Discovering Viet Hai: A Journey Through Time and Nature

April 16, 2024 By Blog, Blog Comments Off

Viet Hai, a remote village nestled in the heart of Northern Vietnam’s spectacular karst landscape, offers a compelling story of transformation and the enduring spirit of its people. As a long-time friend and business partner of Quyen, a local entrepreneur, I’ve witnessed firsthand the village’s evolution from a quiet agricultural community to a bustling hub of eco-tourism.

Quyen, whose life changed with the advent of tourism, runs a restaurant and bike rental service that caters to both the locals and visitors. This shift from traditional rice cultivation to tourism has brought new opportunities to the 80 households of Viet Hai, intertwining their destinies with the rhythms of the sea and the whispers of the mountain.

Embracing Slow Tourism

Instead of the usual quick visits, I chose to immerse myself fully in the rhythms of Viet Hai by staying at Lan Homestay. Located near Quyen’s restaurant, this rustic but comfortable accommodation is surrounded by a lush garden, offering a serene retreat from the bustle of daily life. This decision to experience slow tourism allowed me to connect more deeply with the village and its surroundings.

A Trek to Remember

One morning, filled with anticipation, Quyen and I embarked on a challenging trek to the Cat Ba National Park headquarters and onward to explore the historic Tien Duc Cave. It had been nearly a decade since Quyen last took this path, and he was eager to revisit it with me. Starting at 8 AM, equipped with sturdy shoes, insect repellent, and snacks, we began our 9 km journey across the park’s longest trail.

The trek was both a physical and sensory experience. We paid 80,000 VND for our entrance, a small price for access to one of Vietnam’s largest parks. As we walked, we absorbed the sights and sounds of the rainforest—each step a deeper dive into a world where nature dictates the pace and humans are mere guests.

Lessons from the Past

At Tien Duc Cave, Quyen shared stories of the villagers’ lives during the turbulent years of the Vietnam War. The cave, which once served as a shelter for the entire community, still bore marks of its past, with kitchen areas, tables, and beds etched into its walls. This visit wasn’t just a physical journey but a passage through time, connecting us to the resilience of those who once called this cave their temporary home.

The Karst Museum of Earth

The trek also offered breathtaking views of the surrounding karst formations. These natural sculptures, shaped by millennia of erosion, stand as silent witnesses to the immense geological and historical processes that have shaped this land. The jagged peaks and lush valleys told stories of ancient seas and the relentless force of nature carving out a landscape of awe-inspiring beauty.

Encounters and Reflections

Our return journey was marked by encounters with fellow trekkers, including a French couple exploring Vietnam’s rich natural heritage. These brief exchanges, filled with stories and laughter, underscored the universal appeal of Viet Hai and its ability to connect people from all walks of life.

As we concluded our trek and made our way back to civilization, the experiences of the day lingered in my mind. Viet Hai, with its compelling blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, offers more than just a getaway. It is a testament to the enduring human spirit and the transformative power of nature, inviting all who visit to not just see but feel, learn, and grow.

This journey through Viet Hai was more than just a visit; it was a profound engagement with a place that continues to evolve while respecting and preserving its past. It is a reminder that in the quietest corners of the world, we can find the most resonant stories waiting to be discovered.

Dr. Pham Ha is the Chairman and CEO of LuxGroup (, a conglomerate of prestigious companies and a leading expert in the luxury tourism industry. Besides his business activities, he is also passionate about collecting paintings, antiques, writing about branding, economics, business management, and books on cultural heritage, history, and art.

Viet Hai Ancient Village – The Essence of Old Vietnamese Villages

Viet Hai Ancient Village – The Essence of Old Vietnamese Villages

Nestled within the scenic landscapes of Hai Phong province, the serene Viet Hai village in Cat Ba presents a picturesque setting characterized by limestone mountains, pristine seas, verdant forests, and rich biodiversity. This underexplored gem promises a unique blend of tranquility and adventure, making it an unmissable part of any Hai Phong journey.

Viet Hai Village, with its allure of simplicity and remoteness, offers an authentic and peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the typical tourist paths.

1. Introduction to Viet Hai Village, Cat Ba

Viet Hai, a quaint fishing village, has become a must-visit destination in Hai Phong, admired for its natural beauty and tranquility.

