Cat Ba Island caves: Tales of mystery 

Located in the Gulf of Tonkin right next to Halong Bay Heritage site, Cat Ba Island has the perfect geography where pristine landscape and rare serenity combines. In 2004, UNESCO recognized Cat Ba Archipelago as a World Biosphere Reserve. And this island truly lives up to its title with the magnificent and mysterious caves in Cat Ba

An overview of Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Archipelago is in Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City. It is 25 km from Halong Bay and 30 km from Hai Phong. Cat Ba is an isolated island so whether you go to Cat Ba from Hanoi or Halong, it is required to go pass the sea by ferry or speedboat. 

With an area of 285km2, Cat Ba Island is the largest island of Halong Bay. This destination is famous for Cat Ba National Park, splendid islets of towering limestone, fishing villages, sandy beaches and amazing caves.

1. Hospital Cave (Hang Quân Y)

13 km from the center of Cat Ba Town, Hospital Cave is in Khe Sau, Hai Son, Tran Chau commune, Cat Hai District. This cave is located on the way to Cat Ba National Park, halfway up the mountain.

In the past, it was called Hung Son Cave. From 1963 – 1965, Vietnamese soldiers built this cave into a field hospital in the Vietnam War. That is why locals renamed it as Hospital Cave. Hospital Cave has 3 floors and 17 rooms including function rooms, rehab areas and cinemas. With an area of 2000m2, this hospital and cave could accommodate more than 100 people. Hospital Cave is considered as a wartime masterpiece of construction.

Until today, the original architecture of Hospital Cave is still kept untouched, making this Cat Ba cave an interesting and unique historical site attracting many tourists. 

2. Trung Trang Cave (Động Trung Trang)

15 km northwest to the center of Cat Ba town, Trung Trang Cave sits in the Trung Trang Valley – the largest valley of Cat Ba Island with an area of 300 hectares. This cave in Cat Ba Island is 300 meters long into the mountains. 

Trung Trang Cave is a natural cave without any human touch. It is described as a masterpiece of heaven and earth dedicated to Cat Ba. There are thousands of sparkling stalactites in the cave, reminding visitors of a place existing only in fairy tales. Thanks to its mysterious darkness, this cave on Cat Ba Island is home to a diverse ecosystem including many creatures like birds, bats, reptiles and insects. In the Trung Trang area, tourists can also visit Kim Giao forest with very old trees and vines.

Trung Trang is a representative cave of over 150 large and small caves in Cat Ba Archipelago. Many traits of prehistoric Vietnamese such as fossil bones and stone tools were found here.

3. Diamond Cave (Động Hoa Cương)

Diamond Cave belongs to the northeastern mountain range of Cat Ba Island, particularly in Gia Luan Commune close to the ferry port from Halong Bay. 

Diamond Cave is one of the most intact caves in Cat Ba Island. The cave has an altitude of 50 meters above sea level and 15-20 meters above where the residents live. It is approximately 10 meters high. The biggest spot is 25 meters wide and 100 meters long. Inside the cave forms impressive stalactites with colorful shapes of people and animals. They are like a painting filled with myth. There is a small lake, reflecting the light and creating a mysterious atmosphere.

In this poetic Cat Ba Island’s cave, Archaeologists found fossil teeth of ancient apes dating back 10,000 years ago. Since then, Diamond Cave has been a familiar destination for many researchers. 

4. Thien Long Cave (Động Thiên Long)

Another mysterious cave in Cat Ba Island is Thien Long Cave or Phu Long Cave. The cave belongs to Phu Long Commune, Cat Hai District. Besides impressive scenery created by nature, Thien Long Cave also attracts tourists because of its tales. Locals believe that Vietnamese ancients and pirates used to accommodate this place. 

The cave has a depth of 200 meters. There are huge stalactite pillars at the entrance of Thien Long cave, formed when the tree roots fall through the crevice. All of this creates a marvelous scenery of multi-colored rocks and iridescent stalactites inside this cave on Cat Ba Island.

There are stalactites that look similar to Guan Yin Bodhisattva with two hands placed against each other. Below are bizarre shapes of crocodiles, pythons and snakes. The cave owns a musical instrument made from stalactite and rock. With your hand or a wooden stick, you can play a song of unique sounds – exciting and holy with the sounds of water gurgling. 

Thien Long Cave includes 3 separate parts (First Cave, Second Cave and Third Cave). 

How to get to Cat Ba Island

March 5, 2020 By Cat Ba Island Comments Off

Cat Ba Island is considered as one of the largest islands in Northern Vietnam. This island is 350 km2 in area and consists of around 367 beautiful islets with diverse sizes creating an imposing scenery. 

