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.