5 ideal routes for Vietnam trekking tours

The-entrance-of-Hang-En-the-third-largest-cave-in-the-world-helloVietnam

After trekking through the terrain with many things on your back, you will have a chance to enjoy the endless beauty of the majestic nature. Vietnam trekking tours today will introduce you 5 recently routes that are extremely attractive to domestic and foreign travelers.

Ta Nang – Phan Dung

The trekking route through the three provinces of Lam Dong – Ninh Thuan – Binh Thuan is attracting people who are interested in exploring in the south. Starting from Ta Nang Commune or Da Quyn Commune, Duc Trong District (Lam Dong Province), it takes about 3 days and 2 nights to experience nearly 60 km of passing forests, climbing hills and wading streams. Visitors will move from a height of 1,100 m to 500m above sea level.

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Green grass hills in Ta Nang – Phan Dung

The most impressive sight is the vast grass hills, the sparse rows of pine trees, the floating clouds far away, a beautiful scenery like peaceful pictures. It is worth to be in top places when trekking Vietnam.

Ta Lien Mountain

Ta Lien Mountain (also known as Co Trau Mountain) belongs to Ta Leng Commune, Tam Duong District, Lai Chau Province. It has the altitude of 2,993m above sea level and a spectacular mountain landscape along with a primitive forest. Obviously, you cannot miss trekking this mountain in the list top things to do in Vietnam.

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Pristine forest on the way to Ta Lien Mountain

You need 3 days 2 nights to climb to the top of Ta Lien. At mid-day of the 1st day, you will start your trip with the road which is a complete path of the villagers. You can have the night at a rock cave that people go or climb to jungle since there is almost no camp on the road. You need to find a flat place near water source before dark. On the first day, it takes 3-4 hours to climb up to 1,900 m. On the next day, climbing to the peak of 2.993 m before 14h to be able to return to the resting place before dark. On the third day, going down the mountain until at noon, you will arrive the edge of the forest and then transfer to Sa Pa before sunset.

Lao Than Mountain

Lao Than Mountain, known as Y Ty roof, is located in Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province. It is the ideal place to combine trekking and “hunting” clouds for 2 days and 1 night.  For those who are nature lovers, this mountain is suitable for your Vietnam tours.

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The breath-taking view of Lao Than Mountain

Moving to Y Ty, you can park your motorbike in a large vegetable farm at the entrance of Phin Ho village (the military airport of the France colonial Period) and begin the journey to reach to the 2800m of Lao Than. Be careful to ask the villagers for guidance as well as bring enough dry food for the journey.

Lung Cung Mountain

Lung Cung Mount is named after a village located in the harshest mountain in Nam Co commune, Mu Cang Chai district, Yen Bai. To explore Lung Cung, you take approximately 2 days and a night in the forest to reach the top and go down the mountain. You can climb from 3 different directions are Chao Chua Chai, Lung Cung or Tu San. The journey will go through a primary forest with beautiful scenery, so you can encounter the unique flora or the branches of maple leaves.

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At the peak of Lung Cung Mountain

Swallow Cave (Hang En)

In the previous year, Son Doong area, Tu Lan or Hang En were very popular spots. Hang En is the third largest cave in the world with its flourishing and unique ecosystem. Many adventurous people who have not registered to Son Doong tour can choose this place to conquer.

The-entrance-of-Hang-En-the-third-largest-cave-in-the-world-helloVietnam

The entrance of Hang En – the third largest cave in the world

From Dong Hoi city, you go along Ho Chi Minh highway in the west about 35km and keep move more than 8km to Hang En cave. The road has many sloping segments through Rao Thuong Stream, Doong Village, and a small village of Van Kieu people located in the core area of ​​Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. Going deep into the cave, you will admire the Rao Thuong stream flowing S-shaped again. When you go deeper inside, you will observe the stalactites of various shapes or nests.

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.

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.

 

Cat Ba – One of the most spectacular Northern Vietnam Islands

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Located at 60 kilometers far from the center of Hai Phong City, Cat Ba is one of the most favorite Northern Vietnam islands of tourists. catbaisland thinks you should spend 2 to 3 days to visit it as well as enjoy the cool atmosphere of this island.

