Day 2 began with a trip to one of the various floating pearl farms. Honestly, I wasn’t entirely paying attention to everything the guide was saying about how they farm for clams. There were so many people from other boats coming and going, I think the companies just do this to get us off the boats for awhile, so the staff can clean up and prepare for the next group.
After we returned from the pearl farm, we went back to our rooms and prepared to check out. After closing out our bar tab (3 for 2 cocktail deals man), we then said goodbye to the passengers who were returning to Ha Long City. The rest of us got aboard a different boat that would take us to Cat Ba Island. The first few hours of the morning were peacefully spent sailing along the bay.
We made a brief detour to Monkey Island. Immediately upon arrival, we were met by several, you guessed it… monkeys. We spent a few hours hiking (more like scrambling) over boulders to arrive at the top of the mountain for a birds’ eye view of the island. I only went about 3/4’s of the way up because I wanted time to swim before we had to leave.
A few people from my tour had stayed overnight on this island. There is a hotel and resort on the other side from where we were. Apparently, the hike up from the resort side of the island is also much less strenuous, since it actually had a trail. I wish I had known about this when booking our tour because this would have been a great place to stay. It was really remote and peaceful.
Finally, we made our way to Cat Ba Island. Our hotel was pretty nice and we had the option to rent motorbikes for less than $10. Since it was still Tet, the island was practically deserted. There were only two or three shops open in the whole town. At one point, the restaurant we went to was so overloaded that they had to stop taking food orders because they only had one cook. We went down to the beach that afternoon to relax and watch the sunset. It was really enjoyable, and overall, my favorite day of the tour.
Alas, this pretty much concluded our cruise, as we spent our final day traveling back to Hanoi. I would definitely recommend doing a 3 day/ 2 night for anyone wanting to go. One night just doesn’t give you enough time.
If you have any other questions about my experience, or have any stories of your own time in Ha Long Bay, feel free to leave a comment!