Quarter Life Excursion

Cat Ba Island, Ho Long Bay – Ocean Landscapes and Beautiful Trails

Northern Vietnam in December is cold and rainy. Many of our days were spent indoors reading, drinking, eating, and talking. It's nice at times, but it's even nicer when you plan a rainy day on a travel day such that you never miss out on anything. This is how we got to Cat Ba, a calm outdoorsy island within Holong Bay. The bay is a central attraction of Thailand because it is filled with hundreds of karst island that rocket out of the ocean. The geography of the area is as interesting as it is beautiful.

During the first day in Cat Ba, we became instant regulars at the Dolphin Cafe and huge fans of any dish made with chili and lemongrass. We also started the Star Wars saga with hopes to catch the 7th movie three weeks later in Thailand (where they don't censor and edit their movies).

We also tried to rock climb in Cat Ba, but gear and guides are sold at western prices. I'm sure the experience would have been stellar, but we couldn't start dropping bills on this trip quite yet (still can't).

The next two days were filled with trekking. The first day we walked the whole town and found our way to the top the highest peak on the island for stellar views mixed with the usual shenanigans.

On the second day of trekking, we crossed the island from edge to edge. We spotted a collection of new birds, giant black tree squirrels, and a Taiwan habu pit viper. Danielle almost put her hand right next to it. It's was deadly and beautiful. The trail let out in a little village, and the only way back was by riding a little boat back to town that snakes through the karsts of Holong Bay.

I also got a haircut that day and let me say, that was leagues scarier than the snake encounter.

Thanks for reading!

Grant and Danielle

P.S. When in Vietnam, look for vegetables. When you're surrounded by all the food local food, you don't realize you've stopped eating proper vegetables. Not a huge deal, but a healthy regular body needs fiber, if you know what I mean. 😉


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