 

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba seashore

1. When to visit?

The weather in Cat Ba is cool and healthy so tourists can come to the island anytime, in any season in a year. In most cases, domestic travelers will choose summer, which is from May to August, to pay Cat Ba a visit. On the contrary, foreign tourists are likely to go to the island in winter and spring from November to March.

It is usually very crowded on summer weekends. Therefore, if you can arrange the time, weekdays will be the most fantastic period to go for a travel on the island. Also, you will be able to avoid hotels running out of rooms or unsatisfied service quality. 

2. How to get to the island?

Hydrofoil Cat Ba

Hydrofoil Cat Ba

From Hanoi, you can take a coach from Gia Lam, Yen Nghia, or Ha Dong Station to get to Hai Phong City. 100,000 VND (about $4.4) is the average price for a ticket. And from Hai Phong City to Cat Ba Island, you will have two options. One is taking a hydrofoil and the other is getting on a ferry boat. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages.

If you have a large budget and don’t want to waste time, a hydrofoil will be your perfect solution. Although you have to spend 220,000 VND (about $9.6) for a ticket, it will take you only 45 minutes to get there. Otherwise, you can get on two ferries and arrive at the island after 1.5 or 2 hours. But, they take only 17,000 VND (75 cents) in total.

Another way for you to visit the island is from Ha Long Bay to Cat Ba. It will be very convenient when you make Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba a tour because that is much simpler than when you travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba. You will not have to find your direction, coach, or starting-point.

A touring car will pick you up at your place and drive you directly to Cat Ba. The only thing you have to is to prepare 480,000 VND ($21.15) to pay for your ticket.

3. What to do for fun?

Sea-bathing

From the center of Cat Ba Town, you can take a walk, rent a motorbike or a tramcar to the beaches. There are three beaches for you to enjoy, including Cat Co I, Cat Co II, and Cat Co III. They are not so vast but relatively private. Especially, their crystalline water and long seashore will satisfy you.

Also, the beaches are connected by a small track running along the mountain slope. Cat Co I is quite substantial but very crowded. Meanwhile, Cat Co II and III are narrower and often have fewer tourists. One thing that you should note is that no one takes a sea-bath after 6.30 pm because the tide rises.

Scuba-diving

Red corals

Red corals

The corals in Cat Ba are very rare, unlike those in many other Vietnam islands. On the reefs under Cat Ba, you will find numerous groups of red corals and valuable seafood, such as abalones, pearls, and lobsters. Also, the colorful shoals of fish swimming in the blue water, making the borders of the island one of the most striking places in the world.

If you have a chance to try scuba-diving into the bottom of the sea under Cat Ba Island, you will be immediately blown away by the spectacular marine life. Those are the things that you can only imagine or see on Discovery programs. To experience this special form of entertainment, you can come to Cat Ba Monkey Island Resort Scuba-diving Center.

It charges 1 million VND (about $44) for 30 minutes scuba-diving under the instructions of a trainer.

Becoming one with the nature of Cat Ba National Park

The World Biosphere Reserve – Cat Ba National Park, which have an abundant flora and fauna, is definitely a must-visit destination. If you travel with your children, the park will be an ideal place for them to learn about nature. There are a great number of rare and valuable species still being preserved in the park, such as redhead monkeys, white-head langurs, magpies, and white-collared crows.

You can experience the feelings while walking in the forest and riding a bike along the tracks. The wind blowing through your hair and the fresh air slowly caressing your skin will be the most extraordinary memories of your life. Also, don’t forget to try some special treats of Cat Ba Park, including wild honey and hibiscus tea.

Kayaking to visit Lan Ha Bay

Kayaking is often considered the most exciting Vietnam cruise ever.

Visiting the caves in Cat Ba Island by a kayak will be the most appropriate activity for adventurous travelers. Don’t worry if you never ride a kayak before because it is not difficult at all. You will only need about 5-10 minutes to get used to it. It takes 50,000 VND (about $2.2) to rent a kayak and you can use it all day.

Lan Ha Bay is most stunning in autumn. The mild sunlight shining through the water combining with fresh breezes will make you incredibly relaxed. Most tourists are fond of Lan Ha Bay due to its neglected beauty and sexy peaceful seashore on the foot of the bay. It will make your trip to one of the most spectacular Northern Vietnam islands perfect.

