Guide to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi

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Planning a trip to Lan Ha Bay or Cat Ba National Park? Let catbaisland help you with the information on guide to Cat Ba from Hanoi below.

Go directly from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island

Cai Beo Village

Cai Beo Village, Cat Ba Island (Source: Internet)

Cat Ba Island is the home to Lan Ha Bay, the Ha Long Bay in small scale, and Cat Ba National Park, a favorite destination for many trekkers. These are the top places to visit in the North Vietnam. The only way to get to the island is by boat. If your starting point is Hanoi, the best tips when traveling to Cat Ba is to purchase the whole trip, including both bus and boat fare. First, you hop on a bus to Hai Phong City, this trip takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, followed by a minibus to Dinh Vu Port, then you will have 40 minutes on a hydrofoil to Cai Vieng harbor, take another bus and you are at Cat Ba Town. One such ticket costs around 250.000 VND; you can purchase it at Luong Yen Bus Station on the day of departure.

Ferry to Cat Ba island

The ferry to Cat Ba (Source: Internet)

Hoang Long is the main operator that service Ha Noi-Cat Ba route. Their buses leave at 5.20, 7.20 and 11.20 and return from Cat Ba town at 7.15 a.m. 9.15 a.m, 1.15 p.m and 3.15 p.m from May to September. Between October and April, the bus departs in Ha Noi at 7.20 a.m and 11.20 a.m.

For the return trip, most hotels and tour operators in Cat Ba can help you book the same bus-boat-bus ticket at similar price. The buses run from 6.00 to 16.00.

Stopover at Ha Long Bay

Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay (Source: Internet)

This route is suitable for those who want to include Ha Long Bay in their trip. Take a bus to Tuan Chau, and then take a 45-minute ferry to Gia Luan pier. The ticket is around 80.000 VND (100.000 VND with a motorbike). From the pier, there are two options; one is to take the bus that usually shows upon the ferry arrival; the other one is taxi. From May to September, the ferry leaves at 7.30, 9.00, 11.30, 13.30 and 15.00 and return at 9.00, 11.30, 13.00, 15.00, and 16.00.

Another option is to book a tourist boat from Ha Long City. You cannot purchase such ticket at Bai Chay Pier so the only choice is to go for a tour operator. The price ranges from $18 to $25, including the fee to enter the bay. Be sure to check the schedule carefully since the boat might stop at some spots on the way for kayaking and sightseeing. Such trip can take up to 6.5 hours.

There are several and affordable ways to reach Cat Ba Island from Hanoi. If you find any other options, please let catbaisland know by leaving comments.

Best local tour guide for your summer vacation in Cat Ba Island

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Among the best places to travel in Vietnam, Cat Ba Island is an outstanding destination. Situated 60km from central Hai Phong, the island has recently become the top choice for summer vacations in northern Vietnam with its stunning sunshine, pristine nature, and nearly untouched beaches.  

What is the best time to travel Cat Ba, Vietnam?

Cat Ba is cool all year round so you can travel to Cat Ba Island at any time and in any season. October and November are the best months of the year to come to this beautiful island when the climate is pleasant and the number of tourists is quite small compared to the duration between May and August. Travelling off-season will be a great option to enjoy your holidays without being annoyed by the noise of tourists.

How to get access to Cat Ba?

Traveling by bus seems to be the most common way to reach Cat Ba Island. From Hanoi, tourists are able to book a ticket for a price of $10 and get to bus stations near Hanoi Old Quarter to transfer to Hai Phong’s bus station. Then, tourists can get on a hydrofoil to get to Cat Ba Island. See more information at Guide to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi.

A highly recommended alternative choice is booking a Halong Bay package that makes a stop at Cat Ba Island. It is a much economical option for anyone planning to take part in a Halong – Cat Ba tour. For about $22, tourists are offered many services including picking you up from your hotel and transferring you to the destination. 

Where to stay in Cat Ba?

With the development of tourism, there are more and more hotels and accommodations in Cat Ba town, especially near the coast. The cost of midweek stay (from Monday to Thursday) is half cheaper than weekend stay (from Friday to Sunday). Hence, if you are on a tight budget, try spending at least two days during the week for your Cat Ba travel to avoid crowds and save some cash for your accommodation.

Here are some well-rated resorts which are equipped with air conditioners, private bathrooms, and sea view.

Cat Ba Sunrise Resort

Cat Ba Beach Resort

Whisper Nature Bungalow & Resort

Cat Ba Eco Lodge

Cat Ba Island Resort & Spa

Monkey Island Resort

Cat Ba Sunrise Resort

Cat Ba Sunrise Resort at night (Source: Internet)

What to do in your travel?

1. Go swimming at Cat Co Beach

There are 3 most popular beaches in Cat Ba: Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 3. Cat Co 1 beach is surrounded by stone cliffs, attracting many tourists to sunbathe and go swimming. You can reach to these beaches from the town by taking an electric car or local bike taxi (xe om).

