Five best ways to spend your Cat Ba island tour


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


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


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.


Top things to do in Cat Ba Island


Cat Ba is a massive island, northern Vietnam. There’re plenty of things to do here from trekking to kayaking. Here is a recommended list of destination experts

Cat Ba island is the most famous island in Northern Vietnam which offers numerous sandy beaches and magnificent limestone towers. The scenery is as amazing as its legendary neighbor – Halong Bay.
Millions of tourists come to the island every year. How can you really see the island at its best, experience the same island that everyone else did but in your own way creating an unforgettable memory.

That’s why on the following list we pick activities and places that allow you to create such a memorable trip to Cat Ba Island.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island

Enjoy a private beach

Having a private beach for you! It sounds like a privilege that only millionaires can have but it is possible in this Vietnam northern island – Cat Ba Island. You can find Countless beaches nestled between limestone mountains on the island. With a high density of beach, it is not so hard to have a private beach to enjoy the peacefulness.  They are small yet clean and sandy beach.

Most of them do not have a name. There is no map can show you specific. The fun is in the way you wander around with your kayak, hitting a beach with no one else on sight.

Cat Ba Beach

Cat Ba Beach

Hospital Cave

The name says it all. It is a secret hospital built into a cave. During Vietnam War, Hospital Cave served as a bomb shelter and a hospital for Viet Cong leaders and injured soldiers.

Constructed between 1963 and 1965, Hospital Cave has three levels and 17 rooms. The first floor is handmade concrete, and the top two levels are mostly natural rock taking advantage of the terrain. The site is situated on the road to Cat Ba National Park, north of Cat Ba Town.

Hospital Cave is an important historic relic of war which you hardly find in other Vietnam island tours.

Entrance to Hospital Cave

Entrance to Hospital Cave


Cat Ba island is one of the best places for kayaking. Blocked by limestone mountains, the water current is slow and calm. It is suitable for even beginners to kayak here.

If you do not kayak in the group or have a tour guide, remember not to go too far. You should always be careful with direction. Thousand of limestone towers that look alike can turn into a maze.

Kayak in Cat Ba

Kayak in Cat Ba

Trekking in National Park

Cat Ba archipelago itself is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This proves the biodiversity of nature in the islands. With the total area of 26,241 ha, there are three distinct ecosystems in the island which is home to thousand species of fauna and flora. Many of them are endemic and rare. The most significant creature is Golden-headed langur aka Cat Ba Langur, found nowhere else in the world.

Do a trek through the jungle in Cat Ba to discover the wildlife here, you won’t regret it!

Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park

Bike around the local village

Unlike most of the islands in Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba island is inhabited by the human, long time ago. They have lived there generations to generations without compromising the nature. The community is isolated from the world. Recently, tourists have been brought to the village.

Due to its impressive natural landscape and fascinating local life, the village quickly becomes a favorite thing to do in Cat Ba island as well as in Vietnam.

Biking is the best way to go around the village. It keeps you active and healthy while traveling.

Bike in a local village

Bike in a local village

Cat Ba Cruise

Cat Ba Island is among the best destinations for cruising in Vietnam as well as Indochina.

Cruise is not a single activity but package of multiple activities including beach, kayaking, national park, biking and more.

Of course, what exactly you will have vary from cruise to cruise. Basically, you will have a chance to visit a limestone cave, kayak (with or without surcharge), enjoy beaches.

There are diverse options for price and type of cruise from low-rate day cruise to top range overnight cruise.

Cat Ba Cruise

Cat Ba Cruise


Cat Ba – One of the most spectacular Northern Vietnam Islands


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?


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.


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


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.


What to eat in Cat Ba Island Food Tours


Well-known for the unique cuisine, Vietnam is a perfect destination for foodies. There are many Vietnam food tours available to choose, and a food tour to Cat Ba Island is one of the best options. Not only is the island renowned for its perfect natural settings of karst caves, stunning beaches, and diverse ecosystem, Cat Ba is also famous for its fresh seafood. There are plenty of delicious dishes made from seafood that would satisfy your taste buds.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island

Similar to most of the islands and coastal areas, fishing is the main occupation of the locals in Cat Ba. You can easily catch the image of fishing boats or floating fishing villages along the coast and among the limestone islets on the nearby Bays. Therefore, the seafood is extraordinarily fresh and will definitely whet your appetite. The best dishes in Cat Ba Islands that you should not miss are as follows:


Geoduck is a rare kind of mollusk which has very high nutritional value and is proved to be exceptionally good for man. In addition to its significant health value, geoduck has a really good taste.


Geoduck – a Cat Ba specialty

There are many different ways to cook geoduck: salad, grilled, porridge, and especially, spicy-steamed. The taste of the dish depends on the additional ingredients such as onion, garlic, and chilies. The taste is really lip-smacking.

