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One Night in Cat Ba Island – Halong Bay

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I had just spent the night on a dirty Halong Bay Junk and decided to wake up at 5 am so that I could watch the sunrise plus I really didn’t sleep that easy since it was incredibly hot and also with the knowledge that I was also bunking up on the Junk with lots cockroaches and rats.

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I went up to the top deck, I was the first one up but to be quite honest it wasn’t the best sunrise due to the fact that it was pretty cloudy and overcast. I went back to bed at about 7 am and slept until 9 am and missed the breakfast, oh well that was no real loss since the food served up on the Junk was crap anyway.

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We arrived at Cat Ba Island and I made sure that I stuck with the other backpackers that I had become friendly with – Brian, Alex and Manu. We all headed off for a planned trek up one of Cat Ba Islands biggest mountains (which ended up being one of the best parts of the organized activities that the Halong Bay tour operators had planned for us).

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On our arrival at the summit of the mountain we came across a really big lookout tower which we immediately began to climb. Half way up the tower most of us started getting the jitters due to it’s height and the fact that the tower seem to have a fair bit of sway about it caused by the strong mountainous winds.

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However, once we reached the top of the lookout tower we were graced by such an incredible view of the island it was absolutely breath taking. Possibly just as breath taking was the fact that the tower seemed like it was going to topple over at any minute, we were just a little skeptical since the metal tower was heavily rusted, the wooden platform at the top had holes and gaps in the planks straining to support our weight and the winds were out of control.

We got our pictures and quickly descended from the tower thanking our lucky stars once we got down that today was not going to be the day that this magnificent tower decided to give way. It was a tough mountain climb, rugged and steep, and the humidity was at an all time high as it looked like we had all just been swimming – I must have dropped kilos in my own sweat.

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After our mountain trek we were transported to the central part of the island where our hotel was overlooking the bay filled with local fishing boats. It was a pretty sight and even prettier at night with all the lights lit up along the foreshores of the bay. We were told by the tour operators to go and check out the beaches, apparently they are magnificent.

I left the other boys and went for a solo stroll about 1 Km from the hotel to check out these beaches that I had heard so much about. I was expecting beautiful white sandy beaches with crystal clear blue waters surrounded by over hanging coconut palm trees. Instead I was greeted with a mixture of dirt and rough sand and the odd bits of rubbish drifting on top of the water. To top it all off I sat down on one of the deck chair, which looked like they were for public use, and some little local came and told me that I had to pay 30,000 dong to sit on it and he was quite confronting and rude. He had to be kidding, with hardly anyone at the beach except for myself and another couple somewhere down the beach, he wanted me to pay to take a seat at this most disappointing beach. I politely packed up my belongings and moved on.

I jumped in the water for a quick dip with the hope that I wouldn’t obtain some sort of ear infection, then made my way back to the hotel for an afternoon snooze. Ahhhh my favourite.

I came to at around to at around 5:30 pm and went for a wander around the touristy Cat Ba Island glitter strip. The most interesting thing that I came across were some very strange foods such as a bucket full of scorpions, giant geckos and some poor birds trapped in an undersized cage.

But the one strange food that I did have to try was the cooked taranchular spiders, a very strange delicacy with quite a strong hint of barbequed garlic, not something I was like to dine on everyday but nevertheless an interesting experience.

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I dropped into an Internet cafe to check up on some emails and notice that the cafe was filled with young kids either watching porn or playing World of Warcraft, it was really bizarre, but pretty dam funny.

I stopped by a little local Restaraunt to have some dinner and got chatting to a couple of Aussie girls, Lauren and Amelia, and another Spanish fellow. As it turned out they had also made friends with Brian, Alex and Manu. Small world on the backpackers trail. So we all got together at a bar called the “Blue Note” directly next door to my hotel for happy hour which turned into a drunken fueled night of dancing, mingling with locals and lots and lots of laughs.

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I managed to stumble out of the bar and find some street food to satisfy my appetite and then managed to make it back to the hotel at about 3 am. I tip toed through reception where there were staff sleeping and then climbed about 8 flights of stairs to my hotel door. However in my cyclonic drunken state I broke the hotel key somehow so I then had to make my way down to reception when I ended up waking about for of the sleeping staff members up. Luckily they had a back up key which I grabbed and went back to try and get in but it was just my luck that the key didn’t fit. Off I went again to wake up the staff and get this matter sorted out. One of the guys grabbed a bunch of keys and came up with me to let me into my room. I felt really bad for causing such a late night disturbance and waking all the staff members up. The silly things that go on when your blind drunk in a foreign land.

I tipped the guy 5,000 dong for his troubles and I was just so happy to be able to collapse in a drunken heap into a bed. It was probably about 4am before I finally slipped off to sleep and I had to be up raring to go at 8 am with the tour van. I am recall thinking how bad of a hangover I was going to have.

All in all great night with great backpackers and some silly adventures.

 

Josh Boorman

Editor-in-chief

Backpacking Addictz

admin@backpackingaddictz.com

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Joshua Boorman

Joshua Boorman

Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
Joshua Boorman
About The Author

Joshua Boorman

Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.

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