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Cat Ba Island Travel Guide

All things need to know before travelling to Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba island – Hai Phong archipelago includes 367 large and small islands. Cat Ba Island – also famous as Pearl Island – is a beautiful island with its nature and has great potential for tourism development. Although it has been known for a long time, Cat Ba still retains its wild nature thanks to its isolation. Let’s explore this beautiful island with Origin Vietnam.

1. Where is Cat Ba Island?

Cat Ba Island belongs to Cat Ba archipelago, Cat Hai district, Hai Phong city, Vietnam. Located in the south of Ha Long Bay, off the coast of Hai Phong city and Quang Ninh province. About 30 km east of Hai Phong city center, about 25 km south of Ha Long city and about 155 km southeast of Hanoi capital.

2. How is Cat Ba island unique?

Cat Ba Island is the largest island in the Cat Ba archipelago, with an area of about 100 km2. The island has many rolling mountains, vast primeval forests, along with beautiful, clear, and romantic beaches. Cat Ba is one of Vietnam’s famous tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year.

This is a submerged tropical karst terrain area, with a unique landscape similar to Ha Long Bay. The islands are single or clustered karst peaks or towers, with steep cliffs floating above the clear blue sea. Especially there are many beautiful caves and karst valleys on Cat Ba island, such as: Trung Trang, Hung Son, Gia Luan, Tai Lai (now called Viet Hai),…

It is even more unique…

Cat Ba archipelago has tropical rainforest on limestone islands, mangrove forests, coral reefs, and seagrass. The system of caves and lakes is a place full of biodiversity conservation values. Ensuring the requirements of the world biosphere reserve according to UNESCO regulations. On December 2, 2004, UNESCO officially recognized this place as a World Biosphere Reserve.

The total area of Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve is more than 26,000 hectares. Including Cat Ba National Park and more than half of Lan Ha Bay area. With 2 core zones (strict conservation and no human impact), 2 buffer zones (allowing limited economic development but combined with conservation) and 2 transition zones (economic development).

One of the famous landmarks that attracts tourists to Cat Ba island is Lan Ha Bay. This is one of the most beautiful bays in the world. It locates in the east of Cat Ba Island and is an adjacent bridge between Cat Ba Island and Ha Long Bay.

The area of the bay is over 7,000 hectares with more than 400 large and small islands and 139 small sandy beaches surrounding it. Meanwhile, more than 5,400 hectares are under the management of the World Biosphere Reserve recognized by UNESCO – Cat Ba National Park.

3. When is the best time to visit Cat Ba island?

  • Summer is the time for domestic tourists to travel to Cat Ba Hai Phong. From April to October, Cat Ba’s climate is relatively cool, very suitable for relaxation and swimming. Especially there are many tourists in May, June, and July traveling to Cat Ba island. However, this is also the rainy and stormy season, you need to consider when traveling to Cat Ba island at this time.
  • In July and August, the sea is rough. Paying attention to the weather forecast for the next 3 – 5 days to make sure you do not have to cancel your trip to Cat Ba island due to storms.
  • From November to March, Cat Ba Island is quite quiet and deserted, the whole town seems to hibernate. However, this is the right time to experience and explore the natural beauty here. In winter, this place mainly welcomes international tourists to relax.

Thus, the ideal time to travel, visit and relax on Cat Ba island is from September to April next year.

4. How to get to Cat Ba island?

4.1 From Hanoi to Cat Ba island

From Hanoi, there are many ways to move to Cat Ba Hai Phong. According to the experience of many tourists traveling to Cat Ba, with Cat Ba tours, you can catch a bus to Hai Phong city bus station. Or for those who love to explore, motorbikes are the most suitable vehicle.

Besides, you can also go from Hanoi towards Ha Long to reach Tuan Chau. From Tuan Chau there will be a boat to Cat Ba. Combining a visit to Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba will be an interesting experience for your travel itinerary.

In addition, from Hanoi, you can also travel by train to Hai Phong. After that, you go to Got ferry to buy a speedboat ticket to Cat Ba, which is very close. With this form of transportation, the cost of going to Cat Ba is very economical.

And if you are in Central or Southern Vietnam. You can take a flight to Hanoi or Cat Bi airport in Hai Phong to move to Cat Ba quickly and conveniently.

From Hai Phong to Cat Ba tourist area, taking the cable car is the most popular choice. Cat Ba cable car route starts from Cat Hai island and ends at Cai Vieng wharf area. The entire route has a total length of 3,955m, recognized as the highest cable car line in the world.