King crab

King Crab

King crab

This big-sized kind of crab is possessed into several dishes such as salad, steamed king crab, sweet and sour crab foot, and baked crab egg. The dishes are often served with chilies, onion, garlic, fresh herbs, etc. The savory taste of these delicacies would definitely grab your taste buds.

Song fish

Song fish is a fish which only lives in the warm water of the Pacific Ocean. There are about 37 species of Song fish and many of them are of significant nutritional and economic value. Especially, the three types of Song fish: “song mo”, “song den”, and “song cao” in Cat Ba Islands are among the top dishes that travelers should not ignore when having Vietnam food tours. Song fish soup, hot pot, steamed and grilled fish are some recommended dishes made from Song fish that you should sample.

Sea snake

Sea snake

Grilled sea snake

Sea snake is found only in the Indian or Pacific Ocean. It has a long (about 1.2 meter) and thin body and is often mistaken for eel and conger. Sea snake is said to be a very nutritious food. It has the delectable taste when being grilled.



Grilled lobsters

Renowned as the king of seafood, lobster is a favorite food of almost every tourist when having a Cat Ba food tour. Lobster is rich in protein and low in fat and calories. The meat and the mud (inside the head) has a great flavor that would satisfy all customers. Lobsters can be cooked in different ways: steam, grill, fry, and make salad.

Shrimp vermicelli

“Pho” (Vermicelli) is what pops up in foreigners’ minds when talking about Vietnam cuisine, and Cat Ba Island has its own variant of this dish. What makes Cat Ba’s “Pho” different from others is the main material: shrimp. Not only is it used to make broth but shrimp is also the main topping. The mouth-watering dish consists of vermicelli, shrimp, tomatoes, onions, and grilled fish. These things altogether create a colorful dish with blissful smell and taste.

Shrimp vermicelli

Shrimp vermicelli

Travelers can try the fresh seafood at any eateries along the coast. They offer delicious dishes at a reasonable price. If you are seeking a more unforgettable moment, you can try cooking and eating seafood on a secluded beach while discovering the Bay. It is wonderful to eat seafood while watching the sun going down.

Of course, there is not only seafood in Cat Ba Island. Thanks to the development of tourism industry, many restaurants, hotels, and resorts have been built. They provide travelers with different kinds of food, from seafood, top Vietnam food to western delicacies. But honestly, nothing can defeat seafood. It would be a big regret to leave the beach without trying seafood, right?

On the whole, the charming beauty of Cat Ba Island lies not only in its spectacular landscape but also in its special cuisine. This is absolutely a perfect destination for Vietnam food tours.

The best dishes to try in Cat Ba Island & where to find them


As the biggest island of world-renowned Halong Bay, Cat Ba is one of the most famous Vietnam northern islands. Featuring magnificent limestone towers which rise above the jade emerald water, this island is a paradise for vacation.

Maybe you already got Cat Ba on your travel list, and you can find a dozen of travel guide to Cat Ba online. However, if you are a foodie traveler and want to know what to satisfy your taste buds here, this article is for you.

This article from catbaisland will introduce you the best dishes to taste and where to find them. We also suggest some tips for a Cat Ba food tour.

Cat Ba Harbor

Cat Ba Harbor

The best dishes in Cat Ba Island

With a long coastline, seafood is a crucial part contributing to Vietnam exquisite cuisine. In the north of Vietnam, you cannot find any other places with better seafood than in Cat Ba Island.

Here is a list of best dishes that you must try:

Seven dishes of horseshoe crab

This is the signature dish of Cat Ba. From only one main ingredient which is fresh horseshoe crab, seven different dishes are made with distinct taste. Seven dishes of the horseshoe crab is a must for any foodies traveling to Cat Ba

Grilled Horseshoe Crab

Grilled Horseshoe Crab


If horseshoe crab is the first, then geoduck must be the second dishes in your Cat Ba food bucket list. Many different recipes can be made out of geoduck, but steaming is the best way to taste it. Served with a well-mixed fish sauce, none can deny a meal with steaming geoduck.



Sea bass

Sea bass is a kind of fishes living in warm water zone. There are total 37 different kinds of seabass. In Vietnam, there are 30 of them raised throughout the country. Cat Ba Island owns three types of seabass with high nutritional values which are cooked into many tasty dishes such as Sea bass soup, steaming, hot pot.

Shrimp noodle (Bun Tom)

Vietnamese noodle, in general, is world-wide famous for a long time. In Cat Ba Island, there is one type of noodle that is so special that many connoisseurs have come to taste.

Cat Ba shrimp noodle use fresh shrimp caught in the local area. It is believed that there is a secret formula that makes the distinct taste of the broth.

