The complex of Cat Ba archipelago consists of 367 small islands, of which Cat Ba Island is the most famous tourist place in this area. Although it has been known for a long time, Cat Ba still retains many beautiful natural landscapes thanks to its isolation.
Cat Ba Island owning many beautiful beaches is located about 60 km from the center of Hai Phong city (Vietnam), which is chosen for relaxing in Summer or weekend vacations. It is so good to spend about 2-3 days visiting Cat Ba as well as enjoy the airy space of this archipelago.
- Best time to visit Cat Ba Island
- Ways to and in Cat Ba Island
- What to do in Cat Ba
- Tasty food in Cat Ba island
- Hotels and resorts in Cat Ba Island
- Recommended 3-days-2-night schedule
When is the best time to visit Cat Ba Island?
April – October: Cat Ba Island has a cool and fresh climate, so all year round can be alright to travel to this island. But, Cat Ba is most beautiful from the end of April to the beginning of October, this is the time when the number of domestic tourists comes to this island to relax and swim the most.
November – March: International tourists often choose the Cat Ba tour in November to March every year due to the different times of vacation as well as the different interests of each traveler.
Ways to and in Cat Ba Island
To Cat Ba from Hanoi
There are 2 ways:
- The first way is to take the bus or a car goes through Hai Phong City, over Tan Vu – Rach Huyen bridge to Ngot ferry port, then take the ferry to Cat Ba island. It is an average of 2 hours from Hanoi to Ngot ferry port, and around 30 minutes from Ngo ferry port to Cai Vieng ferry port in Cat Bat island.
- The second way is good to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by taxi or a private car on Hai Phong – Halong highway to come to the ferry of Tuan Chau island, this distance takes you around 2.5 hours. Then, you take a ferry to Gia Luan ferry port in Cat Ba Island, taking around 25 minutes.
Traveling in Cat Ba
Cat Ba town is quite small, so you can walk, rent a bicycle or take a tram to visit the town.
If you want to visit the islands or travel to Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay, you need to rent a boat for large groups or buy a package tour ticket.
Fun activities to do in Cat Ba Island
Go swimming and playing games on the beach:
The most famous in Cat Ba must be mentioned Cat Co 1, 2, 3 beaches are very close to the center, in which Cat Co 2 beach is the most beautiful with clear water. From the town center, you can take a motorbike taxi or a taxi to get to the beach, it only costs about 20,000 – 40,000 VND/person.
If you do not bring a swimsuit, you can rent it there, and according to the experience of the locals, you should go ashore before 6:30 pm because then the tide is strong and the waves are high.
Take a boat trip to visit Lan Ha Bay, Monkey Island, and Kayaking:
Usually, kayaking to explore Lan Ha Bay is enjoyed by those who love adventure and mountain climbing.
You will have a chance to paddle on the waves to fully feel each array of limestone mountains, caves, clear water with the immense sky, explore the stretching white sand beaches, rising mountain ranges on the sea.
Not only can you kayak to discover Lan Ha Bay, but you can also row a boat to explore Cai Beo fishing village, monkey island, light cave, dark cave … if you have enough energy.
>> Please see more the lovely caves in Halong Bay.
Visit Cai Beo Ancient Fishing Village:
This place is one of the oldest fishing villages in Vietnam, very famous in Cat Ba. This village is not as noisy as the pier to Lan Ha Bay, but there are many small boats ready to take you around to see the peaceful beauty of the fishing village.
Normally, if you go in groups, you should rent a large boat to enjoy the beautiful scenery while listening to the boatman introduce, tell interesting stories about the fishing village. You can stop right at the households to see firsthand the way to grow seafood here.
Explore Cat Ba National Park:
The next place you should visit when coming to Cat Ba island is Cat Ba National Park. The park is a world biosphere reserve with an extremely diverse ecosystem, about 741 various plant species, many of which are rare.
Therefore, this place attracts also many travelers. Entering this park, you will be able to visit eco-tourism, the landscape inside the national park such as Bat cave, Trang Trung cave, .. and other things in green nature.
This site is also known as Peak 177. The reason that place is so named is that a historical site locates on a hill with an altitude of 177m, including large-sized cannons with a system of tunnels and trenches, which was built in the 40s of the 20th century.
Currently, there are still two very large cannons with a weight of up to several tens of tons. In addition, cannon fortress is also a point for you to admire from above many beautiful places in Cat Ba such as Hon Guoc, Lan Ha bay, …. Through the prism of a telescope, this place becomes the ideal spot for taking beautiful pictures when watching the sunset in the afternoon on Cat Ba island.
Nearby tourist attractions:
Combined with a trip to Cat Ba, you can visit other nearby tourist attractions such as Ha Long Bay – one of the top tourist attractions in Ha Long City, Do Son beach or explore the beautiful city of Hai Phong.