 

Halong Bay Getaway – a perfect escape from the bustling city life

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The majestic beauty of Halong Bay is undeniable. Millions of tourists travel here each year to discover this famous UNESCO World Heritage. The exquisite natural settings of limestone islets and blue sea water of Halong Bay is a huge appeal to both local and foreign tourists.

Halong Bay travel, hence, is usually considered one of the best northern Vietnam tours thanks to the wonderful experience it offers. Lead your way to the following destinations to have the best Halong Bay getaway.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay – a new Wonder of the World

This new Wonder of the World possesses magnificent scenery with more than 1,600 limestone islands surrounded by turquoise sea water. It is a perfect model of Karst Cave Landscape. Most of the islands and islets there remain intact and unaffected by human activities. Taking a normal Vietnam cruise to Halong Bay, you will have a four-to-six-hour excursion on the Bay and visit the most popular tourist plots such as the spectacular Thien Cung Cave and the beautiful and symbolic Ga Choi Islets.

Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot Cave

Thien Cung Cave and Dau Go Cave are the must-visit destinations in Halong Bay. The caves consist of majestic karst formations which look like animals in varying poses. With the light reflecting from the water, the caves look even more incredible and awe-inspiring. It would be a big regret if you travel to Vietnam but not pay a visit to these fascinating caves.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island is the convergence of wild forest and magnificent beaches, offering great experiences for travelers from all over the world. The island, hence, is included in many northern Vietnam tours. Visiting Cat Ba, tourists will have a chance to immerse themselves in the wilderness of nature.

Cat Ba Island

Magnificent beach on Cat Ba Island

Because of the rapid development of tourism, there appear a series of hotels and resorts along its stunning beaches; however, the rest of the island still preserves its untouched scenery. The beaches (Cat Co 1, 2, 3) are not only perfect for swimming but the colgate-white sandbanks are also ideal for couples to walk hand-in-hand and watch the sunset together.

The rainforest in Cat Ba National Park is another attraction of the island. Travelers will walk through dense jungles, come across streams, and see different types of flora and fauna of the tropical forest. Climbing up the rocky mountain and visiting some marvelous limestone caves are also interesting. Not only do the cave look wonderful but the surroundings are also awe-inspiring.

Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay from above

Known as the twin of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is an undiscovered land with perfect seascapes. However, unlike its famous neighbor, Lan Ha Bay has long been famed for its exclusive scenery with an intense concentration of pristine limestone mountains by which the sea surface is partitioned into smaller bays and gulfs. If you are worried about the dense flocks of tourists in Halong Bay tour, Lan Ha Bay is where you should head your way to. 

Nestled to the south of Cat Ba Island, the Bay is home to many pristine sandy beaches. Many of them stand between two mountains. It would be extremely relaxed to dive into the azure-blue water or lie on the soft sandy beach after a long day of exploration.

Watch the sunset on cruise

Watch the sunset on cruise

Lan Ha Bay is the perfect place for an overnight voyage and other activities. It is wonderful to watch the glorious sunset on the Bay, to have dinner at a secluded beach, or watch the night sky full of blazing stars and enjoy the fresh air. The romantic scenery of Lan Ha Bay by night is extraordinarily perfect for couples.

Kayaking on Lan Ha Bay

Kayaking on Lan Ha Bay

Another fascinating activity to do in Lan Ha Bay is kayaking. You will have the chance to paddle the kayak around the turquoise sea water of the East Coast, explore the caves, and visit the less-visited areas. The awe-inspiring seascapes will definitely blow your mind away.

Naturally blessed with the exquisite scenery of aqua-green seas and limestone islets, Halong Bay is definitely a should-visit destination in any northern Vietnam tours. Paying a visit to Halong Bay, you will be amazed by the incredible beauty of the bay and forget all the stresses of the bustling life. Strolling on the stunning beaches, enjoying the tropical sunshine, and kayaking to the secluded areas, your trip to Halong Bay will surely leave an everlasting memory.

 

Top must-do-things in Cat Ba Islands

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If you are planning to pay a visit to Halong Bay, Vietnam, don’t forget to spare your time embracing the gorgeous natural beauty of Cat Ba, an attractive island within the area of Halong Bay that welcomes huge numbers of visitors every year.

