I took this photo while flying past this canal in the back of a water taxi.
I’ve mentioned before that when we visited Ha Long Bay we actually stayed on Cat Ba island and explored the surrounding area by kayak. There was all sorts of activity on the water from small fishing boats to floating villages.
I think I actually took this photo from the tour boat that transported us to the island, but I’m not sure.
This picture is a little blurry but I like it anyway. On my second day in Vietnam we went on a boat tour of the Mekong Delta. We had to get up early so we could make it in time to see the floating markets in action. Despite out early departure the river was already buzzing with activity. We weren’t far into our journey when we came across this man checking his fishing nets.
I was struggling to figure out where to go on vacation after a weekend in London when I saw a photo of this little island town called Burano, near Venice. I decided I had to go there to see it for myself. So, I booked a trip to Venice, once there I had to figure out how to get there. The journey is faaaaaar longer than Google had informed me. I’ll tell you more about it in another post.
Before I was able to take this photo, my friend Shannon and I, following a decision to rent a kayak, had navigated through rough waters and squeezed ourselves through a narrow gap in the rocks to find safe harbor. Following that drama, we got to glide past the floating villages that surround Cat Ba Island.
We came across this fisherman towards the end of our trip and I asked if I could take a photo. He was kind enough to slow down as he pulled his nets to pose!
The drive to this spot, just outside of Cassis, was pretty difficult. The roads were really tight and I was adjusting to driving a manual transmission again for the first time in a few years. At one point, I was driving up a steep hill and a car came round the corner causing me to stall the car. The problem was I also rolled back about 2 yards. I have no idea how I avoided hitting the car behind me.
This is a calanque. It is a narrow-steep walled inlet carved into the limestone rock. When we got there, I had no idea it was going to be full of sailboats like this!
Watching this sunset from this spot was not part of the agenda. While still in Hanoi, we had booked a ferry/bus combo from Ha Long Bay out to Cat Ba island. We had decided to bi-pass Ha Long Bay for the less trafficked but similar Cat Ba island.
I’m normally pretty good at avoiding getting ripped off when travelling, but this time we fell into a bit of a trap. We were promised a direct boat trip to the island, as we wanted to get there and be able to explore at our own pace. Instead, after getting to the port we discovered that we were being bundled onto a tour boat, which made numerous stops. The hour long trip was going to take us a whopping 8 hours!
We weren’t the only people to fall into this trap as there were about 6 others who were also stuck on this boat unintentionally. The worst part was, as we’d paid for a transport and not a tour, when they gathered everyone together to tell them what the plan was, we discovered that there was going to be food served, but there was none for us. As we thought we were on a 1 hour boat ride, we had no food with us at all, and we were already hungry!
So, when I look at this beautiful sunset I can’t help but feel a little bitter about the fact that I was starving, captive, and miserable.
It got worse though, once we got to the island we needed a bus to take us to the main area. Our bus arrived, we boarded it and it promptly broke down. Cue another hour wait for another bus to arrive!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a photo, so here’s one of my favorites.
To visit the amazing caves at Phong Nha town it’s typical to hire a dragon boat at the river bank in town. They then whisk you up river and a good way into the cave. There, they drop you on a beach inside the cave once used as a military hospital during the American War. On the way back I saw the sun’s rays breaking through the clouds and managed to snap this picture. It was a bit tricky though, I had to fit my head through the slats in the top of the boat, then raise my camera with my hands reaching through two different gaps. It took a couple of tries but eventually I was in. I had a brief moment of panic afterwards as my head appeared to be stuck.
Today’s photo follows on from the photo of the rice paper drying in the sun. This is the bow of the sampan that we hired to take us out to the Mekong Delta’s floating markets. We had based ourselves in Can Tho and arrived there the night before we planned on going on a tour. We turned up without anywhere to stay booked and no real idea how to book a boat for the next morning. Using our trusty guidebooks we decided on a place right on the waterfront and were happy to find out they had a room available. Shortly after checking in a very smiley old lady who had been sat quietly in the lobby approached and asked if we were interested in a tour. She had a book of photos and a map of the route. Unsure how we’d go about getting a boat at sunrise the next morning we decided to assume her price was fair enough and book. We went to sleep happy in the fact that we’d found a boat for the morning.
Sure enough, the next morning we were greeted in the street by the same lady who escorted us to our boat. We did realise that had we waited until the next morning to find a boat we’d have been fine. The waterfront was abuzz with locals as soon as there was a hint of light. This included numerous other old ladies offering boat rides to every Westerner within earshot.
We were happy with our tour guide, who drove the boat while constantly weaving reeds into various bits and pieces. The “roses” you see here were particularly impressive!!