The first evening on Cat Ba Island, we noticed a large brightly lit monument on top of one of the mountains. We speculated that maybe it was Jesus, because there are many Catholics in Vietnam due to having been a French colony. One evening at supper we asked the restaurant owner. He was very fluent in English which he learned from his patrons. He explained that it was Ho Chi Minh the former communist leader of Vietnam.
The people of Cat Ba Island revere Ho Chi Minh because he visited the island and during his time there taught the people how to grow rice, how to fish and how to live. “How long was he here?” Dave asked. “Only a few hours” came the response.
Cat Ba Island is an incredibly beautiful island surrounded by karsts. The beaches are found in small secluded pockets on the island. The people who live in the floating villages surrounding the island are as comfortable on the water as on land. Cat Ba Island is known for kayaking and climbing. It is a popular destination during the summer holidays for residents of Hanoi.
We were in Cat Ba Island during the slow season. The streets were deserted and there were deals to be had. We paid $25US per night for TWO hotel rooms. We were within a five minute walk of three beaches and from our hotel balcony had an incredible view of the harbour.
Travel in SE Asia, especially to more remote spots like Cat Ba, requires a lot of patience. Everything takes longer than you expect and road blocks seem to pop up everywhere. Three days ahead of time, we booked a tour back to Hanoi for the day we wanted to leave. It was to involve taking a bus, tour boat and bus. Come that day, the first bus only had three seats available and we needed five. We were given the excuse that it was because we had a wheelchair. A mini-bus was then hired to take us to catch the boat and of course, they tried to extract an additional fee, which we refused to pay.
Bissky Dziadyk Family
Travelling the world as a family since 2008.
In September 2008 our family embarked on a four month journey through South East Asia. Traveling with a child who uses a wheelchair presented its challenges, but following the Mekong River through China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam with a wheelchair was truly an adventure.
When we move beyond our fears and embrace our dreams, the Universe has an odd way of not only supporting us but giving us more opportunities than we ever imagined. Embarking on a journey with an open heart we can not help but be changed forever by the experience. Indeed it would be a waste to return untouched in the spiritual realm.
September: China (Beijing, Xi’an,Kunming, Yuanyang)
October: Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay) and
Laos (Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane)
November: Southern Vietnam (Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta)
December: Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampot and Sihanoukville).