the reach of the beautiful Halong. The limestones that started from the outskirt of Halong seemed endless that made the journey a tour on itself. The open upper deck of the boat was the perfect spot to marvel on the beauty of nature that was freely presented right in front of us. Floating villages popped up every now and then that offered a glimpse of a rich maritime life of the area.
At almost one in the afternoon, we arrived at the resort we will be staying for the night and headed straight to the dining area for we were all hungry, luckily, the food was immediately served. While eating, we got to know each other and we tried, though awkwardly at first, to have a casual conversation. We (my wife and I) met a young couple from Canada, a couple from Germany, a British mother-daughter tandem, another British buddies – who will be traveling Asia for months, another young couple from London, and the rest were all from USA. After the satisfying lunch, we were informed that our afternoon can be spent however we wanted it.
The resort was huge and very peaceful. This is the kind of place that is perfect for relaxation and for those who wanted to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city The bungalow was far from hotel accommodation but it sure was decent. In fact, I actually preferred it over tens of hotels I’ve stayed in, primarily because it was close to nature.
After a little rest, we decided to do kayaking and explore nearby islands. We had practice a day before, so we were more familiar in maneuvering. If the water was clear, it would have been perfect. There were small islands on some secluded area nearby which was perhaps unexplored, yet. There was also another island that from the look of it, a new resort is soon to operate. There must have been some other resorts on the area because we’ve seen some tourists kayaking that didn’t come from our group, but we failed to see where the other resorts were. After marveling the surrounding, we went for a swim, played beach volleyball, billiards, and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach front with beers on our hand and a paradise on our sight. The place was simply breathtaking.
Cat Ba Island is the largest island on the bay and there are lots of places to explore and activities to do, but, we chose to stay on the resort and just promised to be back. What we were seeing and experiencing were enough for the moment.
The smell of grilled sea food and pork was inviting and was perfect for the island life. The food was delish and was more than enough for the rest of us. Sunburnt, puffy eyes, and tiredness were evident from all of us, but no one minded. The experience on itself was a reward. Wifi is available but living away from social media even for a week was refreshing. After all, we grew up without those.
We had a very good night sleep and after breakfast we said adieu to the island that captivated and fulfilled our wanderlust. The trip back to the cruise in Halong was quiet faster, the captain must have sped up the engine, either that or we were just too busy with the beauty we were witnessing that the time flew so fast. We were brought back to our cruise at around ten in the morning and we have one activity left to do before we travel back to Hanoi.
Cooking Class. Our final activity for this tour was to learn how to make a fresh spring roll. It was actually very easy and very fast to do. Spring roll is synonymous to Vietnam that you can have it anywhere and yet I still couldn’t get enough of it, whether fresh or fried. After the class was an early buffet lunch, and as they say” save the best for last,” and they did just that.
Our trip to Halong had concluded and we brought with us the memories of good and delicious food, the beautiful limestone karst that will forever be etched on our minds, the serenity of the bay, the good people we’ve met, the quiet time we had, and the beauty that is Halong Bay. We love you Halong!
For the complete account of our Halong Bay Chronicles, visit: The Beauty that is Halong Bay