1.1. Location of Viet Hai – An Ancient Village

Situated deep within Cat Ba National Park, Viet Hai stands out as an “island within an island,” featuring a rich ecosystem amidst its modest 141 hectares, inhabited by 70 households.

1.2. The Rich History of Viet Hai Village

With over a century of history, Viet Hai’s origins trace back to fishermen seeking refuge here. Over time, it evolved into the charming village known today, rich in culture and history.

2. Optimal Time to Visit Viet Hai Cat Ba Village

The village showcases seasonal charms, with February to April and June to August being particularly enchanting for their unique atmospheric beauty and ripe rice fields.

3. Navigating to Viet Hai Village

Reachable by sea or through an adventurous trek through Cat Ba National Park, Viet Hai is accessible yet retains its secluded appeal. Various transport options ensure a journey that’s as engaging as the destination itself.

4. Local Transportation Options in Viet Hai Cat Ba Village

Bicycles and electric bikes offer eco-friendly ways to explore the village’s breathtaking surroundings, catering to all preferences.

5. Engaging Activities in Viet Hai Cat Ba Village

From relishing the tranquil landscapes to immersive experiences like farming with locals and exploring historical sites, Viet Hai offers a plethora of activities for an unforgettable stay.

6. Gastronomy and Accommodations in Viet Hai Cat Ba Village

The village doesn’t just enchant with its views but also tantalizes the taste buds with local seafood delights. Accommodations ranging from homestays to bungalows promise a comfortable and authentic stay.

7. Experiencing Viet Hai Village with Lux Cruises Group

Lux Cruises Group introduces guests to the splendors of Lan Ha Bay and Viet Hai Village through luxurious yacht and cruise tours, blending exploration with elegance.

About Lux Cruises Group

Lux Cruises Group, Vietnam’s first boutique cruise line, established in 2014, has become a pioneer in luxury cruising and innovation. With an impressive fleet of 6 yachts, cruises, tenders, and speedboats, Lux Cruises Group ( operates under two distinct brands: Emperor Cruises, embodying a royal concept, and Heritage Cruises, embracing a boutique approach. Sailing through Vietnam’s most stunning rivers, bays, and archipelagos, including Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay (Cat Ba Archipelago), Nha Trang Bay, and soon, the Saigon River and Phu Quoc Archipelago.

Heritage travelers will delve into exploration, learning, respect, celebration, and enjoyment of natural and cultural heritage. Lux Cruises Group invites guests to unforgettable overnight journeys through Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay aboard its luxurious boutique vessels, Emperor Cruises and Heritage Cruises. Paying tribute to the illustrious legacy of the King of Ships, Bach Thai Buoi, Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago commemorates the centennial anniversary of its launch in Hai Phong, offering an intimate and refined cruise experience. Immerse yourself in Vietnam’s vibrant culture, storied history, captivating art, and breathtaking natural wonders aboard Heritage Cruises’ vessel, boasting 20 en suite cabins accommodating 40 to 60 passengers.

Meanwhile, Emperor Cruises Origin Nha Trang offers discovery day cruises and sunset immersive experiences with live music and dinner, all included, for 50 passengers on each cruising itinerary in Nha Trang Bay. Emperor Cruises Legacy Halong features 10 en suite cabins tailored to accommodate 30 overnight guests. Drawing inspiration from the opulence of the Last Emperor Bao Dai of the Nguyen Dynasty, guests are treated like royalty, with an ambiance, royal customs, fashion, architecture, and cuisine fit for an emperor. Lux Cruises Group presents a diverse range of cruise durations, spanning from 1 to 3 nights, alongside charter options for extended 6-night expeditions in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Amazing Destination, Tours, Trails, and Activities in Cat Ba National Park for Active Travelers

Amazing Destination, Tours, Trails, and Activities in Cat Ba National Park for Active Travelers

Kim Giao Forest – Ngự Lâm Peak (1.5km):

Embark on a journey through the ancient Kim Giao Forest to reach Ngự Lâm Peak. This trail is a sanctuary for the endangered Kim Giao trees, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape.

Duration: 30 minutes each way
Highlights: A trek that encompasses a butterfly garden, zoo, botanical gardens, and a natural forest on a limestone mountain, culminating at the breathtaking Kim Giao Forest and Ngự Lâm Peak.

Trung Trang & Uy Ban Grottos (1.2km):

Delve into the heart of Cat Ba’s cave system, home to mysterious stalactites and numerous bat species.

