The Weekly #015 – Exploring Vietnam

After spending 8 weeks in Thailand and most of that in the North, leaving for a new country is always exciting. But it does put you back out of your routine and comfort zone. New meals to try, new places to visit, new phrases and words to learn. It’s all different.

A good different.

Arriving in Hanoi is a wild place for any adventure to start.

The streets are some of the craziest streets I’ve ever driven around. Neon lights everywhere. Dogs. Cats. Chickens. More scooters than I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

But, after a few days that is the allure of Hanoi, and I think I kinda like it.

Heading for Ha Long Bay

Arriving in Vietnam I didn’t really have much of a plan other than a few waterfalls, a few hikes and a motorcycle loop I wanted to do.

Ha Long bay was kinda on the list, but kinda not on the list.

After a couple of days in Hanoi, settling in with some work to do. Continuing Monk Mode week 02 and just getting up to speed with Vietnam. It was time to leave the capital and head for the coast line.

On the list was an island called Cat Ba. The biggest in the archipelago that Ha Long Bay sits inside of and one of the less touristic places to visit Ha Long bay from.

A early start to catch the bus, a ferry and another bus and we were on Cat Ba.

The island is only small, being able to cover the entire island in less than an hour. But it was still home to some of the best beaches I’ve seen anywhere. That and the weird mountain formations that just seem to be layered all over Vietnam.

The ferry trip to Ha Long bay was only $25 and it came with transfers, lunch, 2x kayaking expeditions and the entire day spent on the water cruising around Ha Long bay.

Home to a floating village which has nearly 1000 people living on, the bay has a lot to offer for locals. Prime fishing location brings a lot of people here, so much so they set up farms on the water to help their businesses thrive.

Meandering in and out of the islets that are 1600 strong in Ha Long Bay, was an incredible experience. Each and every limestone islet was different in shape and size. Just layered for as far as the eye could see.

Some home to wonderful secluded beach coves, others home to dark and eerie cave systems.

I never really knew what to expect coming to Ha Long bay, but I can safely say it was better than I had imagined. If Vietnam is on your list, then make sure Ha Long bay is too!

Exploring Cat Ba Island

The biggest of the islands in Ha Long, Cat Ba has a lot to offer when it comes to hiking, trails, beaches and activities.

After renting a scooter, it made getting around to trailheads much easier and we could fly around the island visiting all the must see spots before leaving the next day.

First up was the rock trail around the three Cat Ba beaches. Each beach slightly different, all connected by a trail in the cliffside.

Next up was a couple of cave systems.

Hospital cave was one of the more interesting ones. Essentially a hospital built inside a huge cave to protect, and care for, wounded soldiers during the Vietnam war. Expecting it to be a few rooms, it was much more than that.

Trung Trang cave was next, and a good thing I’m not scared of small spaces. Perched high up in the side of one of the limestone islets, this cave was, in spots, narrow and barely as high as my knees! Interesting rock formations none the less and a worthy stop on Cat Ba island.

Heading to the Highest Point

I always like to get to a vantage point and see what we are working with when getting to a new location.

Cat Ba was no exception and after a short, but sweaty, hike through the jungle we made it to Dinh Ngu Lam. A small peak on Cat Ba island, that I imagine on a good day offers incredible panoramic views all over the island.

Monk Mode Week 2

Monk Mode is now in to week 2 and there’s been a few days where it has been difficult, but I have still kept the streak with all three Monk Mode tasks.

– Create a video everyday
– Write an article everyday
– Run 1 mile everyday

Creation not Consumption

Moving onto Cat Ba island was always going to be tricky with potential WiFi issues and I nearly had one night where a video wouldn’t upload. But other than that this has been OK and easy to continue the streak with.

Writing daily

I’ve really enjoyed writing again and having many topics in the diary to write about makes it easier to do without having to think of new ideas everyday.

This week I’ve written:

Huai Mae Sai Waterfall, Chiang Rai
Wachirathan Waterfall, Chiang Mai
Sirithan Waterfall, Chiang Mai
Mae Klang Waterfall, Chiang Mai
The Monk’s Trail hike, Chiang Mai
Moel Siabod Hike in Snowdonia

Blog Views: 319

One Mile a Day

Still going strong here and suprisingly starting to enjoy running now which is not really something I thought I would say.

Definitely easier when time, and my body, allows me to get up and get it done first thing. But we’re still on the run with a mile a day.

Running Totals: 15KM

The next adventure…

A few incredible days spent exploring outside of Hanoi, but it wasn’t long before we were back on the bus and heading back to Hanoi.

The next part of the adventure was unwritten, but as of now it’s partly written and it begins tomorrow.

I knew I wanted to hire a bike and do the now famed, Ha Giang loop. I just wasn’t sure of what else to do.

That said, after some decisions on whether to buy or to rent a bike, I’ve decided that I’ll be road tripping the entire length of Vietnam.

By motorbike!

A mere 1000 miles as the crow flies. This could be a stupid idea, or turn out to be an incredible one.

$180 later, one manual bike, one crazy learning curve driving the narrow streets of Hanoi and tomorrow she will be loaded up and heading for the North of Vietnam.

Here’s to a wild 3 weeks.

Explore Strong.


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2 Replies to “The Weekly #015 – Exploring Vietnam”

  1. Loving the content Lou, looking forward to reading the about the rest of your adventures 🙂

    1. Thanks Deb! Appreciate you!

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