Now, on the main streets of Vietnam, I would never recommend riding a motorbike for someone inexperienced – like me. And even if you are experienced, riding in Vietnam is an entirely different ball of wax, as obeying traffic signals is more a loose guideline than a rule. But where we were, it was manageable as the streets were empty and in fact, cars (except for commercial use) did not exist on the island.
We ended up spending our first afternoon in Cat Ba riding around the island, checking out some caves that were used as a hospital during the Vietnam War and interacting with the locals – at one point, we parked our bikes and stumbled on a local family singing karaoke at their house, at which point Brian joined the party and gave his own Vietnamese rendition, which was actually not bad. Overall, it was a great way to spend the day and it was nice to have found the time to give motorbikes a go in Southeast Asia.