There are many routes to reach Cat Ba Island. Transportation and the time might be different depending on your itinerary and even the styles of traveling. With the aim of helping tourists have better information, Heritage Cruises would like to provide different means of transportation to get to Cat Ba Island.  

1. Get to Cat Ba Island by air

Cat Bi International (HPH) in Haiphong which is the closest airport, is 10 km far from Binh Harbour. You’ll get to Cat Ba Town from Binh Harbour by a ferry or a speedboat. Using aerial transportation to Hai Phong is a smart choice for those who are now in HCM City, Da Nang, and other big cities and who are foreigners. 

– From Noi Bai Airport (HAN) (Hanoi), it takes 3h30 – 4h to get to Binh Harbour (Haiphong). Then, you’ll reach Cat Ba Town from Binh Harbour. 

– Boarding on the Seaplane (Noi Bai Airport – Hanoi) to Tuan Chau Island (Halong City), with a 45-minute flight. From Tuan Chau, a private car would be necessary to take you to Binh Harbour. Then reach Cat Ba Town. 

–  From Van Don Airport (VDO) (Quang Ninh Province), you’ll take a car on the new highway to get to Binh Harbour, about  2 hours and then, get to Cat Ba Town. 

2. Going to Cat Ba by road

Getting to Cat Ba Island by road seems to be the most common way for tourists. You can reach Cat Ba Island from Hanoi City and Halong Bay. 

* From Hanoi: 

#Option 1

– Tourists can get on the coach driving them directly to Hai Phong City. A new highway 5B Hanoi-Haiphong helps to reduce the time for traveling to Haiphong City to 1h30 instead of 4 hours as before. This has removed the inconvenience of traveling to a sinuous and narrow road passing through many villages.

– Pros: The price is quite cheap compared to others and there is more than one trip per day.

– Cons: The place for guests to get on is pretty far from the city center. You have to go to the coach station for departing. 

– Coach-provider: Hoang Long

  • Nuoc Ngam Station (Hanoi) – Cat Ba: 5h20 -7h20 – 11h20 -13h20 
  • Cat Ba – Hanoi:  7h15 – 9h15 – 11h45 – 13h15 – 15h15
  • Booking: 0225.3920.920 – 0904.225.177
  • VND 280,000/person/1 way.

#Option 2: 

– Taking on a shuttle bus (not local public buses) goes directly from Hanoi to Hai Phong. It takes nearly 2 hours thanks to the new highway. From Hai Phong City, you’ll get to Binh Harbour and then, reach Cat Ba Island.  

– Pros: The shuttle buses are comfortable, convenient and proper prices, compared to others. They’ll pick you at your hotel in Hanoi around the Old Quarter and then transfer you directly to Hai Phong City so it has no stress on the way regarding time and luggage stuff with little or no waiting time. 

– Cons: It takes time for guests to find car-providers. 

+ Departure time: Hanoi – Cat Ba: 7h30; 10h45; 14h 

Cat Ba – Hanoi: 9h; 12h30; 15h45

Cat Ba Express No 37B Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 01248.244.999 VND 280,000/person
Good Morning Cat Ba No.13 Hang Huong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 0913.309.6281 VND 230,000/person
Daiichi Travel No. 85 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 024.6654.7070 VND 250,000/person

# Option 3: You can go to Cat Ba Island in a private car. This option is suitable for those who are a group of travelers or for a family trip. The price of renting a private car, VND 2,600,000. 

  • Pros: Going with a private car makes tourists feel more convenient and comfortable. 
  • Cons: If going by a private car, you have to go by ferry to reach Cat Ba Island. It takes much time to wait due to the congestion. 

# Optional 4: Tourists can go by motorcycle to reach Cat Ba Island. 

  • Pros: It’s convenient and comfortable for guests and suitable for the young. 
  • Cons: The distance from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island is quite long, so tourists might feel tired.  

Getting to Cat Ba Island is more easier than before since our cruise will offer limousine service or a shuttle bus transfer from the city center of Hanoi capital, normally guests will be picked up around the old quarter areas.

* From Halong: 

You’ll take a bus/a taxi from Halong City (Quang Ninh Province) to Hai Phong City within 45 minutes as before. Private cars or taxis are the most convenient choice, but public buses are also available. Then, you’ll reach Cat Ba Town from Binh Harbour (Hai Phong). 

– Departure: Muong Thanh Hotel at Halong Street, Bai Chay Ward, Halong, Quang Ninh. 

– Arrival: No 19, Nui Ngoc Street, Cat Ba, Hai Phong. 

– Price: 120,000 VND/person. 