Duration: 1 hour round trip

Details: A mere 10-minute walk from the National Park HQ leads to Trung Trang Cave, where you can marvel at the impressive stalactites and the bats that call it home.

National Park HQ – Ao Ech – Viet Hai (14km: trekking & walking) – Lan Ha Bay (2 hours boat & kayak):

This challenging trail dives into diverse forest ecosystems and the local culture of Viet Hai village, culminating in a stunning boat or kayak journey through Lan Ha Bay.

Duration: 6 – 8 hours, including boat or kayak

Experience: Engage in hard hiking through varied forest types, visit the magnificent flooded willow forest at Ao Ech, explore Viet Hai commune, and enjoy the crystal-clear waters and secluded beaches of Lan Ha Bay. Options include sunbathing and observing the daily lives of locals in floating fishing villages.

National Park HQ – Ao Ech:

Tackle a demanding hike to the island’s largest concentration of freshwater, nestled within a magnificent flooded willow forest.

Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours one way

Details: Starting near the National Park headquarters, this trail promises a rigorous adventure.

About Lux Cruises Group:

Founded in 2014, Lux Cruises Group ( has redefined luxury cruising and maritime innovation. With a fleet comprising 6 yachts, cruises, tenders, and speedboats spread across two distinctive brands – Emperor Cruises, symbolizing royalty, and Heritage Cruises, denoting a bespoke approach—the group navigates Vietnam’s most mesmerizing bays and archipelagos. Destinations include the iconic Halong Bay, tranquil Bai Tu Long Bay, picturesque Lan Ha Bay (Cat Ba Archipelago), vibrant Nha Trang Bay, and the soon-to-be-included Saigon River and the idyllic Phu Quoc Archipelago.

As the premier boutique cruise line in Vietnam, Lux Cruises Group invites guests to embark on unforgettable overnight voyages aboard the luxurious Emperor and Heritage Cruises. Celebrating the centennial legacy of the “King of Ships,” Bach Thai Buoi, the Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago ( offers a refined cruising experience, inviting guests to immerse in Vietnam’s rich culture, history, art, and natural beauty. The Heritage vessel boasts 20 en suite cabins for 40 to 60 passengers, while Emperor Cruises ( offers an intimate setting with 10 en suite cabins for 30 overnight guests. Lux Cruises Group offers a variety of cruise lengths, from 1 to 3 nights, and the option for customized charters on extended 6-night expeditions through the enchanting Gulf of Tonkin.

Visit us at for more information and to book your next adventure.

Cat Ba Archipelago: Vietnam’s Hidden Gem in the Gulf of Tonkin now UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site

April 8, 2024 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Cat Ba Archipelago: Vietnam’s Hidden Gem in the Gulf of Tonkin now UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site

An enchanting destination boasting pristine beaches, secluded lagoons, coves, tropical forests, and lakes invites you to explore the ideal spots for kayaking, biking, and secluded getaways.


Depart from Cat Ba Town towards the well-marked entrance of Cannon Fort, just 15 minutes away. Enjoy a leisurely 20-minute stroll to the fort, where narrow passageways lead to underground tunnels and rooms once utilized for storage or as sleeping quarters.

The fort still showcases gun emplacements and massive guns, offering incredible views across the island and sea. One side reveals green-clad limestone karsts stretching into the distance, while the other side features colorful fishing boats, beaches, and the town itself.


No trip to Cat Ba is complete without a visit, or even an overnight stay, in Viet Hai village. Nestled in a valley with towering mountains as a backdrop, Viet Hai remains a peaceful enclave despite the island’s growing popularity.

Locals reside in thatched huts and primarily sustain themselves through fishing and farming, with only a handful catering to tourists. Access Viet Hai via a guided trek or cycle ride, passing by Ech (Frog) Lake, the island’s largest lake, or opt for a one-hour boat trip from Cat Ba Town followed by a 45-minute walk (or a short ride by electric car) to the village.

Verdant green paddies line the valley floor, where locals can be seen carrying water and produce on shoulder poles. Experience home-stays or stay in a modest bungalow resort, where the soothing chorus of frogs fills the night air with tranquility.


Established in 1986, Cat Ba National Park sprawls across 9800 hectares of forest and 5400 hectares of marine habitat. Its distinctive limestone mountain range boasts an average height of 150 meters above sea level, with the highest peak, Cao Vong, reaching 322 meters.