In addition to the sheer beauty adorned by Mother Nature, Cat Ba islands have amazing activities on offer, a perfect spot to chill, relax and indulge in outside activities. Check out the list below for closer insights!

Check out Cannon Fort

Cannon Fort

The first must-do-thing in Cat Ba Islands to be recommended is to head out and reach the famous Cannon Fort – a breath-taking tourist destination lying on top the Cat Ba Island’s jungle-clad hill. You will definitely be amazed by the panorama views outlooking colorful tangles of fishing boats in the faraway harbor as well as the karst-punctuated sea beyond. More importantly, there is a lot of history buried here, at the Cannon Fort, such as the tunnels and gun emplacements. This is an ample opportunity for you all to learn something about Vietnam history!

Wander into the Hospital Cave

Hospital Cave

Taking a slow walk around the Hospital Cave is another interesting and meaningful thing you should do in Cat Ba Islands, especially for those who have a background in medicine. During the American War in Vietnam, Hospital Cave served both as a safe house for VC leaders and a secret, bomb-proof hospital. Since its construction in the 1963s, this incredibly well-built three-story feat of engineering, with 17 rooms inclusive of a huge natural cavern and an old operating theatre, was in constant use up until 1975.

Take a look at Butterfly Valley

Butterfly Valley

Butterfly Valley

There are not as many butterflies here as you would imagine but Butterfly Valley is surely a place of romance. If you are a nature lover, I bet you will love the stunning landscape around and fall even harder with the atmosphere here. It is absolutely peaceful and calm. What an ideal stop for relaxation! Although Butterfly Valley is a little way off and hard to reach, visitors flocks here every year to enjoy the amazing gift of nature. Bring your camera along to capture one of the most memorable moments with your loved ones!

Visit monkey island

monkey island

Last but not least, visit the surprising monkey island to fully enjoy Cat Ba travel. As can be referred from the name, this island has myriads of naughty, yet lovely monkeys. Your kids are bound to get excited looking and playing with those animated animals. However, watch out because the monkeys may steal your food sometimes! There is also a lot more at Monkey Island than just solely monkeys. A walk to the peak will not only enhance the bond with your companions but it also offers amazing views of Halong bay from above. Such a rewarding experience!

Suggested above are some must-do-things in Cat Ba Islands. Hopefully, that information will be useful in your coming vacation in Vietnam and don’t forget to share your wonderful experience with catbaisland.

Cat Ba Bay Cruise Tour – Entrance to the green lung of the world

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You are gasping of the city’s dusk and smoke; you are looking for more fresh air and an escape for a while; you are having the intention of lifting your butt off the chair? Leave your city behind and take a cruise tour in Cat Ba Bay, you will definitely bring yourself some air from the green lung of the world.

1. Cat Ba Bay – another holder of the world’s vitality

Dashingly heading to the North of Vietnam, travelers will discover another magnificent wonder of the world nestling itself calmly near Ha Long Bay, cradling all of its evergreens to the heart as dearly as it used to. In some ways of calling, it is preferable to use “bay”, but Cat Ba is actually an archipelago consisting of 367 small islands, in which Cat Ba island lying about 25 km from Ha Long Bay is related to the historic legend of Vietnamese folks.  

Cat Ba Archipelago

Cat Ba Archipelago

Cat Ba Bay is more than just a beauty to be preserved. Its people praise it not only for its originality of the wild and majestic nature of natural grey mounts and infinitive green forests but its significantly high natural value as the arsenal of the world’s vitality recognized by the UNESCO. For many people, Cat Ba Bay is not just an archipelago, it is a white pearl hidden its purity in layers of dust and sand. 

Amongst great numbers of amazing sub-islands in the bay, Cat Ba is the most magnificent in size and is also the largest island compared to more than 1 000 ones in Ha Long Bay. Cat Ba is also known as the pearl island owning the beauty of both history and the wilderness. The name “Cat Ba” is actually a slang of “Các Bà”, which means “The ladies”. The essence of the name is easily explained. Vietnam, as well as most other Asian countries, has numerous mysterious mists and legends. Cat Ba island is rumored or in fact, has a connection with the story of Gióng – the God of war riding with his iron horse, who helped Vietnam fought against its enemy in the past. Besides Cat Ba Island, there is Cat Ong Island and “Cát Ông” is the slang of “Các Ông” which means “The Gentlemen”. In the fight of Gióng, at the island, the gentlemen helped Gióng in fighting the enemy while on this side, the ladies were on another island to assist them. That is why the two islands were named this way.

