A short flight from Hong Kong landed me in Hanoi, the first destination in my Vietnam adventure. I arrived late at night and had already arranged to meet a friend I had previously met in China so headed straight for a night club as soon as I had landed and had thrown my bag into a hostel. The club was awesome and the drinks were cheap, enough said. The next couple of days were spent just exploring Hanoi, eating copious amounts of Vietnamese food (so good!) and drinking plenty of cheap beer. There wasn’t actually a great deal to see or do to be honest and the weather wasn’t great either, but still, the city had a great buzz to it.
We then moved on to Halong Bay City where we stayed the night before catching a ferry across the bay to Cat Ba Island. The ferry ride was spectacular, the surrounding scenery was absolutely stunning. Cat Ba was such a gorgeous island with plenty of beaches and national parks as well as great bars and restaurants. We decided to do a boat trip one day around Halong Bay which included kayaking through caves, snorkelling, visiting Monkey Island and seeing the floating fishing village. It was a really great day, weather was perfect and met such a good group of people who we then went out for dinner with and drinking afterwards.
The last day on Cat Ba was spent nursing a giant hangover on one of the beaches before going for an amazing meal on a floating restaurant in the middle of the sea. The fish was all still alive in nets at the back of the restaurant and you picked out whatever you wanted. Between four of us we had a 1.5kg fish, 2 crabs, scallops, prawns, fried rice and noodles and 8 beers all for around £10 each, so cheap for such an amazing meal!
From Cat Ba we took the bus to a city called Ninh Binh, a pretty gross big city which seemed to lack any character. We only spent the night there in which we tried out the local speciality of goat and crispy rice crackerjack type thing. The next day we explored nearby Tam Còc where we hired scooters, took a rowing boat ride, and climbed a sacred mountain to watch the sunset all before jumping on an overnight bus down to Huè in central Vietnam.