Spending the night in Cat Ba Town, the main town on the islands of Halong Bay. Cat Ba is also a vietnamese national park covering a large part of the islands of Halong Bay and we spent the day frolicking in the waters of the bay and hiking those crazy peaks.
After one night at sea, we are spending tonight in Cat Ba. This is a Saturday night at the peak of the Vietnamese high season. The town is packed with families and groups of twentysomething on holidays but although we stand out quite a bit, the tourism industry is clearly focused on the vietnamese tourists and hardly anyone approached us to offer us anything.
As we did in Sapa, we asked our guide not for a recommendation but for where he eats when he goes out in town. He pointed at a barge in the harbour, Xuan Hong, which we drove past on the way to the hotel. Again, it was way out of the tourist area and our hotel’s staff seemed a bit uncomfortable with the fact that we wanted to go there. After asking twice, a younger staff member was nice enough to write down for us “Please take us to Ben Beo for 10,000 dongs per person. Thank you.” and showed us where to find some men who would drive us.
This is how we ended up on separate motorbikes, racing through the hills of Halong Bay to eat dinner on a floating restaurant, surrounded by dozens of vodka pounding, screaming Vietnameses. The grilled whole fish with lemon and the garlic greens where amazing and so was the motorcycle ride back especially since that time around, we had helmets on.
Xuan Hong, Ben Beo (Harbour), Cat Ba, Halong Bay, Vietnam.