Tasty food in Cat Ba island to try
Coming to Cat Ba, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the cool and clear blue seawater, discover the natural beauty of the sea and islands here. Also, you can enjoy the flavorful dishes of this place: Shrimp vermicelli, steamed geoduck, sea snake, … All are rich in the sea taste and make you not forget when eating them.
Small steamed geoduck is special seafood with high nutritional value. It is not as popular as clams, oysters, snails, etc., but anyone who has ever enjoyed it will not be able to forget this characteristic flavor.
Mantis shrimps are quite big, shiny, and smooth in Cat Ba. Salt-roasted mantis shrimp is a typical delicacy of this type of seafood on this island, made from live mantis shrimp. After processing, the meat is still intact, not crushed, but fragrant and crispy.
Horseshoe crab is considered the most typical dish here. Different ways to cook horseshoe crabs create rich flavors, such as stir-fried horseshoe crab with lemongrass and chili, their grilled eggs, steamed one, fried sweet and sour horseshoe crab’s feet. However, be careful to avoid one that is a very similar horseshoe, the locals call it “So Bien” in Vietnamese (sorry, we cannot find it in English). So Bien is a poisonous one.
Green crab is a popular dish in many regions across the country. Cat Ba blue crabs are caught in the wild, some are raised in brackish lagoons with much other seafood.
Squid is a very popular specialty in Cat Ba. Depending on your taste, you can require the chef of restaurants to process many different delicious dishes to enjoy.
Note to find delicious restaurants:
In Cat Ba, there are many eateries, restaurants on the main streets, which sell fresh and affordable seafood, but you should ask the price before ordering.
If you want to the romantic area when tasting seafood, you can go to the floating rafts on the sea, but eating here is more expensive than in the restaurants in the town center.
When choosing seafood at seafood restaurants in the restaurants on the main roads of Cat Ba, you should select fresh seafood that is still swimming in a glass tank. Do not eat at small eateries because usually seafood there is not fresh, kept a long time, not hygiene.
Hotels and resorts in Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba town is quite small, there are many hotels and motels here, concentrated mainly on the main routes of Cat Ba such as Nui Ngoc street and April 1 street. Tourists mainly focus on staying here. because the room price is suitable, moreover going from this place to the beach is also very close.
Low and Mid-Range Hotel for the young:
For young people who want to spend most of their time on outdoor fun activities, they are usually not picky about accommodation, so they can choose budget hotels not too far from the beach, with reasonable prices.
A few suggested hotels for low and mid-range:
- Minh Hieu Hotel, 46 Tung Dinh Street, Cat Ba Town, Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City
- May Hostel, April 1 Road, Cat Ba Town, Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City
- Nhat Mai, 80 April 1 Road, Cat Ba Town, Cat Hai, Hai Phong
Luxury hotels and resorts suitable for the whole family:
For you who travel with their families, often with young children and the elderly, you should choose luxury hotels near the beach or quiet and comfortable resorts, suitable for the whole family.
Most of the resorts in Cat Ba generally have very good services, with a large campus and a lot of trees, often with play areas for children and walking areas for the whole family.
In addition, the resorts all have private beaches that are also very clean and quiet, you can comfortably swim and play on the beach without fear of crowds and noise.
Here are some resorts that we like and are highly rated by customers with very good reviews, based on data provided by Agoda.com:
- Hôtel Perle d’Orient Cat Ba – MGallery, Add: Cat Co 3 Beach, Cat Ba Town, Hai Phong city, Vietnam
- Nam Cat Island Resort, Add: Cat Hai, Ben Beo, Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong, Vietnam
- Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort, Add: Cat Co 1 Beach, Cat Ba Island, Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City, Vietnam
Recommended 3-Days-and-2-Nights Schedule
Day 01: Hanoi – Cat Ba
Morning: 8:00 am depart to Cat Ba from Hanoi, you will arrive in Cat Ba around 11:00 am, check in hotel, have lunch, and rest.
Afternoon: you are free to swim and play sports at Cat Co 1, 2, and 3 beaches.
Evening: Have dinner, enjoy the fresh seafood dishes of Cat Ba, then take a walk to visit Cat Ba town at night.
Day 2: Explore the tourist attractions of Cat Ba
You can have 2 options to visit and explore Cat Ba.
Option 1: Visit Lan Ha Bay, visit the fishing village, monkey island beach, have lunch on board, return to Cat Ba in the afternoon. If you go in a large group, you can rent a large boat to visit. If not, you can go on a group tour.
Option 2: Visiting Cat Ba national park, cannon fortress, and go swimming.
Day 03: Cat Ba – Hanoi
Morning: Get up early, visit the fishing port, go swimming, buy seafood gifts or take pictures at Cat Ba market. Then check out of the hotel, have lunch, prepare things to leave Cat Ba in the afternoon to return to Hanoi.
Afternoon: 1:00 pm, you board the ferry to leave Cat Ba, return to Hai Phong or Halong, then travel back to Hanoi.