who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

cat ba and monkey island

waking up on a boat in a still bay isn't a half-bad way to start your day.

it was an early start as we cruised towards cat ba island. approximately 140 km2, this is the largest of halong bay's islands and is entirely protected as a national park.

we docked in their small port and duly set off on a "small" trek up the 800m high summit of the island.  through jungle vine and leafy carpets we trudged - as our (self-named) guide "monkey man" swung from tree-to-tree fanning the sweaty troops.

while many complained, and despite the fact that my dodgy knee had a run-in with the mountain side, both of us absolutely loved the hike.  it was unbearably hot, save the relief we found in the shade of the jungle's canopy.  but once you've spent a few days in vietnam, you come to realise that it will always be unbearably hot - and to constantly verbalise this, becomes quite pointless.  so we sucked it up, sweated 'til it literally ran down out legs in heavy streams, and enjoyed the (somewhat challenging) climb up to the highest point in the bay.

1,5 hrs later we reached the summit - and surrounding us for as far as the eye could see was a soft wavy blanket of the greenest jungle canopies i've ever seen.  it's what i imagine hilton must look like on the two days of the year when there's no mist.

in the hazy distance, halong bay's blue waters were bordered by more jungle-covered islets.  it was almost too picturesque to photograph - as it smacked of the most stereotypical, picture-postcard, cheesy moments in paradise. of course, despite this, we snapped away and took plenty of photographs to make everyone back home jealous.

exhausted and limping (thank's to one times gammy knee), we returned to the base, back onto the boat and then headed off for monkey island - our home for the night.

we only found two booking places in the whole of hanoi that were offering a night's stay on this totally private beach, and if anyone is going to do the halong bay trip - take my advice:  do not do this tour unless you go to this island.

again - do not do halong bay unless you go to monkey island:

well ..unless you're not into beautifully rustic, wooden bungalows scattered on the beach amongst palm trees and sun loungers.
i mean, if you'd rather not have cocktails in the sea as the floating bar paddled its way over to refill your mojito, then obviously don't even think about it.
and if a massive sea-food barbeque on the beach with the sun setting across your private bay isn't your vibe ...
then seriously don't take my advice.


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