Cat Ba Island of Hai Phong Province, Vietnam, has an area of 300 square kilometers, with magnificent natural scenery that creates a favorite tourism hub for local and foreign tourists who might need Cat Ba Island Travel Guide. The guide covers top experiences in Cat Ba National Park, what to see, where to stay, and where to eat for a fantastic island tour. The destination is easily accessible; from Hai Phong city, you can get to Cat Ba via a speedboat from Binh pier. Another way is to drive to Got pier or Tuan Chau-Halong harbor to buy a speedboat ticket. People can also book a tour including transfer service with local agents if wanted. While Cat Ba beaches are beautiful and appreciated for blue water, white smooth sand, and calm sea, the National Park is home to a variety of flora and fauna.
Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park has an area of 15.200 hectares, including the area of sublime Cat Ba Island, which is around 20km away to the east of Hai Phong City. The Park also covers some small islands. Its topography is about the complex underground water system, the island, and the surrounding marine zones. In 2003, it was recognized as the 3rd Biosphere Reserve in Vietnam by UNESCO. Together with the scattered islands, its highlights include forest, karst mountainside, freshwater lake, freshwater marsh, sandbank, and coral reef. This is also home to unique white-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus), the invertebrates, and other mammals. In general, it owns around 745 species of flora and fauna, of which some are endangered.
Trekking in Cat Ba National Park is a great activity to mingle with pristine Nature and this is good for health, indeed. Trekkers will be glad to enjoy giant greenness and scenic sightseeing. Oftentimes, tourists choose the off-the-beaten-track 8km trails through dense forest and imposing mountains. Along the routes, they can meet beautiful species of flora and some challenging points of steep mountains, marshes, lake, caves, etc., which ends up with nature-friendly experiences. The Doi cave (cave of bat), Trang Trung cave, and Quan Y cave (Hospital Cave) are worth discovering.
What to See in Cat Ba Island
The beaches, Lan Ha Bay, national park, mysterious caves, and other natural highlights recommended below will answer what to see in Cat Ba Island.
First of all, spend time relaxing on Cat Co Beaches 1, 2, 3 and Tung Thu Beach that are all close to the town center. Cat Co 2 is the most beautiful beach with smooth sandbank and crystal-clear water. From the center of the town, take a motorbike taxi to the favorite beach. Remember to bring swimsuits or you can rent them at the beach. According to locals’ experiences, you should be back the shore before 6:30 PM when the tide goes up with large waves.
Next, travel to Monkey Island (Dao Khi) which is around 1km from Cat Ba town. To get to the island, people often take a boat trip from Beo pier for around 10 minutes, through Cai Beo fishing village and some pretty islets. The island was named “Dao Cat Dua” because there were many wild pineapple trees in the area, which were delicious but uneatable. The local fishermen took the wild pineapples home to make cool drinks or get it dried as the herb to treat diabetic. Nowadays, people name it Monkey Island as there are more than 20 monkeys that have friendly interactions with tourists.
Lan Ha Bay is also the top place to see in Cat Ba area. This Bay is located in the east of Cat Ba Island, facing Van gate, and neighboring Halong Bay. It is the calm Bay with nearly 400 islands and islets covered in green that depicts the sublime scenery. Another feature gifted to Lan Ha is 139 beaches with the golden sandbank, pristine and charming vista. The noteworthy Van Boi Beach is a great recommendation to swim and unwind ultimately. The experiences are wonderful and memorable in Lan Ha Bay via kayaking, scuba diving, cruising, or rock climbing.
Furthermore, the ancient Cai Beo Fishing Village is one of the oldest fishing villages in Vietnam. It remains traditional, which establishes a placid environment for peace of mind. Take a boat trip to visit this friendly site. Take time sightseeing the marvelous scenery, listening to the rower’s stories about life and traditions, and making a stop at a local house to see species of fresh seafood.
For a back-in-time trip, get to “Phao Dai Than Cong” in which two large cannons were kept, weighing dozens of tons. It is also named as 177 Site as it’s located on the hill of 177m height. The cannons and tunnel system were made in the years of 40s of the 20th century. The view is truly panoramic.
Where to Stay in Cat Ba Island
In recent years, tourism in Cat Ba has radically developed, resulting in many hotels and guesthouses that range from budget to luxury. Many good votes direct to the following accommodation:
- Cat Ba Island Resort & Spa: Spectacular view and great services which are best for relaxation and Spa.
- Monkey Island Resort: Good food and friendly staff which are ideal for a long vacation, weekend trip, or honeymoon.
- Cat Ba Sandy Beach Resort: Many entertainment services like fishing, underwater games, private beach, etc.
- Hung Long Hotel: Only 10 minutes walking to Cat Ba harbor, 15 minutes to Tung Thu Beach, and 15 minutes to Cat Ba seafood market.
- And many other choices.
Where to Eat in Cat Ba Island
Food in Cat Ba Island is plentiful, especially fresh seafood dishes. Make sure you can eat fried squid, “Be Be” (mantis shrimp) parched with salt, steamed blue mini-crab, the steamed or grilled “Tu Hai” (geo-duck), etc. About where to eat, check out Quang Anh floating restaurant, Green Mango, Quang Tung Cat Ba, Full Moon Cat Ba, and Truc Lam Cat Ba. Of course, there are many other choices or you just stop at any restaurants or eateries that you feel like eating. Sometimes, random choices might bring a good surprise. Travel to Cat Ba Island soon!
I love traveling and have been working in tourism industry since 1996. Vietnam is my homeland so I would like to share with you my experience to discover this destination best!