Adjacent to the mountains lie white sand dunes, freshwater lakes, and mangrove forests. Enjoy pleasant weather year-round, with an average temperature of 23°C and a dry season from November to April. The park harbors Vietnam’s largest primeval tropical forest, housing hundreds of plant species, including various rare trees requiring protection.

Additionally, the park shelters endangered mammals such as the golden-headed langur, whose population has dwindled due to intense hunting. Cat Ba island lies along a major migration route for waterfowl, attracting around 70 bird species, including hawks, hornbills, and cuckoos.


Tropical moist evergreen forest dominates the park, hosting over 745 flora species from 123 families, including approximately 300 medicinal plant species. Visitors marvel at the rich floral biodiversity, which includes endangered plants, ancient trees, moss, lichen, and creepers.

The park’s habitats, including fringe coral reefs, mangrove forests, and tropical limestone forests, are deemed regionally significant and face threats from encroachment.

Recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve in 2004, Cat Ba strives to protect these vital habitats.


Cat Ba National Park teems with wildlife, boasting over 20 reptile and amphibian species and 32 mammal species, including the golden-headed langur, a unique primate found solely on Cat Ba island. Living in small groups in remote areas of the island, the golden-headed langur symbolizes the park’s ecological importance.


As a haven for diverse bird species, Cat Ba lies on a major migration route for waterfowl, attracting 70 different bird species. Visitors can easily spot kingfishers, sunbirds, and magpies, while deeper in the forest, the majestic great hornbill and pied hornbill can be observed in pairs or alone during the early morning or late evening.


Various insect-eating bats inhabit the park’s caves, with Trung Trang Cave being the most accessible. Visitors are encouraged to maintain quietude to avoid disturbing the bats’ habitat.

About Lux Cruises Group

Since its inception in 2014, Lux Cruises Group has set a standard in luxury and innovative travel. With an impressive fleet under the Emperor Cruises and Heritage Cruises brands, it explores Vietnam’s most iconic bays and archipelagos. Inspired by the legacy of Bach Thai Buoi, the “King of Ships,” Heritage Cruises offers an intimate voyage through the Gulf of Tonkin, immersing travelers in the rich tapestry of Vietnam’s culture, history, and natural splendor.

How to go from Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island

April 27, 2020 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Located in Northern Vietnam, Cat Ba Island is adjacent to Halong Bay World Heritage Site. This destination is a lot less touristy than the worldwide famous Halong Bay, making up its unique and serene beauty. For tourists who want to get the most out of the nature in Northern Vietnam, it is really convenient to go from Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island. 

An overview of Cat Ba 

Nestled on the edge of Vietnam’s magnificent Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island’s landscapes are rugged and spectacular with a wide range of natural ecosystems which are totally perfect for exploring by bike, motorbike or car; but most interestingly on Heritage Cruises. 

Cat Ba Island is home to 6 communes with a population of about 13,500 inhabitants. This beautiful island encompasses two distinctive parts regarding Cat Ba Town with a concentration of tourism services and Cat Ba National Park featured by dense forests and its biodiversity. 

The only way to go from Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island is travelling on sea. Here in Northern Vietnam, there are 03 options for sea transportations including ferry, hydrofoil and high-speed boat. 

1. By ferry

Departure: Tuan Chau Harbour – Ngọc Châu Ward, Tuần Châu District, Halong City, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam

Arrival: Gia Luan Harbour – Road across Cát Bà, Gia Luận, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng


Tuan Chau – Cat Ba ferry is often described as a journey to connect the two heritage sites, and it is also the most popular way to get to Cat Ba Island from Halong Bay.

This ferry has been operated by Tuan Chau Group since 2009. There are 5-7 ferries operating this Tuan Chau – Cat Ba sea route everyday. During peak season, this number might be adjusted. The earliest ferry departs at 7:30 at Tuan Chau Harbour and the latest one departs at 15:00. Each trip lasts for approximately 45 minutes.

After arriving at Gia Luan Harbour, you can catch a bus to the center of Cat Ba town.

1.1 Timetable 


  •  30 April – 30 September


Departure time: 7:30 | 9:00 | 11:30 | 13:30 | 15:00


  • 1 October – 29 April


Departure time: 7:30 | 11:30 | 15:00

1.2 Price

  • Passenger without vehicles: VND 60,000/ person/ turn 
  • Passenger with motorbike: VND 80,000/ person/ turn 

2. By hydrofoil

From Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island, there are 2 ports for hydrofoil.