Cat Co Beach

Cat Co Beach is surrounded by forest mountains (Source: Internet)

2. Discover Lan Ha Bay

Once setting your foot on Cat Ba, you should spend a whole day on it, hire a boat to explore the pristine beauty of Lan Ha Bay. Surrounded by limestone karsts, Lan Ha shares many things in common with one of the World Natural Heritage Sites, Halong Bay.

If you have a taste for adventure, a kayaking trip in Lan Ha Bay is a must. Kayak rental services are offered by most cruises so you can easily hire a boat to experience the natural beauty of limestone and caves on your own.    

Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay with untouched beauty (Source: Internet)

3. Explore Cat Ba National Reserve

Famous for its biodiversity, Cat Ba National Park is the habitat of many exotic species of animals including endangered species such as golden-headed langurs. If you are interested in observing the wildlife, there are many ecotours available to help you explore the mysterious forests and take you to some caves such as Trung Trang Cave and Bat Cave. For anyone who loves outdoor activities, hiking and trekking day tours are highly recommended.

Cat Ba Nature Reserve

Cat Ba National Reserve is a perfect place for outdoor activities (Source: Internet)

4. Enjoy local seafood

When visiting Cat Ba Island, you should not miss these must-eat local dishes: vermicelli with shrimps, mantis shrimp soup, steamed horseshoe crab, grilled Pacific geoduck, and steamed groupers. These ocean specialties are not only delicious but also nutrient-rich. There is nothing better than enjoying a BBQ party by the beach after a day of adventure!    

Beyond the island’s gorgeous beaches and forest-covered mountains, the biodiversity of Cat Ba Island is also unsurpassed. catbaisland.net hope that our Cat Ba Island local tour guide may help you to have unforgettable experiences in this stunning island!

Enjoy a sweet couple tour in Cat Ba Island Vietnam

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Travelling with the one you love is a rewarding time when everything is done together. As it is a great opportunity to get closer to each other, couple tours have become popular worldwide. Many of them lead their ways to Vietnam – a country with romantic scenery and unique Eastern culture.

If you have a strong desire to get your couple tour boomed with ecstatic joy, going on a Cat Ba Island couple tour is not bad an idea!

Couple tour in Catba Island

Couple tour is getting more and more popular (Source: Internet)

I’m going to point out some vital criteria which should be taken into account to finalize the best plan of traveling.

How would a couple tour in Cat Ba Island be like?

Nestled in Halong Bay – a new Wonder of the World, Cat Ba Island holds a huge appeal for tourists. The island possesses spectacular landscapes and seascapes with dense tropical jungle, magnificent beaches, and majestic limestone caves. Cat Ba has also been recognized as a Word Biosphere Reserve thanks to its biodiversity. It is considered one of the best tourist attractions in Vietnam.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba is a perfect destination for honeymoon and couple tour (Source: Internet)

Having a Cat Ba Island Couple Tour, travelers will have a chance to get the best of the romantic landscape of the island. Discovering the beautiful beaches and climbing the rocks are definitely must-do activities for every Cat Ba Tour. There are many beautiful beaches on the island which are fascinating to explore such as Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2, and Cat Co 3. You can dive into the cool seawater and watch the colorful coral reefs. Also, it would be amazing to walk hand-in-hand with your lover in the white and softy seashore and watch the sunset together. Or you can choose to go aboard a cruise to spend your nights on the ocean to enjoy the fresh air and watch the romantic night sky.

Watching sunset on Lan Ha Bay

Watching the sunset on Lan Ha Bay is a romantic activity (Source: Internet)

Exploring the rainforest in Cat Ba Island is another interesting activity. You will walk through the dense jungle, come across streams, and see different types of flora and fauna of a tropic region. Couples may climb up rocky mountains and visit some marvelous limestone caves on the island as well. Not only does the cave look wonderful but the surroundings are also incredibly beautiful.

Kayaking on Lan Ha Bay

Kayaking on Lan Ha Bay (Source: Internet)

A special thing to do in Cat Ba is to go kayaking. Travelers can rent a couple kayak to visit the local floating fish farm, secluded beaches in Lan Ha Bay. Furthermore, they can use a kayak to pay a visit to some tunnel lagoons and discover the beauty of karst caves.

What makes Cat Ba Island Couple Tour more attractive is that the seascapes look extraordinarily marvelous in photos and videos. It is wonderful to record all the sweet moments of you and your lover in that fascinating destination.

What is the best time to travel to Cat Ba Vietnam?

Though everyone says summer is the best time of the year to go to the beach, I’d say autumn, which is from September to November in Vietnam, is the most suitable time. The weather in summer in tropical countries are extremely hot with a high percentage of humidity. Of course, it is great to go swimming but not so ideal for other activities. Also, a large number of visitors make their ways to the beaches in the summer so it would be a little bit unpleasant for those who want to enjoy a tranquil atmosphere. On the contrary, the weather from Sep. to Nov. is much more pleasant. Not too cold to swim, and not too hot to go to the jungle. And local visitors do not often visit the island in that season.