Visiting the bay, not only can you capture the beauty of nature in your eyes, but you can also be the participant of various intriguing festivals, in which “The Fishing Village” on the 1st of April which marks the milestone when Uncle Ho dropped by the fishing village and “The Lady Temple” are two highlights of the local festivals.

2. Great time to go on a Cat Ba Bay Cruise Tour

Usually, the best time to travel to Cat Ba is in the summer from June to July because it is a great season for discovering the islands and go to the beach. However, most foreign travelers often go to Cat Ba from November to March whether local travelers usually take the tour from April to October. If you travel to Cat Ba in spring, especially at this time of the year, remember to bring along lumber-jacket in case it gets cold at night.

3. Cat Ba tour from Hanoi

If you travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba Bay by tour, there will be numerous of ways and agents for you to book from. For Cat Ba is located near Hai Phong city, which is not far from Hanoi,  it will only take about 2-3 hours to get to the city. From here, tourists will travel on a cruise to the bay. Usually, people will spend about 2-3 days in Cat Ba. Normally, tour to Cat Ba Bay from Hanoi is a whole package covering you from A to Z. An ordinary tour pack will often have common timeline Hanoi-Cat Ba-Hanoi.

The price for a day tour in Cat Ba is very cheap and affordable in the variety of Vietnam tours. Some tour operators even offer a free tour for children from 1 to 4 years old and discount for children from 5. A 2-day-1-night round trip from Hanoi to Cat Ba will normally cost from 1.500.000 dongs per person. Because Cat Ba archipelago includes mostly islands, so it will be more suitable for relaxing and participating in sea-side activities than visiting all the destinations because it will be very time-consuming.

For Cat Ba, we advise that you should book a full tour package from Hanoi since the destination is archipelago so you will have to travel on a cruise a lot; a great tour guide in the trip will also be more helpful. Therefore, a tour should cover you better than traveling on your own.

However, if you still want to have the trip by yourself, you can go on a coach from Hanoi to Hai Phong and from Hai Phong to the bay. There are many coach agents around Hanoi, most coaches offer around 47 seats and the ticket price ranges from 80 000 dongs. 

Coaches you can take

Coaches, you can take

From Hai Phong, there are three ways that you can choose either to get to Cat Ba Bay: travel by ferry, travel by bullet train then take a bus or coach or travel by hydrofoil boat.

For the first option, you can travel from Hai Phong to Đình Vũ harbor by taxi or car; from there, buy a ticket and take two ferry trips. The first one will begin at Đình Vũ harbor, you will then travel to Gót station in about 45 minutes. From Gót, take another ferry to Cái Viềng station and travel another 20 km by car or taxi from there to Cat Ba Bay. 

Ferry from Hai Phong to Cat Ba

Ferry from Hai Phong to Cat Ba

For the second one, you travel from the center of Hai Phong to Bính Station. From Bính, you can choose either to travel by speedboat or hydrofoil boat to the bay. For most tourists who prefer to go cheap, they will usually choose to travel by speedboat – the Hadeco with the price from 200.000 to 250.000 dongs per person. However, Hadeco only takes you to Cái Viềng station, from Cái Viềng, you must take a bus to the bay. The hydrofoil boat will take you straight from Bính to Cat Ba.

4. Cruise tour in Cat Ba Bay

As mentioned above, there is nothing much in Cat Ba except for islands, lots and lots of islands! For that reason, traveling to Cat Ba Bay is similar to a journey of exploring different kinds of islands and get yourself a good time relaxing and enjoying life as a true seaside local. Most of the tour will be traveling on a cruise from the harbor to different islands. Normally, it will take one day or two to travel to most main islands in the bay, exploring different caves and enjoy different activities at night by the sea such as dancing or camping. A cruise tour to Cat Ba Bay at day will mostly include traveling to different islands such as Cat Ba Island, Monkey Island, Cat Ong Island and so on.

