Tossing up between various prearranged tours on Halong Bay we weren’t sure the best way to explore the magnificent limestone structures but one thing was certain, we were keen. After a hot tip from our friend, we decided on basing on an island just south of the main Halong Bay area, Cat Ba Island. Simple enough to get to and with amazing beach views promised, the group was down.  

After telling fellow travelers of our plans, we were accompanied by three more new friends we met at Hanoi Backpackers, Jimmy, James and “G”, making it a decent sized crew ready for partying. Unfortunately as we left one of our comrades had fallen to the dreaded pink eye. Tensions were high and use of alcohol solution even higher.


Two buses, a ferry and another bus ride later  we had arrived. Cat Ba island is beautiful, hot as with the rest of Vietnam but with several water options to cool down. The main town stretches across a beautiful harbour and about ten minutes walk there are two beautiful beaches to choose from. Before exploring we washed the disgusting filth of travelling off and headed out for some food. Mid meal the worst thing happened, Kat got a sore eye and all the familiar gunky feeling. A few hours later and it was going down hill.

The next few days were a mess and a blur with warm compresses, ice compresses, eye drops, saline, cleaning, wiping and general tears and sooking. After finally taking a turn for the better, we’re sad to report that the better half, Andrew, came crashing down with the sight claiming infection. Three days of caring non stop for Kat and he got the sweet reward of three days in bed with the same business, minus the tears and erhm..the sooking. Lucky for us we were staying at the Cat Ba Palace Hotel, a steal for $17 considering the size of the rooms, the cleanliness of the daily housekeeping, the good sized shower and of course the TV with all the good channels, it proved a great spot to rest and die slowy.


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