Up early in the morning, we are off to Hà Long Bay.
Our hotel organised a bus and a speed boat to Cat Ba, it took about 5 hours in total. It was a bit stressful as an experience, I’m not so keen on being pushed on and that seems to be the practice here, drivers and guides just push you by your arm to move faster.
We had the most hilarious check in experience at our hotel. We arrive and a young guy called Nea made us sit down neatly at the table and he started his presentation. He begun straight away with, “I can see that your prices are quite high so I want to discount your price from booking.com”. I was like, “what?!” and we started laughing so hard, saying why would you even do that, just take our money, man 🙂
He wanted us to cancel our booking and pay him about 30% less directly, I said I don’t mind, if he makes more money that way, but for us it really makes no difference, we are talking about a few pounds here. The funny thing is, while he had a whole rehearsed presentation in English, he doesn’t actually speak the language, so when I tried to ask him things he would just go back to his speech. It was hilarious, like a scene from a sitcom. This went on for about 30 mins, showing us hand drawn maps, offering us places to eat local food, but when we asked what dish he would recommend, he said he only likes burgers and bbq :). He was pointing out places to go, like beaches and the Fort, I then asked if we could go tonight, and he said “No, they are closed now”, haha, why mention it in the first place, then
We will have so much fun here!
What we have realised quickly, though, is that this country is a bit dirty. Trash is everywhere and it smells real bad, Thailand and especially Laos was a hundred times cleaner compared to Vietnam.
The beach and the nature is beautiful, however, the floating trash in the sea and the habits of the drivers to throw all trash out of the window kind of spoils it a bit.
Today we are cruisin’!
A car picked us up from our hostel and dropped us off at the docks. The cruise was beautiful.
Nature is so gorgeous here, which makes us all the more sad to see how locals don’t take care of the environment and just throw their trash everywhere. I guess this is the price of having little to no education available here in Cat Ba, or it might just be a cultural thing.
It felt like it was all worth it, though just because of Hà Long Bay. Kayaking, swimming in these surroundings is an experience I will never forget.
We met a lot of cool dudes and dudettes, everyone with some funny stories to tell. We spoke a lot with Pavlos and Anais, a Cypriot and a French lady, they are serious travellers, have been at it for years now! They gave us a lot of tips about Bali and Cambodia.
Two French guys got a kayak with a hole in it, which has eventually sank under them! The locals wanted them to pay 2 million dongs, about £60,it was an interesting situation. They ended up paying 700k, we were chatting with them agreeing that you sadly have to pay something, even though in Europe this would never happen.
We went out for the evening, in front of the restaurants there is always a big plastic tub with water in, we had no idea why, but we figured it out it is there for the locals to wash their feet before coming in. You can imagine how that water looks like after a couple of hours.
Our next stop was Oasis Bar in Cat Ba, cheap and has some good tunes playing in the background, it was a lot of fun but we were very tired. From 10pm daily there is free beer for 30 mins and free balloon, oh yes, laughing gas is all OK here, costs 25k, less than a pound.