2.1 Tuan Chau Harbour (Halong) – Gia Luan Harbour (Cat Ba)

Departure: Tuan Chau Harbour – Ngọc Châu Ward, Tuần Châu District, Halong City, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam

Arrival: Gia Luan Harbour – Road across Cát Bà, Gia Luận, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng


Tuan Chau Harbour is located in the South of Halong City. Besides ferry service, Tuan Chau Harbour also provides hydrofoil from Tuan Chau to Cat Ba. It only takes 20 minutes to get to Gia Luan Harbour (Cat Ba Island), and another 45 minutes to catch a bus to the Cat Ba Town center. 


Departure time Time Price
07:15 20 minutes VND 120.000
08:30 20 minutes VND 120.000
10:30 20 minutes VND 120.000
13:00 20 minutes VND 120.000
14:30 20 minutes VND 120.000
16:00 20 minutes VND 120.000

2.2 Hon Gai Harbour (Halong) – Ben Beo Harbour (Cat Ba)

Departure: Hon Gai Harbour – 6A Lê Thánh Tông, Hồng Gai, Thành phố Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh

Arrival: Ben Beo Harbour – Cái Bèo, Cát Bà Town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng


Hon Gai Harbour is located in the North of Halong City. It takes 40 minutes to go from Hon Gai Harbour to Ben Beo Harbour by hydrofoil. After arriving, you can take a taxi or motorbike taxi to get to Cat Ba Town center – the distance is about 1.6 km. 


Departure time Time Price
07:30 40 minutes VND 150.000
10:30 40 minutes VND 150.000
14:30 40 minutes VND 150.000


3. By high-speed boat 

High-speed boats are operated by Good Morning Cat Ba. They follow a fixed route: Hon Gai Harbour (Bai Chay) ⇒ Tuan Chau Harbour (Tuan Chau) ⇒ Gia Luan Harbour (Cat Ba) ⇒ Ben Beo (Cat Ba town). 

Each passenger costs VND 180,000/ person. This fare applies to combined passengers with a maximum of 13 passengers/ boat. 

Hai Phong to Cat Ba Island: A complete map guide

April 15, 2020 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Adjacent to the Halong Bay World Heritage site, Cat Ba Island is located in Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City. Being the largest island among 367 islands in Cat Ba Archipelago, this serene tourist destination covers an area of 285 km2. Cat Ba Island stands out thanks to its spectacular landscape and pristine natural scenery which is most recommended to explore on a cruise. 

Cat Ba Island is an isolated island 30 km away from Hai Phong city center. To get to Cat Ba Island from Hai Phong, it is required to catch a ferry/ hydrofoil to pass the river.

There are 2 options to travel from Hai Phong to Cat Ba Island.

1. Ben Binh Port – Cat Ba Port (45 minutes)

Ben Binh Port: 4 Bến Bính, Minh Khai, Hồng Bàng, Hải Phòng

Cat Ba Port: Cát Bà Town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng


Ben Binh Port is near the center of Hai Phong city, which makes it a lot convenient to travel to this port. From here, you can take a hydrofoil to Cat Ba town. Ferries are not available at Ben Binh Port.

There are different boat companies operating Hai Phong – Cat Ba route at different hours.


Mekong Hoang Yen

  • Boat type: 200-seat hydrofoil
  • Departing at: 9:00 AM (from Ben Binh Port) & 14:00 PM (from Cat Ba Port)
  • Fares (VAT excluded):
  • Children under 5 years old: Free
  • Children from 5-9 years old: VND 100.000/ person/ turn
  • Adults: VND 200.000/ person/ turn

Catba Island, Sea Queen and Nonan 

  • Boat type: 220-seat hydrofoil; 80-seat hydrofoil
  • Departing at: 9:00 AM/ 13:00 PM/ 15:00 PM (from Ben Binh Port); 10:00 AM/ 14:10 PM/ 16:00 PM (from Cat Ba Port)
  • Fares:
  • Children:
  • Height ≤1m10: Free
  • 1m10 < height ≤1m50 price: VND 100,000/ person/ turn
  • Adults: VND 200,000/ person/ turn 


Vessel 08 (VIP tour)

