Friday, February 08, 2008

Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island

We woke up bright and early fir breakfast, but of course were the last ones to the table. We were asked if we wanted to go kayaking for 2 hours or for 45 minutes. I was actually thinking we couldn't go at all with the kids and it was freezing, so to me kayaking wasn’t exactly desirable. We decided we may as well go for it since they had life jackets that would fit the kids’ snuggly.


Here we are getting ready to get on the kayak.

I have to say that our kayaking experience was quite good. Jonny and I each took a kid and we paddled around the bay. It is a bit tricky to get the hang of, but since it was just me rowing by myself it wasn't too difficult.

After our kayaking we met up with another boat and said good-bye to our boat mates. The other group of people we met up with were going to spend the night on Cat Ba Island as were we. We headed to Cat Ba National Park for an 8 km hike. Here are a few pictures of our hike.





An aquaculture farm. This particular farm was growing crops of fish and shrimp.


Gemma our little hiker girl!


Angus on the other hand preferred Jonny's shoulders.


We met a few friends along the way. We were most surprised by the heard of cows coming our way. Our guide had a stick with him and of course we were wondering why. We asked him what he was doing with it and he told us it was in case we met up with any cobras! Luckily for us we didn't!


Angus hitched a ride on the back of this man's bicycle.


While walking through the park we were trying to reach a little village to have a rest before traveling back to our boat. Here were the rice fields in the village. I have always wanted to see rice fields up close and personal.


Gemma and Angus checking out all of the sites including dogs, cats, ducks and chickens running all over the place.

We stopped for a bowl of noodles and a drink, but we were didn't think the kids could walk another 8 km back to the boat. We decided to break a major rule and put the kids on motorbikes.


Angus getting ready to go. Of course I went with him. I know, I know you are all judging my parenting. Honestly, I never thought I would be doing this myself, but when in Asia....


The motorbike ride was probably the kids' highlight of Halong Bay.


We headed to another island for lunch on the beach. The others on the boat with us were a Canadian couple and an American girl. They were all teachers in Seoul, South Korea. The funny thing was they teach with one of our friend's brother and sister-in-law. Talk about a small world! I swear all foreigners are interconnected in Asia!!!

After lunch we headed to the other side of Cat Ba Island where the hotels were located. It was the weirdest place I think I have ever been. I felt like I was in a Scooby Doo cartoon or in a really bad horror movie. The island seemed to be deserted as did our hotel. The hotel was nice, but didn't have working heaters and the weather in Vietnam is unseasonably cold.


Here is a photo of the hotel from the beach. It was nice, but I definitely think a little sun and warm weather would have done wonders for our stay.


The hotel had a little playground for the kids.


The view from the hotel of Halong Bay was gorgeous.


Here was another sea gypsy village on the other side of the hotel.

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