Isabel says “Let’s Travel”

What she really means is, “let’s fly somewhere pretty so we can hike our butts off”. I keep letting myself be fooled but that’s ok because the views and exercise we always do are worth it. The Ha Long Bay excursions were no different.

Kayaking in the Bay

The first day our guide took us out on a kayaking tour in between the limestone islands. We saw some fisherman and because of low tide went in to a lagoon nestled in the middle of one of the formations.

By the end of it our arms were tired and we couldn’t wait for dinner. We kayaked for about 2.5 hours and had to kayak back to the boat in the dark. The water also varies wildly in temperature from almost too warm to just right, but never cold!

Stairs, Why did it have to be stairs?

The next morning of our cruise we were taken to Cat Ba island via water taxi and then a short bus ride to the middle of the national park. The island itself is about 285 sq/km with the majority of it being protected in the park. We got to poke around in the visitor center museum to learn about the plants, animals, and insects that inhabit the island before setting off.

Then a short 1.4km up Đỉnh Ngự Lâm. Don’t let the word short fool you, the elevation gain was 508 feet with at least half being stairs. We suffered in our little group but there’s no better way to bond than a sweaty hike. The view was incredible and chatting with our fellow travelers made the sufferings up and down far more bearable. After the hike we went to one of the beaches to relax with a beer.

Bicycling through the Village

Our last morning we took a quick little excursion back to Cat Ba island for a bike ride. We got dropped off at Bến tàu Việt Hải and then biked into the valley and stopped at Viet Hai Village. The water buffalo decided to cross the path right in front of Isabel, it was almost a hit and run!

Isabel got her feet cleaned by the local fish, I tried but am far too ticklish. Our guide Dem also gave everyone a shot of some homemade rice wine, it made the ride back to the start a little more pleasant.

The exercise and the views never seem to stop, hopefully the rest of the trip is a little more peaceful. Otherwise I will have flown my books over here for nothing!!


  1. Yikes, and I thought that cruise was supposed to be restful.
    But what great adventures. I never imagined there were so many different activity choices.
    Absolutely amazing pictures! Thanks for taking the time to share with us!

  2. It wouldn’t be a trip with Isabel without many hard hikes 😉

  3. The blog is lovely, vicarious joy for us all. The bike Samuel had seems a little rickety 🙂 It all looks so lovely especially the kayaking. Being on the water amongst those islands makes for a memorable trip.

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