Cat Ba


How to travel to Cat Ba for your best experience
Cat Ba Travel Guide – What to do, when to visit, and more…

Situated a mere 50 km east offshore of Hai Phong city, Cat Ba island is part of a chain of 366 islands that lie within the larger area of Halong Bay. Rugged, craggy and jungle-clad Cat Ba, of which biosphere reserve was recognized by UNESCO since 2004, has earned itself the moniker “The Jade Island” because of its unique and precious beauty. Covering the total area of 354 sq km off the coast of Quang Ninh Province, featuring thousands of trademark limestone islets, the Cat Ba forms a magnificent landscape much akin to its neighbor, Halong Bay.


Upon visiting the Cat Ba, travelers will have a variety of activities available to them. Discover secluded beaches by kayak or swim in the emerald waters at the feet of spectacular mountains. Trek through tropical evergreen forests and explore an ecosystem unlike anywhere else in the world. Let’s see how wonderful it is through our latest article on how to travel to Cat Ba for your best experience.

Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park

History: Founded in 1986, Cat Ba National Park retained the original total protected area of 15,200ha...

Monkey Island Cat Ba

Monkey Island Cat Ba

Description: Thanks to the beautiful unspoiled natural scenery along with wonderful beaches, Monkey...

Than Cong Fortress

Than Cong Fortress

Majestic – that ‘s all what someone can say when going to Height 177 in Cat Ba, Haiphong with the main...

Tra Bau Beach

Tra Bau Beach

Referring to Cat Ba, anyone can relate to the familiar tours of the town, Cat Ba National Park, Monkey...

Viet Hai fishing village

Viet Hai fishing village

Description: Viet Hai fishing village attracts the large number of domestic and international tourists...

Frequently asked questions

1. Enjoying outdoor activities

Go swimming

There are beautiful public beaches (three in the main town of Cat Ba) that are walking distance from downtown. The closest beaches are known as Cat Co Beach 1, 2, 3 and are sandy, pretty and good for swimming.

Go cycling

Cat Ba is well known for its laid back atmosphere and if you prefer to check this out while doing exercise, then you need to rent yourself a bicycle. There are bicycle tours that you can take all over the region, or you can go it alone and explore at your leisure.

Go climbing

The limestone karsts of Cat Ba National Park are great for rock climbing. If you are an experienced climber, you can simply buy a permit, rent some gear and off you go. Or if you’re more of a novice or first timer, you can opt in a half-day climbing tour from a travel agency.

Go Kayaking

Anyone who is sea-lovers should consider going kayaking in Cat Ba. For some of the more secluded parts of this area, going by kayak is the only way to reach them. And if you are heading out on a Lan Ha Bay cruise, it’s likely that your tour package will include an option of kayaking. Else, you still can head out on your own by hiring a kayak for the day from one of the tour companies in Cat Ba town.

2. Visiting tourist attractions

Lan Ha Bay

Lying south and east of Cat Ba Town, Lan Ha Bay has the attraction of numerous white-sand beaches and rich marine life including corals, seals and dolphins. Due to being a fair way from Halong City and not so many tourist boats venturing here, Lan Ha Bay has a more isolated appeal and is perfect for a retreat.

The limestone mountain density is here crowded, neglected and devised sea face into little bays, gulfs of which many little bays, gulfs, and caves are still not discovered yet. Hundreds of mountains of diversified shapes, such as Clog Islet and Bat Mountain. Differ from HaLong Bay, Lan Ha Bay consist of 139 small and clean sand banks of which lots of them lying in the middle of two mountains are sloping, long and quiet without rough waves, they are actually beautiful bathing beaches. In the very clear and green water remains colorful coral fields like Van Boi, Van Ha,… . Using a small boat, you can cruise in mountain creeks on the sea, visit the bay, lagoon, caves, or rest on bathing beaches such as Vem golf, Tung Gau cave, Cat Dua beach…
Additionally, Lan Ha Bay is a lovely place for kayaking, snorkeling, swimming and rock climbing.

Cat Ba National Park

Established in 1986, Cat Ba National Park is recognized internationally for its importance in biodiversity conservation, as it contains many different types of ecosystem and habitat. Located 15km north-west of Cat Ba Town, Cat Ba National Park spans an area of 15,200ha, of which 9,800ha are forest, and contains lots of particularly interesting caves. The original tropical forest spans an area of 570ha, with extremely varied wildlife and vegetation. It was Vietnam’s first national park to include both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

The Park has a great variety of plant and animal species. There are 745 species of plants recorded on Cat Ba, including 118 timber species and 160 plants with medicinal value. The national park is home to 32 types of mammals and more than 70 species of birds have been sighted. There is a beautiful lake inside the national park called Frog Lake, with a water forest and amazing landscape.

