Ha Long Bay was top of our ‘must do’ list when we visited Vietnam. The pictures we’d seen looked stunning and different from other places we’d visited, so we decided that we should experience what Ha Long Bay had to offer.
Our initial research showed that most people visited Ha Long in an overnight trip on a ‘Junk’ boat. This sounded pretty cool, and then on further investigation we found that we could stay in Ha Long Bay for an extended time, at Cat Ba Island. Cat Ba is the largest of the 367 islands spanning 260 km² that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago, which makes up the southeastern edge of Ha Long Bay in Northern Vietnam.
On arriving at Cat Ba, we were shown our room – we couldn’t believe our luck! We had the entire top floor with extensive views over the bay. We were to stay here for about 3 weeks, immerse ourselves in local culture, experience local delicacies and go to places that weren’t on the usual tourist trail.
During our time there (when we weren’t swooning over our view) we were extremely fortunate. Here’s some of the things we did:
Our 3 weeks on Cat Ba Island were a great way to really get involved with the local goings on. Most of the tourists we met spent one night or maybe two on Cat Ba and Ha Long Bay.
We felt incredibly privileged to have had a more in depth experience and share in some local activities that other tourists didn’t have access to.
Our time in Ha Long Bay staying on Cat Ba Island was so much more special for having stayed with locals and gotten a lot of ‘inside information’ about the island. The experience we had was so much more than we hoped for. We thoroughly recommend giving an adventure like this a try!
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Tags: Cat Ba Island, Ha Long Bay, Share skills, Swap Work for Travel, Swapper experience, Swapping, Vietnam, Volunteering