Cat Ba Island is the largest island in Halong Bay and is home to plenty of hotels, restaurants, and bars. Just about every tour company in Hanoi offers daily trips to the island, attracting travellers looking to enjoy a day of sightseeing during their holiday. Located off the coast of Hai Phong City, its beaches (named Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 2) are great for sunbathing and swimming during the summer months. If you’re not a fan of crowds on the beach, you can charter a speedboat or rent a kayak to Monkey Island and Lan Ha Bay, where the beaches are cleaner and quieter.
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.