Cat Ba is Weird

“oh shit, oh shit, oh shit”

“Are you ok?” I ask, worried, and concerned for two friends hoping that the scooter crash was not as bad as witnessed in my rear view mirror.

Two friends on one scooter had managed to fall off their scooter after losing control trying not to hit a stall with some plastic chairs and tables.

Rewind a bit, we have just arrived in Cat Ba.


We got here after a 4 hour drive with a small ferry crossing, following a one night stop off at Hanoi after travelling for 6 hour drive from Sa Pa. Needless to say, we were a little bit tired, and hungry. Actually scratch that. We were really hungry.

And we have no idea where to eat. To be honest, it would have to be fantastic, to make up for the “hotel” that we have booked into


All I had running through my head was “Silent Hill” for some reason.

We ended up with pizza and pasta at Noble House/Sunset Cafe/Good Bar (all the same place)…… where did it all go wrong?

However taking the positives where you can, we did get to see a nice sunset behind the islands.

And I finally got an egg coffee


Which probably has far too much sugar, but who cares at this stage?

Anyway, back to the day at hand,

It was less than 30 minutes ago we had just got scooters to visit a few sites on the island of Cat Ba.

Now I have been very hard headed about not riding scooters while in Vietnam (either as the rider, or a passenger). Witnessing the “battalion” (is that the right collective noun? “Pod”? “Swarm”?) of scooters in Ho Chi Minh, alongside the fact that I had never ridden on a scooter before pretty much confirmed that I had no desire to sit on one of these things.

However here in Cat Ba, I did not really have a defence. The roads were pretty wide, smooth, and importantly, pretty empty.


So here I am riding on a scooter, probably a little too close to my friend, an experienced rider…

…and promptly nearly crashed into him. It took less than 150 meters for me to fall off the scooter as I slam the brakes as I nearly rear end my friend in front of me. Great start.

As I am laughing it off, I get rear ended by another friend! Like, what the hell? I was stationary! There was space either side of me!

The lady who gave us the bikes was most likely mortified (and so she should be).

Anyway, back to the present, we have two friends down, one with a few some scrapes across his elbow and knee, the other, got off more lightly with a just a bump on her leg.

Either way, their scootering adventure stopped there and then.

The ironic thing was that we wanted to take the scooters to a few of the sites. In what should have been a 20 minute ride to the first place, Hospital Cave, took us over an hour to get there.

And our visit of the Hospital Cave took less than 15 minutes.

Although for the photographers among us, they were rewarded with a fairly nice area to take some photos.  I just described it as “there would you be a massive treasure chest right here, if this was a video game…. that or a stupid boss”.

Food on this day was much better with a visit to Green Mango (236 Một Tháng Tư, tt. Cát Bà, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng), that gave me BBQ seafood!


If you are staying in Cat Ba, then you may want to eat here!  Seafront, good food, lots of choice.

The nightlife here in Cat Ba is described as “people hit one of the main bars, and the bars don’t close until the last person walks out, or passes out”.

Sadly it is not tourist season, so it is very, very quiet, but we were assured that during the summer season, Cat Ba is absolutely heaving.

All I  can say it Cat Ba has been a truly memorable part of our holiday here, just for slightly different reasons this time.

We are returning to Hanoi tomorrow….. and that is a 9 hour journey.






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