Paddling through the peaks

Sadly this is my last Vietnam post, having spent a measly 11 days in the country. I’ve loved everything about this country and although I was looking forward to China, I wish I had been able to spend more time here – currently it’s number one on my list of countries to come back to.

Although you might think so from the first glance at the pictures, I shockingly did not go to Halong Bay. I know, right? Who the hell comes to northern Vietnam and doesn’t visit Halong Bay? Which is of course exactly why I didn’t. This is Cat Ba island in Lan Ha Bay, just a little further south than Halong, so it still shares the same geographical features, but with fewer tourists, less rubbish and lower prices. Hurrah! Obviously since I didn’t go to both I can’t compare them, so it’s possible that beyond all the tourist industry muck Halong is more spectacular, but I have no complaints about how drop dead gorgeous this place is.

(I know my photos look a little miserable, but I promise it wasn’t quite as grey and depressing as it seems. The sun even came out for a bit! Right after my camera battery died. But you could always visit in a different month if you care about better weather)

I went kayaking with Asia Outdoors, which included transport and really tasty lunch. They also do climbing trips if you are that way inclined, which I am decidedly not. I joined up with Esther, another solo traveler, and despite getting very wet (rubbish paddling technique most likely, and a lot more noticeable when it’s cold), I wasn’t half as tired as I was in Laos. I like to think that means I’ve built up my arm muscles a little, but sadly it’s more likely that it was just calmer water. A girl can dream though.

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