  • Boat type: 155-seat 
  • Departing at: 10:00 AM/ 16:00 PM (from Ben Binh Port); 07:00 AM/ 13:00 PM (from Cat Ba Port)
  • Fares:
  • Children: 
  • Height ≤1m10: Free
  • 1m10 < height ≤1m50 price: VND 100,000/ person/ turn
  • Adults: VND 200,000/ person/ turn



2. Ben Got Port – Cai Vieng Port (10 minutes)

Ben Got Port: Bến Gót, Cái Viềng, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng

Cai Vieng Port: 365 Phù Long, Cái Viềng, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng


Ben Got is about 27km away from Hai Phong city center, so travelling to this port can be a little difficult. 

When you get to Cai Vieng Port, it is required to go 24 km more to get to the center of Cat Ba Town. This 24-kilometer road trip promises to be one of the most outstanding and impressive journeys in Northern Vietnam. You will get to travel along the coast, watching all the cliffs and fishing villages by the blue Cat Ba beach.

Instead of offering hydrofoils only, Ben Got provides both ferries and speedboats. 


  • Ferry 


  • Fares:
  • Passengers without vehicles: VND 12,000/ person
  • Passengers with motorbike: VND 45,000/ vehicle
  • Cars fewer than 9 seats (without passengers in cars): VND 190,000/ vehicle
  • Timetable:
  • Timetable is subject to change on holiday under unexpected circumstances. 


NO. Bến Gót Bến Cái Viềng NO. Bến Gót Bến Cái Viềng
1 5h00’ (big ferry) 4h30’ (big ferry) 16 12h30’(big ferry) 12h00’ (big ferry)
2 5h30’ (big ferry) 5h00’ (big ferry) 17 13h00’(small ferry) 12h30’(small ferry)
3 6h00’ (big ferry) 5h30’ (big ferry) 18 13h30’(big ferry) 13h00’(big ferry)
4 6h30’ (big ferry) 6h00’ (big ferry) 19 14h00’(small ferry) 13h30’(small ferry)
5 7h00’ (big ferry) 6h30’ (big ferry) 20 14h30’(big ferry) 14h00’(big ferry)
6 7h30’ (small ferry) 7h00’ (small ferry) 21 15h00’(big ferry) 14h30’(big ferry)
7 8h00’(big ferry) 7h30’ (big ferry) 22 15h30’(big ferry) 15h00’(big ferry)
8 8h30’(small ferry) 8h00’(small ferry) 23 16h00’(small ferry) 15h30’(small ferry)
9 9h00’(big ferry) 8h30’(big ferry) 24 16h30’(big ferry) 16h00’(big ferry)
10 9h30’(big ferry) 9h00’(big ferry) 25 17h00’(big ferry) 16h30’(big ferry)
11 10h00’(big ferry) 9h30’(big ferry) 26 17h30’(big ferry) 17h00’(big ferry)
12 10h30’(big ferry) 10h00’(big ferry) 27 18h00’(big ferry) 17h30’(big ferry)
13 11h00’(small ferry) 10h30’(small ferry) 28 18h30’(small ferry) 18h00’(small ferry)
14 11h30’(big ferry) 11h00’(big ferry) 29 19h00’(big ferry) 18h30’(big ferry)
15 12h00’(small ferry) 11h30’(small ferry)


NO. Bến Gót Bến Cái Viềng NO. Bến Gót Bến Cái Viềng
1 5h 30’ (big ferry) 5h 00’ (big ferry) 15 14h 00’ (big ferry) 13h 30’ (big ferry)
2 6h 30’ (big ferry) 6h 00’ (big ferry) 16 14h 30’ (small ferry) 14h 00’ (small ferry)
3 7h 00’(small ferry) 6h 30’ (small ferry) 17 15h 00’ (big ferry) 14h 30’ (big ferry)
4 7h 30’ (big ferry) 7h 00’ (big ferry) 18 15h 30’ (small ferry) 15h 00’ (small ferry)
5 8h 00’(small ferry) 7h 30’ (small ferry) 19 16h 00’ (big ferry) 15h 30’ (big ferry)
6 8h 30’ (big ferry) 8h 00’(big ferry) 20 16h 30’ (big ferry) 16h 00’ (big ferry)
7 9h 00’(big ferry) 8h 30’ (big ferry) 21 17h 00’ (small ferry) 16h 30’ (small ferry)
8 9h 30’ (small ferry) 9h 00’(small ferry) 22 17h 30’ (big ferry) 17h 00’ (big ferry)
9 10h 00’ (big ferry) 9h 30’ (big ferry) 23 18h 30’ (small ferry) 18h 00’(small ferry)
10 10h 30’ (small ferry) 10h 00’ (small ferry)
11 11h 00’ (big ferry) 10h 30’ (big ferry)
12 12h 00’ (small ferry) 11h 00’ (small ferry)
13 13h 00’ (big ferry) 12h 00’(big ferry)
14 13h 30’ (small ferry) 13h 00’ (small ferry)