In the afternoon, you can either choose to have lunch on board, they serve great seafood here with a considerable price or choose to eat out at near restaurants. However, you should have lunch on board because it is safer, cheaper but still very appetizing.

At night, you should gather around by the beach, light up the fire and have an outdoor party. Sometimes local people on the island offer fire dancing and wonderful games to enjoy at night. If you travel on special occasion, you are lucky enough to take part in some festivals.

Where to stay in Cat Ba?

Most people traveling a long day trip from 2 to 3 days will wonder where to stay when there are so many islands. If you are traveling with a travel agent, do not worry because the tour pack has all you need for accommodation that most fit the itinerary. If you tend to travel on your own, you can take a look at this list.

Catba Island Resort & Spa (4-star hotel)

As a 4-star hotel, the quality and service are worthy of its reputation. If you want a fine place for relaxation, come to Catba Island Resort.
Address: Cát Cò 1, Cát Bà Island, Cát Bà Archipelago
Price range: From $50

Monkey Island Resort (3-star hotel)

Monkey Island is a great isolated one in Cat Ba Archipelago. According to ratings, a Monkey is a fine place with great view and appropriate service for a 3-star.
Address: Beach 2, Monkey Island, Cát Bà Archipelago
Price range: From $50

Hung Long Harbour Hotel (3-star hotel)

Located near the crowded market, Hung Long Hotel will definitely bring you much joy while staying in the place.
AddressL #268, 1st April Street, Cát Bà Archipelago
Price range: From $40

Activities at night

There are many things that you can do when the night falls on Cat Ba Bay. Most people will make use of their night to walk along the beach with their lovers, family or even alone. Some even throw a party near the seashore. You can make yourself some BBQ while enjoying a night of chill.

While some want to play it safe, some want to go beyond the border. One of the must-try experience, when you travel to Cat Ba, is to rent a kayak, then sail to Lan Hạ Bay and camp there for the night.

Camping at night

Camping at night

If you stay near the market, you can also go to the night market nearby to get yourself some souvenirs.

In addition, you will absolutely love renting a bike for two to ride around the town. With only 50.000 dongs, you can totally enjoy a fantastic night of your own.

Going to the bar or staying at a café is a really cool activity at Cat Ba. Most foreigners enjoy this kind than the others. Despite whatever activities you choose, Cat Ba will always bring you joy along the way.

5. Destinations of great amazement in Cat Ba Bay

Cat Ba Beaches

There are lots of different beaches in Cat Ba such as Cát Cò 1, 2, 3 are the three ones located near the center, in which, Cát Cò 2 is always praised for its beauty with the pure and crystal clear water. The isolated Monkey Island is a really amazing one with a wonderful beach of deep blue water. If you stay on the island, you can visit the beach every day and you can even participate in parachuting, scuba diving and surfing here. The price for these ranges from 500.000 dongs. However, you should always remember that “safety’s first”. You can either catch a taxi or go on foot if you are near the place. It is advisory that you get to the shore before 6:30 pm because it is when the tide rises.

Cat Ba beaches

Cat Ba beaches

Monkey Island

This wonderful island is a great place you should stay if you decide to get yourself a place in Cat Ba. Originally, the place is called Monkey Island because little monkeys usually come down to the beach to enjoy their day. Furthermore, if you want to enjoy diving in a nearby center, a coach will guide you with the price of 1 000 000 dongs for 30 minutes.

Monkey Island

Monkey Island

Lan Hạ Bay

Lan Hạ Bay is one of the most popular destinations in Cat Ba Archipelago. Especially for travelers who love some adventures and a little bit of challenge on the way, Lan Hạ will definitely a must-see destination on their way. Lan Hạ is such a wonderful place which now has still kept the pure silhouette of nature with white sand dunes, the antique and majestic limestones and ranges of mountains covering the bay. The most-chosen activity here is kayaking. People would love to take a kayak tour and sailing around the bay. Sometimes, they even stay the night camping there. Price for the whole package of a kayak tour is about $10 but if you want to take a tour to see some colorful corals, it will range around $15 to $20.

Cái Bèo Old Fishing Village

Sailing kayak from Lan Hạ Bay, you can easily get to Cái Bèo old fishing village. Cái Bèo is the oldest village in the area. This place is not so crowded or busy but the people are always friendly and so is the village. The villagers will always ready to take you for a trip to feel the peaceful life of the bay.

