While in Hanoi, I made it a point to pick other traveller’s brains on where to head next. Most people were going on tours of Halong Bay, and while an organized tour is a great way to see an area, I’m just not big on being herded around. While reading my book on Vietnam, a little island called Cat Ba jumped out at me, and I just knew that’s where I wanted to go.
I bought a combined bus and ferry ticket, and even though the bus driver kicked me off the bus a good half hour from the dock (I was the only one left on the bus, and I think he just couldn’t be bothered), I managed to catch the ferry before it left.
The ferry I was on was much smaller than the one pictured below, which seemed to serve as a makeshift dock; we had to walk through the bigger ferry to jump on the smaller one.