Cat Ba Island on Halong Bay

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Time to head back to the water. It has been some time since we did any strenous activity. We headed out to the fabled Ha Long Bay. Instead of sleeping on a boat like many people do, we went to Cat Ba island. Even though skinny hotels crowd this city, it was the cold off-season and there were only a handful of tourists in the city.

We went climbing. It was our first serious foray into scaling cliffs. Luckily, there is a great variety of terrain here and there are plenty of places where beginners can try their luck. It was great fun. Weronika did exceptionally well and climbed up the wall like Spiderman. Can you spot her in the wide photo of the gray cliff? She’s wearing a striped black and white shirt and a red helmet. For me it was considerably more effort but I was able to make it most of the way up most of the time. It’s a great thrill climbing up a vertical wall, especially since from the bottom it does not look like there are many places to put your feet and hands. On the downside, my forearms are still throbbing as I write this two days later.

The bay in which Cat Ba island sits is dotted with hundreds of little islands. In reality, these are limestone cliffs which emerge directly out of the water and tower 100 meters into the air. There are tons of them and it is a fantastic sight meandering between them on a boat. Even better is to get into a kayak and to paddle under the overhangs and into shallow lagoons. We rode around in our kayaks and enjoyed the Jurassic Park-like sights which surrounded us. It is a truly mesmerizing landscape.

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