Cát Bà National Garden

Cat Ba national garden is one of the places that you must visit. This is exactly the center of the green lung where the world’s vitality is stored. The garden consists of nearly 1 000 floral species in which many should be highly preserved. Besides the great natural sites, you can also drop by some wonderful caves such as Trang Trung or the Bat Cave. The entrance fee to the national garden is around 15.000 dongs. With just only 15.000 dongs, what you will receive in mental value is even more.

Thần Công Fortress

Located on a 177-meter mount, Thần Công is a historical attraction which accompanied with Cát Bà people in two great fights against the French and the American in the 40s of the 20th century. Up until now, the two cannons are still being preserved and displayed for visitors. From the fortress, you can also discover many other beauties from the height of nearly 200 meters.

 

Cat Ba travel reviews

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Referred to as the “Pearl Island” (Dao Ngoc in Vietnamese), Cat Ba is the biggest and the most famous island in Halong Bay, an island more beautiful than what you could have ever imagined. With deserted beaches, gentle coastlines, rugged limestone mountains, and jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets, Cat Ba Island in Haiphong City in Northern Vietnam is as close to a tropical idyll as you will find in Southeast Asia.

Things to do on Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island

When you are on Cat Ba beach, the first thing you think is that it is like something straight out of a postcard. It offers clean blue water and strengthened white sand as far as you can see and pristine charm despite the influx of visitors!

Cat Ba Island is a place where you can explore white clean sand beaches. Cat Ba’s waters are absolutely spectacular – warm, clear, crystal blue without rough waves that are perfect for swimming, diving, sport fishing, and more.

Indulge in some interesting water activities

Diving in Cat Ba

Diving in Cat Ba

Where there are islands, there is water, and Cat Ba has a wide range of water sports and outdoor activities in which you can take part. No matter what you choose to enjoy the waters of Cat Ba Island, be safe.

For those who want to discover the mysterious undersea world, there are a lot of red coral reefs, colorful flocks of fish together with varied rare sea creatures such as dragon shrimp, abalone, pearl, lobster making it a perfect spot for diving. Get ready to dive into open waters, feel the sweet spot of neither sinking nor floating and see with your own eyes the fantastic and exceptional beauty of the marine life. What a truly incredible experience!

Visit quaint fishing villages

Viet Hai fishing village

Viet Hai fishing village

Not only by the sea that surrounds it, the beauty of Cat Ba is also defined by its cultural jewel. To get a true taste of island life, head to Viet Hai fishing village – located approximately 18 km from Cat Ba Island. The warm-hearted and smiley fishermen make it a destination that ought to be on your bucket list. One night at one of the homestays here is recommended to know more about a community of people living on boats and to discover the secrets of the sea.

Experience rock climbing

Rock climbing

Rock climbing

If you want to get a whole body workout, a sun tanning, some quality time spent with your friends or loved one, and a refreshing mental challenge, there is no better choice than rock climbing. It is also such a great way into the world of adventure sports and to admire the karst landscape and amazing sea cliffs of Cat Ba Island. There are a lot of climbing routes and the best of which are Ben Beo Wall and Butterfly Valley together with Offenheimer’s Creation and Slo Pony at Tiger beach.

From crystal blue waters to spectacular karst landscape, Cat Ba Island is an adventurer’s paradise. There is never a shortage of destinations to visit, sights to see, and things to do.

Discovering Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park

With 30 national parks in 63 provinces, there is a good chance you will not have to travel far to find a National Park to explore in Vietnam. Among them, Cat Ba National Park is outstanding for its pristine abundant biodiversity. The wonders on display in Cat Ba National Park go far beyond a few bushes and trees.

Recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, Cat Ba national park has nearly 60 exotic animal and plant species of animals in Vietnam and the world's Red Book including chamois, kingfisher, bile, cao cat, yellow monkey, and the highly endangered golden-headed langur.

Millions of Europeans flock to this Northern Vietnam island every summer, but Cat Ba still exhibits a laid-back charm. Depending on which type of vacation you take, you will certainly find classic Gulf of Tonkin’s blue waters, incredible mountain views, and its cultural offerings. If you have ever dreamed of being a castaway in Northern Vietnam, Cat Ba Island is for you.