The day began very early and at last the sky was clean as every cloud. Dzung Buna made us a breakfast of fried eggs and orange smoothie while outside, already by 6, around the village, playing the high notes of the local news.
In Vietnam, the news is disseminated in the early morning, via radio, to ato fiodiffusione volume in the streets of the villages or the city.
The beautiful boat ride in Trang An
Discovered more recently, Trang An is taking more and more attention to the more touristy and known Tam Coc. And indeed there is more than one reason in favour. The boat ride, always on a small tin boat, but slightly larger, lasts about 2h30 and is much more scenographic and varied. It goes through several caves and the route is circular, does not return through the same path, except for the very last part.
The boats can accommodate from 2 to 4 people (and they wait to fill them before leaving), so, the only way to have the boat all for you, is buying the empty seats, which we have done, given the still low costs (see below ), in order to be able to better enjoy the ride and to allow me to take pictures without interference or obstacles.
From Ninh Binh to Cat Ba, a journey in stages along 5 hours
After the hike, we returned by bike at the hotel where, at about 11 am, our dear Dzung, arranged a private car transfer, up to Ha Phuong, from where we take the speedboat to the island of Cat Ba.
So we got to Hai Phuong, an ugly and chaotic port city, and from there, we are transported on a scooter before, then by bus, then speedboat, then again by bus to finally get on the island, on the seafront in Cat Ba city, at 16: 30, hungry and without even an accommodation for the following two nights.
Cat Ba Ventures, a $ 15 hotel and an excellent dinner of fresh seafood at Quan Ba Cat Family
As often happens with unplanned and last minute things, we managed, in about 15 minutes, to book a day trip to Halong Bay for the next day (with the great agency, Cat Ba Ventures) and found a room in a good hotel at a ridiculous price!
Arranged all our things and blinded by hunger, we finished the evening in style with a fantastic dinner in the family driven restaurant, Quan Ca Ba Family. This place is really good and highly recommended. Grilled calamari and shrimp, served in a lemon sauce and garlic; grilled crab sautéed with butter and garlic, spring rolls, boiled rice and, of course, two very good and fresh bottles of Vietnamese beers. The perfect end of a long tough day!
About my photography
My photographic activity was concentrated all in the boat trip in Trang An. Again, as it was mainly landscapes, I alternated the Summicron 28mm to the Voigtlander Skopar 21mm. The result was simply postcard style pictures, good for my stock photo portfolio, nothing original, but very sellable.
- Tam Coc or Trang An: much more beautiful and interesting the second one.
- Trang An tour costs: 100.000VND per person, plus 50.000VND for entrance fee
- Bicycle parking in Trang An: 15.000VND
- From Hai Phong to Cat Ba with “Huang Long bus”: Bus-Speedboat-Bus. Ticket price, 180.000VDN. Takes about 2 hours.
- Sleeping in Cat Ba: Hotel White House, new, clean and spacious, just 15 USD the double room. Highly recommended
- Eating in Cat Ba: fresh fish, shrimp and squid, i recommend the restaurant “Quan Cat Ba Family“.