4.2 Means of transportation on Cat Ba island

Traveling to Cat Ba Island, you have many options for transportation such as:

  • By bicycle: This is a suitable choice for those who want to explore and enjoy the scenery on the island.
  • By electric vehicle: Electric vehicle is the most common means of transport when traveling to Cat Ba. This form of transportation is suitable for large groups of people, without having to rent a car or wait too long.
  • By motorbike: For only 150,000 VND, you can rent a motorbike to easily explore all places on the island.
  • By walking: Cat Ba town is not too large. You can freely walk on long beaches with white sand to see the entire beauty of Cat Ba.

5. Exploring the beauty of Cat Ba island

5.1. Exploring and checking-in Cat Ba’s most beautiful tourist destinations

When traveling to Cat Ba Hai Phong, do not forget to stop and check-in at:

5.1.1 Cat Co Beach:

Cat Co Beach is one of the tourist destinations in Cat Ba that attracts a large number of visitors. The beach is divided into 3 areas, surrounded by mountains and forests. Explaining the name Cat Co, people here believe that, in the early days, when heaven and earth were still close together. Fairies in heaven often transformed into flocks of white storks and descended here to bathe and enjoy. Up to now, Cat Co still retains its wild beauty as if no human hands had ever explored it.

5.1.2 Cat Ba National Park:

Visiting Cat Ba National Park, you will feel more clearly than ever the majestic nature. This is the habitat of rare langur species listed in the red book. Coming here, you can walk and cycle under the forest canopy. Trying wild honey or rose tea is also very interesting. Standing on the top of Ngu Lam peak and looking down, you will definitely feel overwhelmed by the “surreal” picture of nature here.

5.1.3 Monkey Island:

This is a small island not too far from Cat Ba island. There are many monkeys on the island, you can freely play with these cunning animals. However, as recommended by the island management, you should not tease or feed the monkeys strange foods.

5.1.4 Lan Ha Bay:

Lan Ha is like a miniature Ha Long with countless small islands and sandy beaches at the foot of rocky mountains. When traveling to Cat Ba, you do not forget to take a boat to visit the beach, going to Van Gia floating fishing village to explore the life of fishermen at sea.

5.1.5 Cai Beo fishing village:

This is the oldest fishing village in Vietnam. In the fishing village, there are about 300 households engaged in cage fish farming and sea fishing. Coming here, you can have lunch right on the sea with the freshest seafood dishes. If you’re bored of visiting the fishing village, you can continue kayaking towards Monkey Island.

5.1.6 Cannon fortress:

The cannon fortress is located on the 177m peak of a hill. In terms of military tactics, this position is considered an ideal defense point. During World War II, the Indochina War and the Vietnam War, the cannon fortress was used for military purposes. From the fort, you will have a beautiful view of Lan Ha Bay.

5.2. Experience interesting activities on Cat Ba Island

In order to exploring famous tourist destinations. Coming to Cat Ba Hai Phong, you will also experience interesting activities:

5.2.1 Kayaking:

Sitting on a kayak floating in the middle of the sea, wriggling into caves in rocky crevices. You will love the charming water scenery that nature has bestowed on Cat Ba.

5.2.2 Overnight on a cruise:

This will be an interesting experience during your trip to Cat Ba Hai Phong. You will be able to watch the sunset over the horizon or wake up early to catch the first rays of sunlight. Enjoying premium dishes made by famous chefs,… right on the sea.

5.2.3 Scuba diving to see coral:

This activity promises to bring you memorable experiences. Witness with your own eyes many rare seafood species and watch schools of fish swimming around. You will have a different perspective on ocean life.

6. Specialties when traveling to Cat Ba island

Coming to Cat Ba Island, in addition to relaxing moments, explore outdoor activities. You can also enjoy famous delicious specialties.

6.1. Steamed blue crab

Cat Ba blue crabs are caught naturally or raised in brackish water lagoons. Fresh, plump crabs are prepared in the way of fishing villagers, retaining just the right amount of sweetness. A plate of steamed blue crabs is always a menu not to be missed if traveling to Cat Ba Hai Phong.

6.2. Cat Ba shrimp noodle soup

Traveling to Cat Ba Hai Phong without enjoying the specialty shrimp vermicelli is truly a mistake. This is a dish with the typical flavor of the sea, meticulously prepared.