If you are going on a culinary tour through Northern Vietnam, you should make a stopover in Cat Ba just to try this unique noodle.

Bun Tom

Bun Tom (Shrimp Noodle)

Where to find them?

Finding the right place to eat is the key of a food tour

If you are on a tight budget but still want to try as much food as you can, food stalls within Cat Ba Central Market are where you should come.

For those who want local seafood but also prefer some European courses on the menu. Bamboo Cafe (1 Thang 4 Street, Cat Hai District, Hai Phong Province) can be a good bet.

Family Bakery (no.194, 1 Thang 4 Street) is the place to taste the best caramel of Cat Ba. The shop is open from to

Floating restaurant

Floating Restaurant

If you are with a group, you should try to eat at floating restaurant. There will be a boat to get you there and take you back the harbor. However be aware that the price can be higher than the restaurants on land.


  • Research and make a list of what you want to try first. Search for the price of each dish on the list beforehand.
  • You are likely to be overcharged at street food stalls. So ask for the menu or price before ordering anything.
  • There is a way to enjoy Cat Ba seafood with much less cost and better quality. Go to the Cat Ba Market and buy seafood yourself. You’d better go with someone who knows how the local or you can go alone but make sure to bargain before paying money. Then bring raw food to your hotel’s restaurant and pay them to cook your meal.
  • A typical meal with one main course and vegetable which Vietnamese people call “Com Binh Dan” cost you around 100,000vnd/meal/person. You should not expect much from these kinds of meal.
  • Don’t hesitate to try any food stall or restaurant you find interested when traveling this Northern Vietnam island. You might figure out the best one with the best dishes ever which are off the recommended list.


A guide to Cat Ba travel


Only 150km away from Hanoi comes the loveable Cat Ba island, a magnetic tourist destination for inbound visitors and travelers from all world’s corners alike. Cat Ba islands is a rich natural ecosystem which includes terrestrial and marine, boasting up to incredibly 350 limestone outcrops.

Since 1998, Cat Ba island has grown rapidly and become a familiar pick for travel enthusiasts. Follow the insights given below for more details into Cat Ba travel guides.

When to go?

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba island

Summer and winter are considered the two peak seasons when this lovely island welcomes huge numbers of visitors. Hot summery days is the time when Cat Ba island welcomes a lot of Vietnamese families who enjoy their summer vacation here as a rewarding gift, especially for themselves after months of industrious work. In winter; however, there are more international tourists than the locals. Tourists from all over the world come for a 2-day-1-night trip or stay for more than 3 nights on the islands to discover such places of interest as Cat Ba national park or visit, learn and live one day as the locals at villages in Viet Hai district.

How to get there?

Transportation from and to Cat Ba island is flexible, from public tourist boat, speed boat, cab, to plane. You can also reach the island by bus. All those transportation are available and depends only on your depart location.

Where to stay?

For those travelers seeking for relaxation and comfort, there offers several 3 and 4-star resorts with well-appointed amenities and excellent services. Those accommodations are ideal places to get chilled, refresh and recharge yourself, get ready to go discover the sheer beauty of the island.

What to do?

Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park

National Park is the first stop you should consider visiting. Here, you will have a chance to discover the richness of local fauna and flora inclusive of roughly 100 endangered ones. In addition, interesting out-door activities like hiking, trekking to the breath-taking peak viewing tower, as well as walking near the frog lake will really make your day!

Caves and beaches: for adventure-seeking travelers, what could be better than embarking on a 2 days/1 night cruise to explore small hidden beaches among stunning limestone cliffs and surrounding natural caves? A short visit to Monkey Island is also highly recommended.

Staying at local houses and living like the locals for 1 or 2 days will definitely a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience in which you can indulge yourself into local culture, try their food, learn about their daily life and activities. Amazing!

Where to shop?

If you ask me is there anywhere in Cat Ba island to go for a shopping, my answer is no. Yes, there isn’t any certain mart or supermarket or shopping mall here, but instead, there are active outdoor local markets where inhabitants run their daily errands. Trust me, it will be a new and fantastic experience to see alive seafood, meat, fresh vegetables, fruits, as well as items such as clothes, household gadgets, etc.

Where to dine?

Food in Cat Ba

In waterfront of Cat Ba harbor, there are plenty of affordable yet delicious restaurants. Some of the best-reviewed ones are Green Mango (near the eastern edge of town, serves Indian, Thai and Vietnamese dishes), Mr. Zoom hotel and restaurant (at 25 1/4  Nui Ngoc street) Phuong Phuong restaurant (at 232, 1/4 street).

Hopefully, these above-mentioned information has given you a closer look at Cat Ba island travel guides. Your time spent in Cat Ba island is bound to be among the most valuable and unforgettable ones in your lifetime.

Top must-do-things in Cat Ba Islands


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.