This post is part of our epic series documenting 19 months of cycling through 22 countries. If you want to know more about Cat Ba Island, read on.
(Don’t miss: Our post covering everything you need to know before cycle touring Vietnam) →
9,999 km so far.
Birthday note: We have been thinking about Jane’s parents a lot lately, because we are set to meet them in just a few days. But today especially, we are thinking of them because it’s Jane’s dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday Tom!
I’ve been feeling a little Cat Ba-lue the last few days. Or maybe that’s Cat Bah, as in Bah Humbug. What am I on about? I am cold. Like blue fingers and toes cold, wrapped up in blankets, and none too happy about it. It is cold here. Not snowy wintery cold, but colder than it should ever be in Southeast Asia.
This is, admittedly, what we get for coming here in way off-season. But it’s the tropics for Pete’s sake. If we were high up on a mountain I could understand it, but we are at sea level on Cat Ba Island.
(Don’t miss: Our post about everything you need to know before visiting Vietnam) →
The buildings in Cat Ba Island aren’t insulated, because it’s not supposed to get this cold. In fact, our hotel room doesn’t even have glass in the windows. There are just wooden shutters to keep the sun out.
That is the weather for which they are prepared. Most of the restaurants are open air, so finding somewhere to get warm isn’t easy.
We went to My Way, a restaurant and cafe, for breakfast and to make use of their WiFi, but it was one of the open air places, so even drinking down their (quite delicious) coffee didn’t warm us up.
I was able to stick it out just long enough to get our taxes done, which is a great weight off my shoulders, but doesn’t make me any warmer.
The veggie pho we had for lunch helped a bit, especially since it was served with fresh French bread.
Hiking Cat Ba Island
We went for a hike afterwards – with our toques (aka wooly hats), scarves, warmest trousers, and jackets on – to get warm. It actually worked. For a few hours today our toes were toasty.
We hiked around the coast to the three main beaches close to town.
Each has its own resort complex built into the hillside that surrounds the cove.
The first cove is where Jane stayed with her mom, sister, and our youngest niece when they were here five years ago. It was cool to see the locations of some of the photos from that trip.
The cove beaches are incredibly beautiful. The sand is pristine (we watched a guy raking up the rocks that had messed up his perfect beach), and they look out into the bay.
The karst islands sitting just offshore making a stunning spot even more spectacular.
Going The Distance
This afternoon I finished a project I have been working on for the last few weeks.
We have been using the website RideWithGPS during our entire trip to help us plan routes. It gives detailed elevation graphs, and can help us find alternate routes on smaller roads, flatter roads, and past interesting sites. We can also export the maps it generates into PocketEarth, which then acts as our offline GPS guide as we ride.
I have now completed uploading every single ride we have done on the trip so far, and will continue to add each ride as we complete it. What this means is that you can see exactly where we’ve been, you can find the field we free camped in with the Wild Cat in Slovenia, you can camp in the same olive grove we free camped at in Italy, or you can find your way to Heaps Good Wine’s vineyard. All of our rides are right here.
While completing this work I discovered there were a couple of small rides in Berlin we hadn’t logged in our total distance kilometres, which means today I have added the missing rides to our total. Without riding anything at all today, our total jumps from 9,956 km to 9,999 km!
Yes, it is a total coincidence that I finished this project on the day we are 1 km short of hitting 10,000.
Next time we get on our bikes we will tick over to 10,000 km cycled! We can hardly believe it. ♥
Hi, I’m Stephen. I travel the world leading Adventure Yoga workshops and trainings. Plus I run My Five Acres with Jane. I’ve taught yoga in 25 countries and we’ve had adventures in more than 50! My goal is to empower you to decide who you want to be and what you want from life — and to help you cultivate the courage you need to to go get it.