We’re spending an evening in the Hung Long Harbour Hotel on Cat Ba Island which has a perfect view out over the bay.
For thousands of years, Halong Bay has been populated by small local communities living on floating villages tucked away in between the dramatic karst landscapes.
The bay is home to a several floating villages with floating homes, fish farms and boats.
This one is the largest – Cua Van Floating Village with around 200 colourful boats.
Originally these villages were built as a place for returning fishermen to sell their fresh catch from the night before.
However they soon become more – thriving little floating communities with schools, shops and socialising.
However people no longer live here full time as the Vietnamese government ordered the villagers to move out several years ago due to ecological concerns.
Now they function mainly as tourist attractions and stop offs from the cruise boats.
They are still an intriguing sight to see though with the floatilla of colourful boats and homes bobbing on the water of the bay.
Corsica is full of delightful little towns, each with their own unique characters and quirks.
We spent a day floating about visiting them en-route to our next destination.
Here’s the hubby at Algajola. It has a 16th century fort on the seafront and a long sandy beach.
Algajola is small with its older buildings clustered around its 16th century castle. Next to this is a citadel built in the same stone with a protruding circular watch tower.
Next on the road trip is the beach at St Florent. The town itself is small with a maze of narrow streets and passages.
Plus there’s a lively waterfront with a row of restaurants.
Like many of the Corsican towns Saint Florent has a Genoise citadel, built in the 15th century. It’s a sturdy round monument that looks out across the gulf below.
We’re off to explore the hill villages of Corsica’s Haute-Balagne on this little road trip.
Tiny villages cling to the hillside along the winding roads that meander throughout the lush greens of the Corsican countryside.
Sant’Antonino is the oldest inhabited village on Corsica and the pastel hued houses cling together along the winding alleyways and back streets.
Buildings tumble down the slopes while you can discover colourful corners around every bend.
Continuing our exploration of some of Kos’s mountain villages we’re making a beeline for Zia.
Set on the mountain side of Dikeos, Zia is surrounded by scented pine forests and stunning vistas.
Essentially it’s a tiny village with shopping streets lined with boutique shops and traditional souvenirs.
If you’re after snaps of a more traditional Greek way of life then this is the place for you!
It get’s thronged with visitors however so you’ll want to find a place to escape and cool off.
If you head through the village to the furthest side you’ll find the colourful and quirky Old Watermill cafe.
Set high on the hillside it is a perfect vantage spot for a drink and some people watching.
But given the sheer abundance of colourful signs and painted windows, naturally I can’t sit still for more than five minutes….
So here’s some rainbow snaps of the rustic decor that the cafe has to offer.
Hand painted signs advertise all manner of refreshing beverages and a sunset view.
Once I’ve exhausted every single permutation of colour and signage possible it’s back out into the main shopping streets.
Canopies provide a welcome shade break as we (I) browse the shops and the man gets impatient.
He really loves to shop . . . honestly . . .
A few more pictures of the delightful splashes of colour that you can find in Zia.
Lots of gorgeous traditional blue and whites and tumbling flowers in colourful pots.
Hiring a car we’re off to explore the mountainous interior of Kos for a few days now.
First on our trip is a visit to the Monastery of Agios Ioannis. This stunning little building is a revelation at the end of a non-descript road.
This tiny gem is covered from floor to ceiling with colourful frescos and detailed icons.
Built on a hill above Kefalos, this monastery is surrounded by lush greenery and offers amazing view to the sea.
There’s seating under the shade of a huge old plane tree, just right for a coffee or ice cream break!
Luckily there’s also a quaint little cafe that’s furnished in traditional Greek style.
The whole place is a veritable suntrap with traditional blindingly white walls and bright blue detail.
There are also some former monestary cells that are currently being refurbished.
The flooring of the terrace is decorated in the traditional black and white pebbled pattern that is common in Greece.
Then it’s off to our next destination, the small hill top village of Asfendiou.
Above is Asomatos church in Asfendiou village, it has a commanding presence in the tiny hamlet.
The village only has around 100 inhabitants and close by are the remains of many ruined buildings that are slowly being bought back to life with outside investment.
After poking around several of the intriguing ruined homes we’re heading off to our next stop, the enchanting mountain top village of Zia.