In winter, the temperature drops sharply, while it is very wet in spring. Hence, it is recommended that travelers should not pay a visit to the island in these seasons.

How to travel to Cat Ba?

Speed boat to Cat Ba

Speedboat to Cat Ba (Source: Internet)

You need to go to Hai Phong before getting aboard to Cat Ba Island. Some kinds of boats are available to choose and a high-speed boat is recommended. Speedboat from Binh Port in Hai Phong to Cat Ba Island is about VND 250,000 ($12). It takes only 45 minutes to reach the island, but the price is quite high.

Where to stay in Cat Ba?

Resort in Cat Ba

Resort in Cat Ba (Source: Internet)

The rapid development of tourism industry leads to the rise in the number of hostels and hotels built. The better the quality of the room is, the higher the price is. There are also resorts for visitors who want to get the best services.

Above are some notable things about couple tour in Cat Ba Island. Believe me, you will get unforgettable with your partner when having a trip to this island. Consider carefully and plan your trip right now! Share your moments with catbaisland.net by leaving your comment!

Top must-see attractions on Cat Ba Island

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Lying South of Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba Island is home to a cluster of about 367 islets of all shapes and sizes. Thanks to its karst topography, Cat Ba is a promise of astounding cave experiences and amazingly untapped landscapes. Wondering how to touch the sights and soul of Cat Ba? If you are in the middle of nowhere, take notice of my following top must-see spots on Cat Ba Island.

Beholding the world of Thien Long Cave

Thien Long Cave

Thien Long cave-Cat Ba (Source: Internet)

Cat Ba is known as a vantage point place appealing to those who love minutes of cave exploration. That’s why caves are part of Cat Ba’s soul and what could make a trip to Cat Ba complete without having you feel the marvel of stalactites. There is an array of grottoes for cave lovers but Thien Long Cave might be the number one, winning hearts of quite a few visitors.

Taking a 2-hour boat ride from Phu Long Wharf, you are welcomed by the ecstasy of a karst-clad world. Being discovered in 1997, Thien Long mostly keeps its original beauty, with countless nature-tailored stalactites and stalagmites. You’ll be blessed to come across tree roots rushing themselves down from the above, help to adorn the cave to become a masterpiece of the Nature Mother. You’ll be jaw-dropped when passing through the space full of magnificent kart shapes which are picture-perfect. What else could hide behind those artworks? Well, visitors will leave with real-life experiences of the karst landscape revolution. Your traveling sense is rousing, isn’t it?

Aha moment on Monkey Island

lovely monkeys

Lovely monkeys (Source: Internet)

As in its name, your mind will be full of monkey images when thinking of Monkey Island. Is it all about monkeys? In recent years, the island has seen hordes of curious visitors flocking there to enjoy relaxing moments with the wildlife. Tourists will be stunned to encounter mischievous monkeys playing with each other or hanging themselves lovely around tree branches.

 At first, you might be stepping back at the idea of getting close to these cute hosts but you’ll then take advantage of every single chance such as feeding or taking photos with them. Feel at ease to relax with care-free langurs, your trip is much more awe-inspiring. If you are going to have a trip with your kids, Monkey Island is a sure hit to entertain them. It is just like taking the children to a theme park amid the green and fresh space of forest-dense outcrops.

Stepping out of the comfort zone with rock climbing

Thrilling with rock climbing

Thrilling with rock climbing (Source: Internet)

Endowed with the unspoiled limestone landscape, Cat Ba opens to the world of thrillings that are perfect for adventure tourism lovers. If immersing yourself in nature, exploring marvelous grottoes, or taking a boat ride along the serene water is inspiring enough to end your tour in Cat Ba Island, then rock climbing will satisfy your inner adrenaline rush. Rocky and rugged karst mountains overhang the sea and the land will bring about off-record experiences for cliff climbing maniacs. If rock climbing is rousing your head, don’t forget to make your way to the butterfly valley where you are able to conquer the Hive. At the end of the day, it is too unwilling to leave say goodbye to Cat Ba Island.

A trip to Cat Ba Island will be never boring given a long list of things to do and places to visit. Versatile as it is, Cat Ba is a much-loved tick for those who are seeking for a place to kick back and to recharge their low batteries before getting back busy working days. Wondering how to enjoy a trouble-free trip to Cat Ba? Let catbaisland take the hassle and you take the comfort. Organized tours in Vietnam or Vietnam local tour package give you a variety of choices to get the best out of your trip.

Fine budget dining places in Cat Ba Island

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If you haven’t made up your mind where to spend your coming holiday yet, Cat Ba Island of Vietnam would be an ideal option. Boasting a stunning oceanic beauty, Cat Ba Island is one of the main attractions across Vietnam that draws a huge number of visitors every year.

Below are some restaurants in Cat Ba to offer travelers a yummy, yet budget food experience. Follow for more details.