3. Traveling to Cat Ba Island by train 

You can get on a train from Gia Lam Railway Station (Long Bien District) or Hanoi Railway Station (near the Old Quarter) to Hai Phong Railway Station (Hai Phong City). It lasts nearly 2 hours 45 minutes. Well, taking a train will help reduce the time of finding car service providers. From Hai Phong Railway Station, you’ll take a taxi or a bus to get to Binh Harbour. Then arrive at Cat Ba Town. 

Please note that the time might change marginally so check your itinerary carefully before you go. The price of train tickets is also various and depends on whether you’re traveling on the weekend or weekday and choose hard or soft seats. 

  • Departure: Hanoi Railway Station – 120 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem District

or Gia Lam Railway Station at Ngoc Lam – Long Bien – Hanoi. 

  • Arrival: Haiphong Railway Station – 75 Luong Khanh Thien, Luong Khanh Thien, Ngo Quyen, Hai Phong. 
  • Time for departure: 6h, 9h20, 15h20, 18h15
  • Price: 

+ Monday – Thursday: 65,000/person for a hard seat; 70,000/person for a soft seat. 

+ Friday – Sunday: VND 75,000/person for a hard seat; VND 80,000/person for a soft seat. 

4. getting to Cat Ba Island by ferry

All routes lead the way to arrive at Hai Phong City, then you’ll take a taxi to get to Dinh Vu Port and reach Cat Ba Island by ferry. The ferry ticket is 15,000 VND/ 1 person. 

Apparently, taking a ferry is much cheaper than other ways but it takes much time and is more crowded. 

– From Dinh Vu – Ninh Tiep Port, you’ll take a ferry to get to Cat Hai Harbour, 45 mins. Then, you continue getting a bus/a car to reach Got Harbour. After that, you’ll get on another ferry to arrive at Cai Vieng Harbour (Cat Ba Island) within 20 mins, which is 20 km far from Cat Ba Town. Now, there are 37 ferries per day, 5 a.m to 5 p.m, each hour has one trip. 

5. By private speedboat

For speedboat, you can get to Cat Ba Island from Halong City (Quang Ninh Province) and Hai Phong City. Firstly, departing from Halong City, there are 2 options: 

Option 1: 

You can depart at Tuan Chau Island (Halong City) by taking a private speed boat to Gia Luan Harbour (25 km far from Cat Ba Town), 20 mins to get there. Then, taking a taxi to get to Cat Ba Town. 

Here are several departure times: 

Tuan Chau Island to Gia Luan: 7h15; 8h30; 10h30; 13h; 14h30; 16h

Gia Luan to Tuan Chau Island: 8h; 9h15; 11h; 13h; 15h30; 16h30 

Price:  + 450,000 VND for less than 9 people 

           +  650,000 VND for 9 to 16 people 

# Option 2:

Departure from Hon Gai Port (Halong City) to get Cat Ba Island is properly the second choice for you. You’ll take a speed boat and go directly to Beo Seaport, 1.5 km far from Cat Ba Town. It takes about 40 – 45 minutes on the boat.  

Here are departure times: 

Hon Gai Port – Beo Harbour: 7h30; 13h 

Beo Harbour – Hon Gai Port: 8h30; 13h55 

Price: 150,000 VND/person

 – Secondly, after arriving at Hai Phong City, you’ll take a speedboat at Binh Harbour to get to Cai Vieng Harbour (Cat Ba Island). Then, taking a taxi/bus helps you arrive at Cat Ba Town. It costs 200,000 VND/1 person, 45 mins. 

Please note it down, the times for departure may change without notification. Make sure that you contact with service providers before your comings. Obviously, the speed boat is more convenient and time-saving for you, especially in high season. 

6. By Hydrofoil

You can take a hydrofoil from Binh Harbour to go directly to Cat Ba Port, 8 – 10 mins. The price is 180,000 – 200,000 VND/1 person. Obviously, the time for transferring is quite fast so tourists who are seasick shouldn’t use this vehicle. 

Here are some details: 

Hydrofoil providers Time for departure Ticket fee
Mekong Hoang Yen Binh Harbor – Cat Ba: 9h VND 200,000/adult
Cat Ba Island

Binh Harbor – Cat Ba: 9h, 13h, 15h

Cat Ba – Binh Harbor: 10h, 14h10, 16h

VND 180,000/adult

Getting to Cat Ba Island is easier, isn’t it? Heritage Cruises has just helped you to look through all the possible routes from your home country, like Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hai Phong or other places to get to Cat Ba Island by different means of transportation. Each route has its advantages and disadvantages, travelers should take into account to choose the way, vehicles and the budget that is appropriate with your itinerary and present condition. If you need more detailed information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.