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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

Day 107: 18th May
Star Trek
The flag of Vietnam

Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

Woke up feeling disgraceful after only 3 hours' sleep. And joy! We were going on a 5-kilometre trek today. Up and down three hills. In scorchingly hot weather. Still, I'm glad I didn't cop out; I sweated all the previous night's toxins out, rehydrated with three litres of water and came out of the other side knackered but feeling fine, although hardly smelling of roses. Everyone apart from our spritely Vietnamese guide was dripping with sweat. He was a happy, friendly chap who did this route EVERY DAY. A couple of our group fell behind and he looked after them, even massaging their foreheads and fanning them with his hat. Matt the American's shoes broke two-thirds into the hike, and when he could take the hot, sharp rocks no longer, the guide gave him his own shoes. Bless!

The sole benefit of the vicious heat was that the snakes and spiders all stayed indoors, and so we all escaped with just a few scrapes, mozzie bites and nettle stings. The superb views felt all the more worthwhile after the effort we'd put in.

We were given free reign of Cat Ba Island for the afternoon. Most of us were too beat to do