Bakery Family

A bread from Bakery Family

Banh Mi in Bakery Family (Source: Internet)

Bakery Family is a good choice to start your day. Located on the main boulevard, Bakery Family serves delegate and big filled baguettes, accompanied with fresh herbs, ham, cheese, egg, chicken or bacon, a must-visit restaurant for a hearty breakfast. Baguette costs VND 45,000 each, and totally worth it. Alongside baguette, you can also opt for sweet pastries, donuts, cakes or a cup of coffee that promise to give you all the energy needed for a new day.

Quan Cat Ba Family

Pho Bo

Pho Bo (Source: Internet)

Only a few steps from Bakery Family is Quan Cat Ba Family, a crowded, beautifully decorated restaurant. Offering scrumptious Pho at a reasonable price, (around VND 30,000 per one bowl), Quan Cat Ba Family is where myriads of both inbound and outbound visitors head for to savor that strong, yet delicate soup.

Buddha Belly (Buddha Garden)

Look delicious

Look delicious! (Source: Internet)

For those who seek for an idyllic and private corner to enjoy their meal in Cat Ba Island, Buddha Belly, also known as Buddha Garden is no doubt the number one choice. This famous eatery is a vegetarian restaurant, offering tasty and generously sized portion for only VND 30,000 to VND 50,000. Nestling at the corner of the street, finely adorned with subtle decoration, Buddha Belly is such an ideal oasis with ambient atmosphere to dine, relax and chat with family and friends. Don’t forget to treat yourself to some yoga by joining the free meditation classes here, in Buddha Belly.

Yummy restaurant

Thai Curry Soup

Thai curry soup (Source: Internet)

What can be more wonderful than sitting down together at the end of the day, enjoying yummy, cozy dinner and share your day with family members? Just like its name, Yummy Restaurant offers its guests a wide selection of delicious Vietnamese and Thai dishes on the menu, all at a budget price. Give a try for the mouthwatering spicy Thai soup for only VND 30,000 and the BBQ pork for VND 40,000. Those would certainly satisfy your taste buds. Services here are excellent and super friendly, giving you unforgettable dining experience.

Song Changl

Fried noodle

The fried noodle (Source: Internet)

The last but definitely not the least stop is Song Changl restaurant. The fried noodle in this restaurant is just out-of-this-world, with all the flavors harmoniously blend together creating a flavor explosion in the mouth. Only VND 35,000 for a big portion and VND 25,000 for a smaller one, fried noodle in Song Changl is the one dish you’ve got to try!

Those above-mentioned are 5 budget dining places suggested for your stay in Cat Ba Island. Hopefully, catbaisland has given you useful information and a better look into your coming vacation in Cat Ba. Pack your stuff and let’s go discover.

How to spend your time wisely in Cat Ba

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A tour to Halong Bay cannot exclude Cat Ba Island since it’s the largest and most beautiful island in the Bay. Due to the intensive conversation program initiated by the local government, Cat Ba still keeps its authentic feeling of a blessed island with lush green, biodiversity, and breathtaking view.

Cat Ba is a suitable place not only for beauty-appreciated travelers but also for those who wish to have a nice relaxing time with their friends and family. Read this article from catbaisland to know How to spend your time wisely in Cat Ba.

Best time to travel in Cat Ba

Like other provinces in the North of Vietnam, Cat Ba has four seasons with distinguished features. Summer, from June to August, is quite hot and humid, Spring, from March to May, is wet. From December onwards the temperature drops with chilly wind. The best time to visit Cat Ba is probably in autumn, from September to November. The weather is pleasant and cool, enables visitors to experience the fullest beauty of Cat Ba.

Getting around

The best way to discover Cat Ba is on a motorbike since it saves your time and money to go around this vast island. Motorbikes are available in every hotel for 100.000 to 120.000 VND per day. You may pay less during low season. Since the motorbike renters don’t provide petrol, you have to pay for it as well. You shouldn’t pay more than 50.000 VND for a full tank, and it should last for at least a day.

If you want to slow down and enjoy the riding routes in Cat Ba, it’s better to rent a bike with gears since there are a few hills. One bike costs as much as one motorbike; however, you don’t have to pay for any extra fuel.

Where to go in Cat Ba

National Park

Cat Ba National Park is located in the eastern part of the island. The park is home to the endangered Cat Ba Langur, of which are under intensive protection since there are only 60 left. Cat Ba National Park offers visitors one of the most beautiful wandering trails in Vietnam – which are challenging to some degree. It takes total 2 hours to climb to the top. The entrance ticket is 15.000 VND. There are numerous guided tours with affordable prices, which can help enhance your tour experience.

Lan Ha Bay

A view of Lan Ha Bay from Cat Ba National Park (Source: Internet)

Monkey Island

Boats run daily to Monkey Island from Cat Ba and accept both individual and group tour. The monkeys on the island are used to humans, so they won’t run away if tourists approach them. However, if you want to take photos with them, you should give them something as a present. Be careful with your food and personal stuff.