Cannon Fort

The Cannon Fort, which was built by the Japanese in WWII with tunnels and gun emplacements – later utilized by the French and Vietnamese during subsequent conflicts, may impress visitors by its “military look” among the peaceful views of Cat Ba Town. From the Cannon Fort, you can’t help admiring the stunning panoramas of Cat Ba Island’s jungle-clad hills rolling down to colorful tangles of fishing boats in the harbor, and out to the karst-punctuated sea beyond. The entrance gate is a steep 10-minute walk from Cat Ba Town.

The Hospital Cave

During the American War, Hospital Cave served both as a secret bomb-proof hospital and as a safe house for Viet Cong leaders. This incredibly well constructed three-story feat of engineering was in constant use until 1975. The cave spans 17 rooms, including an old operating theatre (complete with patient mannequins) and a huge natural cavern that was used as a cinema (and even had its own small swimming pool). The cave is about 10km north of Cat Ba Town on the road to Cat Ba National Park entrance.

Monkey Island

Monkey Island, aka Cat Dua, is a great spot if you are looking to take a boat trip in Cat Ba. There is an idyllic private beach here and you can spend your time topping up your tan on the white sand or go swimming and snorkeling in the azure seas. If you are feeling adventurous, then you can also go sea kayaking here or you can hike across the island as there are a huge number of scenic trails that take you through the lush greenery.

If you are the first-timer visiting Cat Ba, we suggest a 2D1N itinerary for you to experience the most of what Cat Ba can offer.

Day 1: Lan Ha Bay

Opt in a cruise tour to visit Lan Ha Bay from Cat Ba Town. Enjoy the fresh air, beautiful scenery and play favorite water sports like swimming, kayaking while cruising around Lan Ha Bay. Then return to town to have a city walk and do some shopping at local markets.

Day 2: Cat Ba National Park – The Hospital Cave

Book a tour to Cat Ba National Park and witness the rich biodiversity when hiking around. Admire the mighty landscape, learn about new plants, take some photos and enjoy sunbath on the beach.
Then move to the Hospital Cave to visit the beautiful natural site and also recall the memorial history of Vietnam.

If you are a veteran backpacker, please feel free to manage the trip on your own and alter it when needed, else, we recommend you join a tour organized

Wondering what to eat in Cat Ba Island? Our preference of great seafoods and special dishes is below. Let’s check them out.

Geoduck Clam

Also known as Geoduck, Geoduck Clams are known as rare seafood with high nutrition and special taste. Not only are Geoduck Clams nutritious but it is also said to help power your man.


Garrupas are the fish living in the warm water areas of Pacific Ocean and there are up to 37 types in that breed. Garrupa in Cat Ba is suitable to make a lot of dishes such as salad, porridge, hot pot, steamed garoupa, grilled garrupa but steamed garoupa or any other kind of seafood is always the first choice to consider because that way people can feel the original taste of the food. Simplicity is the best.

Sea Serpent

Sea Serpents have small and slim bodies, about 1-2m long with scales. Their small heads are covered with horns; the venomous teeth are located in the upper jaw.
When people process sea serpents, they will remove their organs, leaving only the bile and fat layer. After that, rinse the blood in their bodies by 90-degree alcohol and then dry them. The fresh blood of sea serpents is mixed with wine and aroma to drink, it can treat dizziness, back pain, bone aches, etc.

Shrimp noodle

Shrimp noodles satisfy the pickiest customers by its taste of the broth, the aroma of fresh sea shrimp, fish balls, the indispensable smell of betel leaf wrapped pork balls.
The taste of sour tamarind juice can completely replace the taste of vinegar and lemon. The noodle is served with a little bit of raw vegetables and some chili when eating.


The best time to go to Cat Ba Island is during the summer, between April and November. It’s also peak tourist season in Halong Bay, with numerous boat tours stopping on the island. The beaches can be very crowded with fellow tourists so we recommend heading there early to find a good spot. Make sure to book well in advance as hotels are also pricier this time of the year. For better deals, visit from September to November as crowds are significantly smaller as the climate on Cat Ba Island transitions into monsoon season.


The best way to get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi is by direct bus. There are several transportation companies who run this route, with fares starting from $15 in a 3,5 hours journey.
Alternatively, you may consider grabbing a taxi to get there, but at the much higher price, of course.

Throughout this article, we wish you to have an idea of how to travel to Cat Ba for your best experience. In case you are looking for your own travel agent, who can offer a wonderful and hassle-free trip to Cat Ba, please feel free to let us know. We always commit our best to make it your once-in-a-lifetime journey.

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