Cat Ba Island of Vietnam: All You Need to Know Before You Go
Cat Ba Island (Vietnamese: Đảo Cát Bà)is the biggest island in Halong Bay and is a home to plenty of hotels, Resorts, Bars and Restaurant. Just about every travel company in Hanoi offers daily tours to the island, attracting travelers looking to enjoy a day of sightseeing during their vacation. The Island is located off the coast of Hai Phong City, its two beaches (named Cat Co 1 & Cat Co 2) are a great place for sunbathing and swimming during the summer time.
If you’re not a fan of crowds on the sand beach, you can charter a boat or rent a kayak to go to Monkey Island and Lan Ha Bay, where the beaches are much cleaner and quieter.
When is the Best Time to Go to Cat Ba Island?
The best time to visit Cat Ba Island is during the summer, from April and November. It’s also busy tourist season in Halong Bay, with numerous tour boats stopping on the island. The beaches here can be very crowded with fellow tourists so we recommend you heading there early to find a good spot. Make sure to book accommodation well in advance as hotels are usually pricier this time of the year. For better deals, you visit from September to November as crowds are usually smaller as the climate on the island transitions into monsoon season.
How to Get to Cat Ba Island?
Getting to Cat Ba Island by boat is very easy, as there are plenty of travel agencies in Hanoi that offer one-way or round trips to the island. Priced at about US$18 upwards per person one way, includes hotel pickup in Hanoi by minivan and a speedboat trip to Cat Ba Town. Alternatively, you can buy a local bus ticket from Luong Yen Bus Station, which costs about VND 250,000. After about three-hour bus ride to Hai Phong City, you can board a hydrofoil to Phu Long Pier which takes about 30 minutes. From there, it’s another hour-long local bus ride to the Center of Cat Ba Town.
How and What is the Best Way to Get Around Cat Ba Island?
It is relatively easy to get around Cat Ba Island as motorcycle taxis are very affordable. If you stay near the harbor, you’ll find that many hotels, restaurants, bars and shops are easily accessible on foot or bicycle. Renting a motorcycle is recommended if you’re planning to explore remote areas such as Cat Ba National Parks. Daily fare cost between VND 80,000 and VND 100,000 – just make sure you have to have a valid driver’s license and travel insurance.
What is the Best Tourist Attractions on Cat Ba Island?
Cat Ba Island’s expansive beaches are relatively clean although the growing numbers of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and tourist facilities. Swimming, snorkeling, trekking/hiking and diving are the most popular things to do on the island. Travelers can enjoy a day of trekking/hiking, caving, and rock-climbing on Cat Ba Island, specifically at Beautiful Cat Ba National Park. There is also an old fort on a hilltop housing several bunkers and rooms filled with Vietnam war remains and propaganda posters.
Where to Eat on Cat Ba Island?
Local Seafood is a must-try when you visit Cat Ba Island. There are plenty of local reataurants nearby the ferry terminal, serving a variety of local specialty food such as mantis shrimp, geoduck clam, and oysters at very affordable prices. Alternatively, you can make your way to Nui Ngoc Street to find restaurants that cater mostly to foreign travelers. Local beers cost about VND 15,000 and imported labels are from about VND 45,000.
How is the Nightlife on Cat Ba Island?
Nightlife is understandably limited on Cat Ba Island as it is well-known for rest and relaxation. However, there are several local and expat-owned bars and bistros in the main town, where you can still enjoy drinks and live music until late.
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