A sweet monkey family time

A sweet monkey family time (Source: Internet)

The most exciting part of Monkey Island is to climb up the rocky mountaintop. The tour will be adventurous and takes around 45 minutes to get to the top. All your efforts will be compensated by the breathtaking view of the whole island.

Beaches

Beaches in Cat Ba are not world class beaches. However, you will appreciate the freshness they give once you are in the water. There are three beaches in Cat Ba named Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2, and Cat Co 3. Visitors can quickly reach Cat Co 3 from the harbor just by following the small road westwards. From Cat Co 3, you can walk to either Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 1. All beaches provide loungers, chairs, umbrellas, and drinks. You can find some kayak services for a price of 200.000 VND per hour.

Hospital Cave

The main attractions in Cat Ba include Hospital Cave and Cannon Fort. Hospital Cave is an incredibly well-built underground hospital as well as a boom-proof place for the locals. The three-story building was constructed with China’s assistance and continuously in use until 1975. The hospital is living historical witness of one of the bloodiest period of Vietnam’s history. The entrance ticket is 40.000 VND per person.

Canon Fort

Breathtaking sunset in Cat Ba Island

Breathtaking sunset in Cat Ba (Source: Internet)

Built in 1942, Cannon Fort offers the most excellent view of Lan Ha Bay. It’s also famous for the best place to watch sunsets and sunrises. Simple grab a bear or two, go to the fort with your travel mates and enjoy your beer with outstanding panoramas of Cat Ba with jagged rocky hills down to colorful fishing boats in the harbor, ant the vast sea beyond.

Author: Phuong Dieu Thu

7 interesting things to do in Vietnam for casual travelers

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Vietnam is becoming more attractive to adventurous travelers due to various stunning sites. So what are the most interesting things to do in Vietnam for them?

Taking a bike tour around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake – Hanoi (Source: Internet)

If you are looking for interesting things to do in Vietnam, riding a bike around Hoan Kiem Lake can be a great idea. The lake is not only one of the favorite paths for bikers but also a symbol of the city.

Taking a tour around it can allow you a better understanding of the history of Vietnam and the local people’s lifestyle. For example, the old and middle-aged women do exercise in the early morning as a regular habit. So you will see a lot of them jogging, running, or practicing aerobics around the lake. It will be even more exciting if you can join one of those activities and feel what the local feels.

However, the area around Hoan Kiem Lake has been made pedestrian walkway on weekends. So you should choose to take a tour on weekdays to fully experience the sites and the people as you wish.

Riding a boat in Trang An

Trang An

Trang An Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Trang An is a popular ecological tourist scenery in Ninh Binh Province. Considered a crucial national heritage and recognized a multi-layered World Heritage Site, Trang An is being well-preserved by the Government of Vietnam.

There are many things to do in Vietnam but you should always pay a visit and try going for a boat ride in Trang An. The rower, also the tour guide will take you through caves, which were found to contain numerous cavemen’s traits. Trong Cave, Toi Cave, Nau Ruou Cave, and Mai Da Thung Binh are some names that you will hear.

One tip for you is that you should visit Trang An in the morning. Due to vast numbers of tourists coming in the afternoon, you will probably have to wait for hours to get on a boat. And it is often extremely annoying to wait.

Kayaking in Ha Long Bay

Kayaking in Halong Bay

Kayaking in Halong Bay (Source: Internet)

Ha Long Bay is always on top of the list “interesting places should be traveled in Vietnam”. Because of the 120-kilometer-seashore and 1969 limestone islands, the spot is perfect for adventurers. Especially if you want to have a close look at the beauty of the islands, renting a kayak or setting a tour are some excellent choices.

Not only can you visit famous sceneries but also observe marine life under the sea. Just listen carefully to the sound of the waves under your kayak, the music created by the wind blowing through limestone caves, and you will fall in love with Ha Long Bay.

Paragliding in Da Nang

Paragliding in Danang

Paragliding Da Nang (Source: Internet)

Sky-diving is one of the most interesting things to do in Vietnam that tourists must try once. So if you are not afraid of height, why not try seeing it from above?

There are not many requirements to paraglide. Nonetheless, because it is a dangerous sport, your health needs to be in quite a stable state. Also, you should keep track of weather forecast to find a sunny day with little clouds to sky-dive. It takes about 1.3 million dongs (about $40) per person and you can enjoy the flight in 10-15 minutes.

A professional sky-diver will fly with you; therefore, it is no need to be scared. And remember to carefully follow instructions to have the best adventure ever.  

Scuba-diving in Nha Trang

Scuba-diving in Nha Trang

Scuba diving Nha Trang (Source: Internet)

You want to be a “mermaid” or live like that for once? Scuba-diving in Nha Trang can take you there. It is a tour organized by professional traveling agencies, which is ideal for tourists often spending their time swimming, diving, discovering the ocean, and watching thousands of colorful corals under the sea.

Similar to paragliding, a scuba-diver will assist you while you are under the water. So there is nothing to worry even if you don’t know how to swim. Agencies will charge 600,000 to 800,000 Vietnam dong for a tour depending on the diving time and the instructor that you request.

