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September 30, 2018

Lan Ha Bay

by swebackpacker

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I visited Cat Ba and Lan Ha bay for six days. I stayed three days in Cat Ba town and the remaining days at Xinh floating house in Lan Ha bay. I left Hanoi at 11:00 by Cat Ba Express bus to Cat Ba town. The journey took about three and a half hours with a short fifteen minutes break for lunch at 12:00 between Hanoi and Hai Phong. I paid 26 US Dollar for the express bus and the speedboat journey.

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At least a day or couple of days is in Cat Ba town is recommended before travelling out into the Lan Ha Bay archipelago. I stayed at Cat Ba Sunrise resort a couple of kilometer outside Cat Ba town. There is a beautiful walk between three beaches along the mountains from Cat Ba Sunrise resort.

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To come out into the Lan Ha Bay archipelago one needs to take a car to the ferry terminal at Cai Bén Bèo the distance is walkable three kilometer from Cat Ba town but not with luggage. Cai Bén Bèo is the biggest floating village in Vietnam and an interesting place in itself! However one needs to pay the national park fee and of course you need a boat to visit the village.

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I was picked up at the ferry terminal in the early morning for a boat journey through Cai Bén Bèo out to Monkey Island (the first photo in this blog post. We continued on the boat fairway towards Viêt Hái ferry terminal in Cat Ba national park.

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Travel time to Viêt Hái ferry terminal is forty five minutes with a ferry. A fast speed boat can reach Viêt Hái in fifteen minutes. The ferry brings the post and parcels to the different families living on the floating houses in Lan Ha Bay Archipelago.

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I was out on a several hours long boat journey to different island before arriving at Xinh floating house in the late afternoon. People living in the archipelago had three different possibilities for income fishing, grow pearls or tourism!

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The Xinh family had a fishing farm and also a small family run hotel. I stayed at their place for three nights on full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner). The family consisted of a man, a wife a young girl about seven year old. The girl had an elderly brother in his twenties who comes for visits!

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The Xinh family didn´t speak any English if any questions come up which was not solved by sign language Mr. Xinh would call his brother for help. His brother was running a climbing company in Cat Ba town. The brother also organized the payment for the lodging if one would like to pay with a credit card.

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The brother took his climbing group out to Lan Ha bay about a kilometer from Mr Xinh floating house. There were big differences in skills in the climbing group but there were also challenges for everyone. If one fails one simply drops into the water.

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Late afternoon and the sun sets at Xinh floating house a boat is on its way into Cat Ba about thirty minutes away. The climbing group stayed for dinner so I had a possibility to talk with some of the climbers. The man in the second climbing photo was coming from Switzerland and he indeed had great skills in climbing.

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Although it very late and the sun has set the tourist boats still continues to travel around in the Lan Ha bay archipelago. The tourist boats maybe on its way to Ha Long bay or back into Cai Bén Bèo.

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A late time visitor arrives at Xinh floating house!

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Mr Xinh arranged a boat journey out to Ha Long bay and some areas in Cat Ba National Park. The sea is more open in between Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long archipelago. There is not protection for the wind so one needs to be more careful when visiting this area. The floating houses in Lan Ha bay is surprisingly well protected for bad weather. It can be a very strong wind at open sea but in Lan Ha bay it´s sill complete calm due to the karst mountains protection.

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The fisherman dressed in white rows his boat with his feet. The boat moves in circles at the same time he throws his fishing rod.

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How long will this mountain stand? In the end the tidal water changes and wind will eat up the base of mountain!

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Two tourists in a kayak in Cat Ba national Park the tide is moving out. I did the same journey a little bit later. At that time the tide has changed and the water was moving in so I had some work to do to come out to the boat again.

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We are out again from Cat Ba National Park in between Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long bay on the other side. The big ships cruise up and down in the fairway between the archipelagos.

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In Ha Long bay the fishermen were at work during the day. Many times fishing is conducted during the night.

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It´s late afternoon and we are on other way to collect the daughter of Mr. Xinh in Cai Bén Bèo. She has been at school and it was time to return home.

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Mr. Xinh arranged a new boat tour this time to the outer archipelago of Lan Ha bay. This is the most southern islands and the last ones before complete open sea in South China Sea. The area was very beautiful and had a lot of fishermen living on boats all the time.

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Different shops in a floating house. This is the place to stock up on foods and other necessary items before going home to their own floating house or boat.

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The boat is loaded now it´s time to go home.

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Fishing boats with special equipment to fish during the night. They fell out big rods and lit up small lamps to entice the fishes to come into the area. When the fishes are in the area, the fishermen will lift the net and catch the fishes.

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The photo bellow is from Viêt Hái the Xinh family boat is on its way back to Xing floating house. I stayed a couple of nights on Whisper Nature Bungalow in Viêt Hái village before going back to Cat Ba town.

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© SWEBackpacker, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material including pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SWEBackpacker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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