CAMPING IN CAT BA ISLAND WITH THE “CAVEMAN”
IMHO, we have a possible winner here, although it requires some refinement. This trip is for serious Ecotourists and Outdoors People. Commonplace mainstream tourists can go on the Halong Boats – that’s what they deserve for being normal mainstream tourists. “Halong Bay from Cat Ba” is for real sea kayakers and Ecotourists.
TRIP LENGTH is not a consideration on this report. The trip can be anywhere from four days to two weeks.
We were reached to Cat Ba island via Hai Phong sea habour. Haiphong is a long way from Hanoi, and as we discovered, traffic jams can be “interesting”.
Early morning the next day it’s an hour or two to the fast boat to Cat Ba and the bungalow resort. Cuong and Binh did a great transition from te resort check-in to the camping site.
RESORT was a pleasant surprise. The food was “tourist” and can do with a special charter upgrade, but the resort itself was very A simple “Hot” and “Cold” would not be as frustrating. Staff are very friendly and kayak training can be performed at the beach.
CAMPING was better than expected except for the mosquitoes – a simple cure is to bring our own mosquito juice. The rain was hard and the tent leaked, but extra dry bags settle that problem. The food could be much better, but beach camping is a start for Vietnam. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised.
SUPPORT BOATS – We all liked the Cat Ba boats far better than the Halong boats – so what if they are not air con or hot showers (hot water is easy to provide). these boats are smaller, seem faster, have more character and more fun. They did have “staterooms” but as usual in the Bay the food sucks. I’ve never had a meal in Halong even close to our food in Phuket but that is easily remedied.
PROGRAM: As usual Cuong ran a spectacular program.
Day Two was a nice paddle to the campsite, perhaps a bit long for the guests but probably just right.
Day Three was packed with action on three different islands.
Day Four was a circumnavigation of Dao Dau Be – couldn’t be better and the guests were exhausted.
The beauty of this trip is it opens up the outer islands all the way to Medusa. Not only does this open up a 7-2-10 day trip circumnavigating the Bay all the way to Hon Gai, a long-range expedition on the Trip Selector guides gives us legitimacy as the true professionals in Halong bay
By: John “Caveman” Gray