Getting lost under Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi tunnels (Source: Internet)

Another activity in the list of interesting things to do in Vietnam that you should not omit is visiting Cu Chi tunnels, where Vietnamese soldiers used to live during First Indochina War and Vietnam War. In fact, it was a defending system under the ground embracing a great number of rooms, kitchens, stores, offices, and infirmaries.

Although you may get lost under the tunnels due to many sectors, it can be the most compelling experience that you can never have again. If you love to discover a mysterious place, to feel a little tired, and a little scary, you will love Cu Chi tunnels.

The only thing to bear in mind is that the paths between rooms are relatively narrow and small. Therefore, the tunnels are not recommended for you if you are claustrophobic.

Trying some street food in the most famous restaurants

Street food in Vietnam

Street food in Vietnam (Source: Internet)

Street foods in Vietnam are superbly flavorful and already recognized by countless travelers as well as popular food magazines around the globe. That is why it will be ashamed if you don’t try street food in Vietnam in your top priorities.

It is very easy to find street restaurants that serve the dish you want because most of them show clear signs and banners. Otherwise, just look for any food store where various customers are sitting on plastic stools. Some food suggestions from catbaisland for you are caramel, tao pho, banh trang tron, snails, banh beo, nem chua, and bread.

Five best ways to spend your Cat Ba island tour

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Cat Ba Island is the largest island in Halong Bay with a total surface area of 285 km2. Cat Ba also features magnificent karst landscape and emerald water. Half of the island is covered with tropical forest which belongs to Cat Ba National Park with a wide range Cat Ba Archipelago in which Cat Ba Island is a part, was declared a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve Area in 2012.

Cat Ba Island administratively belongs to Cat Hai district, Hai Phong province. This is the only island among 2000 islands and islets in Halong Bay that human inhabit. The major of the population live in Cat Ba town where tourism has been well developed.

Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay (Source: Internet)

Cat Ba is one of the top islands in Vietnam which draw thousands of tourist every year.  If you are planning a visit to this island paradise of Cat Ba, consider the following suggested ways of travel to have the best tour in Vietnam.

Head east for a beach resort in Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay is in the south and east of Cat Ba Island with stunning karst towers and numerous white sandy beaches. The arc-shaped bay comprises more than 400 islands and islets at a various size which are all covered with green vegetation.

Resort in Lan Ha Bay

Resort in Lan Ha Bay (Source: Internet)

Lan Ha Bay is off the coast, far away from Halong city. Due to its isolated location, not many boats venture here creating the bay pristine and less crowded areas than those in nearby Halong.

On the islands of Lan Ha, eco resorts are emerging from budget to mid-range price. There is no high-end resort with 5-star service, but you will not need one to have an excellent holiday here. Most of the resort here is bungalow resort. The bamboo houses or even house on stilt with all amenities, sea view and a private beach. What’s else do you need!

Resort in Lan Ha Bay

Resort in Lan Ha Bay (Source: Internet)

Limestone outcrops divide the water surface into multiple smaller area with calm waves while in return water erodes the limestone towers to create caves. From the resort’s beach, you can kayak or use a bamboo boat to go around the bay or just hide under a sun umbrella and enjoy the peacefulness. 

Recommended resort: Monkey Island Resort, Le Pont Bungalow, Catba Island Resort & Spa, Nam Cat Resort.

Recommended length of stay: 2 days 1 night.

Reserve at least 1 day 1 night on an overnight cruise

Cat Ba Island show ups in a very different charm at night. Let's imagine spending a night in the middle of the sea. Is that sound interesting to you?

The only way to experience this is to take an overnight cruise. Halong Bay cruise is among the best in Vietnam cruise experience but Cat Ba overnight cruise which is less known, will not disappoint you.

Overnight cruise

Overnight Cruise (Source: Internet)

Things to do on an overnight cruise:

  • Watching the breathtaking sunset and sunrise
  • Try squid fishing. Yes, squid not fish.
  • Chilling on the sundeck and admire the starry night over Cat Ba island

Recommended cruise operator: Indochina junk, orchid cruise

Recommended length of stay: 2 days 1 night.

Why not visit the famous neighbor – Halong Bay

Halong Bay is World Heritage Site, voted as one the best scenery on earth many times. There is no need to prove how stunning this bay is.

Once you go on Cat Ba Island tour, you are just a few hours away from Halong. So make an extension to your trip. This is also a favorable itinerary for many tourists.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay (Source: Internet)

How to get to Halong bay from Cat Ba island

Waterway: there is a ferry transferring guests and vehicles between Cat Ba and Tuan Chau (harbor in Halong Bay). The ticket price is 70,000VND (~ USD3)/person.