Peeling fresh shrimp, stir-fry with dried onions and wood ear mushrooms until firm. The noodles are boiled in boiling water, placed in a bowl, then add shrimp, fish cakes, lot leaf rolls, a little chopped laksa leaves and a few segments of tomatoes. The broth made from bones and shrimp shells is sweet. Enjoying a bowl of vermicelli, you will feel the sweetness of shrimp and fish mixed with the sweetness of the bones, awakening the taste buds of all visitors.

6.3. Mantis shrimp is roasted with salt

The characteristic of the mantis shrimp in Cat Ba is their round, big and shiny body. To get delicious salt-roasted mantis shrimp, people have to go to the market early and choose to buy fresh mantis shrimp. When processing, the meat must be intact, not bruised. The salt-roasted mantis has a unique delicious flavor, attracting all of you.

6.4. Sea horseshoe crab (Sam)

Cat Ba beach in Hai Phong has many horseshoe crabs. Sea horseshoe crab is processed into many delicious and nutritious dishes with characteristics of the sea such as: Sam sea salad, grilled Sam sea, sweet and sour Sam sea, grilled Sam sea eggs,…

According to the indigenous people, horseshoe crabs always go together. If one is caught, the other will die as well. Therefore, if you enjoy sea buckthorn, you must order both to avoid “cold stomach”.

6.5. Snout (Tu Hai)

The snout is a nutritious seafood. The snout lives in many different seas, but the most delicious is on Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong. This seafood can be processed into many dishes such as geoduck salad, geoduck porridge, geoduck grilled with onion fat,…

The snout meat is sweet, chewy and fragrant. When traveling to Cat Ba Island, you must definitely try steamed snout or grilled snout with onion fat. The salty flavor of the sea blends with the smooth dipping sauce to create a wonderful dish that captivates visitors.

7. Accommodation when traveling to Cat Ba island

Cat Ba Island tourism is on the rise. It is not difficult for you to find a suitable place to stay in the town center area. If you want to save money, you can choose Cat Ba Town Hotels. If you want a luxurious vacation, you also have many 5-star hotel options in Cat Ba Town.

And one of the most valuable suggestions for you is Cat Ba Cruise. Although, there are hotels everywhere, but going on a cruise in Cat Ba is an extremely unique experience, staying overnight on a 5-star cruise. In the morning, you wake up to a rosy sunrise, in the afternoon watch the romantic sunset and in the evening enjoy special cuisine on the sea,…It will be an unforgettable experience in your life. The yacht’s design like a luxury hotel with full 5-star amenities.

Some high-end hotels in Cat Ba island you can refer to are:

  • Wyndham Grand Flamingo Cat Ba Resort.
  • Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort.
  • Cat Ba Island Resort & Spa.
  • Perle d’Orient Hotel Cat Ba – MGallery.
  • Catba Sunrise Resort.

8. Some important notes when traveling to Cat Ba island

To make your trip safe, more complete and meaningful, you need to refer to the following notes:

  • The weather in Cat Ba is quite cold at night. According to Cat Ba travel experience, bring warm clothes in the winter or a thin jacket in the summer to avoid catching a cold.
  • All services on Cat Ba have intermediaries. To avoid buying bad products at high prices, visitors should research carefully and consult prices before using the service.
  • Brokers are usually inviting the night squid fishing activity. However, there are very few houseboats that guarantee this quality of service. You need to be careful with invitations if you are not sure of trust.
  • On holidays, days off, and weekends, many tourists flock to Cat Ba, making service prices much higher. To save costs and avoid waiting, it’s best to avoid going at this time.

Blessed by nature with many attractive landscapes, traveling to Cat Ba island always attracts all tourists. Hopefully, the useful information about Cat Ba island tourism that we provide above will help you plan a suitable schedule.

If you are planning your upcoming tours to Cat Ba island, please give us a call – a professional tour operator immediately. With a team of consultants, tour operators and experienced and dedicated local guides, we commit to bringing you interesting activities and the most valuable experiences. When participating in your journey of discovery Cat Ba island.

Cat Ba Island
"Off the beaten track"

This 1 night tour in Cat Ba Island and National Park as well as Viet Hai village will be the great chance for you to discover this National Park and Island. Our trip will bring you to have the chance to reach must-see places in the island to explore its exotic natural beauties from mountain to the “Off the beaten track” sea bay.
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