Recommended length of stay: 3 days 2 night (one day in Halong Bay)

A homestay on traditional village on Cat Ba

Viet Hai is a small village on Cat Ba Island. Due to its location, Viet Hai is separated from the world outside. Surrounded by limestone mountain ranges and green forest which is home to many endemic animals (Cat Ba Langur is one the most famous one with only 60 individuals left on this planet), Viet Hai offers an otherworldly landscape. That is where the nickname “the isolated paradise” comes from.

Viet Hai Village

Viet Hai village (Source: Internet)

Recent years, tourists especially foreign tourists have visited the village as an itinerary highlight for their Cat Ba Island Tour.

Villagers are farmers who still live their primitive way of life. However, when tourists keep coming, they become the friendly host of lovely homestay.

What’s better than spending several days relax and enjoying yourself in wooden houses in the middle of the jungle with all modern amenities.

Things to do

  • Cycle around the village
  • Take a short trekking into the jungle
  • Wildlife watching

Recommended length of stay: 2 to 3 days.

Stay in Cat Ba town and take a day cruise out to the bay

Tourism has been growing in Cat Ba Town for years. You will never get bored staying in this town. Nightlife here adds endless fun to your vacation. Go to any bars or nightclub; you probably find some fellow travelers. Making new friends is a significant part of traveling.

Cat Ba Town

Cat Ba Town (Source: Internet)

Even though you stay at the town, you must not miss the bay. Taking a day cruise is a perfect idea. They are affordable and easy to arrange.

Usually, the boat picks you up at the harbour at 8 am and take you back to the mainland around 4 pm to 5 pm. You will have a day to swim, kayak, have lunch on the sea.

Recommended length of stay: 2 days 1 night.

 

 

 

 

 

Things to notice when having a Cat Ba Island Tour

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All you need to know when paying a visit to Cat Ba Island, an irresistibly charming destination in one the New Seven Wonders of the World – Halong Bay.

All you need to know when paying a visit to Cat Ba Island, an irresistibly charming destination in one the New Seven Wonders of the World – Halong Bay.

Nestled in Halong Bay – a UNESCO World Natural Heritage and a New Wonder of the World, Cat Ba Island holds a huge appeal for tourists. Cat Ba Island is the convergence of wild forests and magnificent beaches, offering great experiences to travelers from all over the world. This island, hence, is considered one of the best tourist attractions in Vietnam. Taking a Cat Ba Island Tour, travelers will have a chance to immerse themselves in the wilderness of nature.

Cat Ba Island by night

Cat Ba Island by night

There are many things to prepare prior to your trip; therefore, this article will list out some of the most important things to notice when you are planning your Cat Ba Trip.

1. When to visit?

Even though everyone says summer is the best time of the year to go to the beach, I’d say autumn, which is from September to November, is the most suitable time for a Cat Ba Island tour. The summer weather in tropical countries is extremely hot with a high percentage of humidity. Of course, it is great to go swimming but not so ideal for other activities. Also, a large number of visitors make their ways to the beaches in the summer so it would be a little bit unpleasant for those who want to enjoy a tranquil atmosphere. On the contrary, the weather from September to November is far more pleasant. Not too cold to swim, and not too hot to go to the jungle. And most importantly, you will not need to stand the crowd as local visitors do not often visit the island during that period.

The temperature drops sharply in the winter and it is very wet in spring, which might not be ideal for some travelers.

2. How to travel?

The most common and convenient route to Cat Ba Island is from Hai Phong City. There are several kinds of boats available to choose from and high-speed boats are the most recommended. Speedboats from Binh Port in Hai Phong to Cat Ba Island cost about VND 250,000 ($12) per person. It takes only 45 minutes to reach the island, but the price is quite high.

Boat to Cat Ba

Boat to Cat Ba

Regarding traveling to Cat Ba from Halong Bay, I think it does not make a lot of sense. Normally, tourists tend to visit Cat Ba first and travel to Halong Bay afterwards. If you do need to reach Cat Ba from Halong Bay (BaiChay Wharf), there are ferries and hydrofoils available. However, there are only a few boats per day so remember to check the times carefully in advance. It also takes about $10-$15 for a Cat Ba ticket.

3. What to do in Cat Ba?

As one of the best islands in Vietnam, Cat Ba has an exceptionally beautiful scenery of beaches and jungles. Some must-do activities when having a Cat Ba Island Tour are as follows:

– Discover the stunning beaches. Many beaches in Cat Ba are fascinating to visit such as Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2, and Cat Co 3. Diving into the cool seawater and watching the colorful coral reefs are unforgettable experiences. Especially, it would be amazing for couples to walk hand-in-hand with each other by the white and soft seashore and watch the sunset together. Or you can choose to go aboard a cruise ship, spending your nights on the ocean to enjoy the fresh air and watch the sparkling night sky.

Aqua-green sea water of Cat Ba’s beaches

Aqua-green sea water of Cat Ba’s beaches

– Explore the rainforest.You will walk through a dense jungle, come across streams, and see the different types of flora and fauna of a typical tropical jungle. Climbing up the rocky mountain and visiting some marvelous limestone caves on the island are also interesting. Not only do the caves themselves look wonderful but the surroundings are also jaw-dropping.

– Go kayaking. Tourists may ride a kayak to visit local floating fish farms and secluded beaches in Lan Ha Bay. Also, you can pay a visit to some tunnel lagoons and discover the beauty of karst caves.

Kayaking on Lan Ha Bay

Kayaking on Lan Ha Bay

– Visit historical relics: Hospital Cave – a secret bomb-proof hospital built during the Vietnam War which was used as a safe house for Viet Cong leaders until 1975 and Cannon Fort – a look-out point since the French colonization. Apart from its historic value, Cannon Fort is also suitable for those who want to take a broad view of Lan Ha Bay, especially at dawn.

– Eat seafood. A beach trip cannot be complete without seafood. Seafood in Cat Ba is plentiful, and the price is also reasonable.

4. Where to stay?

There are lots of hotels and resorts at a wide range of price ($15 – $150/night) to choose from. You can easily book accommodation in advance via websites or travel agencies.

With its enchanting beauty, Cat Ba has become a haunted destination for holidays. The exquisite natural settings on the island will never disappoint you!

Top must-stop destinations in Halong Bay

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Naturally blessed with spectacular seascapes, Halong Bay is among the most haunted destinations in Asia. The whole area has been designated as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage thanks to its significant geological value and magnificent looks.

Also, Halong Bay is voted by the New7Wonders Foundation as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. So, where should we visit in such a marvelous place? The following at catbaisland are the most recommended tourist attractions in Halong Bay according to Tripadvisor.  

1. Sung Sot Cave

Nestled on Bo Hon Island in the center of the globally recognized natural heritage area, Sung Sot Grotto (Surprise Grotto) is among the wildest grottos in Halong Bay.

Sung sot cave

Sung Sot Cave (Source: Internet)

Most of the names of the tourist attractions in Halong Bay came from stories or anecdotes and Sung Sot Cave is not an exception. Sung Sot means “surprise”, which depicts the feelings of people who come here for the first time. The unbelievably majestic beauty of the cave leaves people in awe.

When first entering the cave, tourists might think it is just a narrow one, but after just a few more steps, the grotto appears larger and larger. The cave consists of 2 chambers: the square and smooth outer chamber with a more than 30-meter high ceiling and the inner chamber. The formations in the inner chamber look like animals in varying poses. With the support of the light which reflects from the water, the cave looks actually awe-inspiring.

Marvelous formations inside the cave

Marvelous formations inside the cave (Source: Internet)

Not only is the cave itself beautiful, but the path leading to the cave as well as the surroundings are also stunning. The path is lined with sandy trees while the surrounding area has a diverse ecosystem to explore.  

2. Bai Tu Long Bay

This is a small bay in the same area with Halong Bay and is considered even prettier than the main heritage site as it is less crowded with tourists. Even in December and January – the best time to travel Halong Bay Vietnam, the number of tourists in Bai Tu Long is much smaller than in Halong Bay; hence, it is definitely an ideal place to explore the pristine, natural beauty of Vietnam’s seascapes.  

Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long Bay (Source: Internet)

Different from the Halong Bay Cruise, which takes you to the most outstanding natural attractions in Halong, the cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay will let you explore the less-visited places such as Cong Do, Vong Vieng, Cong Dam floating villages, Thien Canh Son Cave, and some secluded beaches.  Additionally, the National Park of Bai Tu Long Bay is home to a variety of flora and fauna, which is a joy to discover.

Kayaking on Bai Tu Long Bay

Kayaking on Bai Tu Long Bay (Source: Internet)

With a wondrous scenery of beaches and limestone islands as well as tranquil atmosphere, Bai Tu Long Bay is definitely a great place for travelers to dispel the fatigue of the bustle and hustle of daily life. Bai Tu Long is an off the beaten track destination that promises to offer unique experiences.

3. Cat Ba Island

One of the top things to do in Halong Bay is to visit Cat Ba Island. The flawlessly beautiful beaches and diverse ecosystem on the island will undoubtedly surprise you.

Stunning beach on Cat Ba Island

Stunning beach on Cat Ba Island (Source: Internet)

The things that make Cat Ba one of the most famous tourist attractions in Halong Bay is its beaches with white softy sandbanks and aqua-green sea water, perfectly suitable for swimming and strolling. Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2, and Cat Co 3 are the most recommended ones. There is a Cliffside path between Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 3 which is a joy to walk while Cat Co 2 offers lots of bungalows and chalets.

Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park (Source: Internet)

The tropical forest in Cat Ba National Park is another fascinating destination to explore. The designated World Biosphere Reserve is home to many rare animals and plants. You can also hike up the trails towards the summit of the mountain to catch a panoramic view over the whole island.

Above all, Halong Bay is definitely a worth-visiting destination that travelers should not miss. Wandering on the sandy seashores, diving into the turquoise sea water, breathing the fresh air, and enjoying the tropical sunlight will make your Halong Bay Trip an undoubtedly unforgettable memory of your life.