  • Hydrofoil  


  • Fares:


Route Adults Children
Hai Phong ⇔ Cat Ba  VND 220.000/ turn  VND 110.000/ turn 

Hai Phong ⇔ Cat Ba 

(Friday/ Saturday 9:00AM & Sunday 14:00PM) 

VND 250.000/ turn  VND 110.000/ turn 
Hai Phong ⇔ Cai Vieng ⇔ Cat Ba  VND 180.000/ turn  VND 90.000/ turn 
Hai Phong ⇔ Cai Vieng VND 150.000/ turn  VND 80.000/ turn 


  • Timetable: 
  • Departing time from Hai Phong => Cat Ba: 7:00 – 9:00 – 10:00 – 13:00 – 15:00 – 16:00
  • Departing time from Cat Ba => Hai Phong: 7:00 – 8:00 – 10:00 – 13:00 – 14:00 – 16:00
  • Timetable is subject to change on holiday under unexpected circumstances.

5 ways to get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi

April 11, 2020 By Uncategorized Comments Off

180 km away from Hanoi, Cat Ba Island is the largest among 367 islands spreading out 100 square miles making up Cat Ba Archipelago. It takes approximately 4 hours on 2 road trips and 1 sea route to get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi. Yet, there are plenty of transportation choices depending on your travel taste.

About Cat Ba Island

Nestled on the edge of Vietnam’s magnificent Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island’s landscapes are rugged and spectacular with a wide range of natural ecosystems which are totally perfect for exploring by bike, motorbike or car; but most interestingly on Heritage Cruises. 

Cat Ba Island is home to 6 communes with a population of about 13,500 inhabitants. This beautiful island encompasses two distinctive parts regarding Cat Ba Town with a concentration of tourism services and Cat Ba National Park featured by dense forests and its biodiversity. 

The distance between Hanoi and Cat Ba Island is approximately 180km (~112 miles), including 02 road trips and 01 sea route. It takes 4 hours on average to get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi. But there are plenty of other choices depending on your travel taste.

1. DIRECT BUS (including speedboat ticket)

If you want to make it quick, you can buy a bus ticket to get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi. This bus ticket covers all 3 parts of the journey: 2 on land and 1 speedboat, with the center of Cat Ba Town as its final destination. Unlike going by train, you are absolutely worry-free about time. 

Part 1: Hanoi – Ben Got (2.5 hours)

Bus from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island will pick up passengers and depart from the company offices (which are often located in the Old Quarter). The bus will take the Highway 5B Hanoi – Hai Phong and pass the bridge over Tan Vu beach to Ben Got, Cat Hai, Hai Phong. 

This new bridge (since 2017) saves so much time to go to Hai Phong/ Cat Ba Island from Hanoi, reducing the fare of bus tickets by ⅓. 

Part 2: Ben Got – Cai Vieng Port (10 minutes)

You will then take a ferry or speedboat, depending on the bus company. This little voyage takes 10 minutes by speedboat. 

Part 3: Cai Vieng Port – Cat Ba Town center (40 minutes)

From here, there will be a bus picking you up and taking you to the center of Cat Ba Town. On the way, you will have the chance to enjoy one of the most beautiful roads in Vietnam with the impressive scenery of mountains, caves, blue beaches and white sand. 


There are more than 10 direct buses from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island everyday. The earliest one departs at 6:00 while the latest one departs at 14:30. Bus fare ranges from $11 – $17. 


If you want to explore the train system of Vietnam, this is an ideal option. However, it might take a lot of time and effort to enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience. This option includes 2 parts: Hanoi to Hai Phong by train & Hai Phong to Cat Ba by speedboat. 

Part 1: Hanoi – Hai Phong by train (2.5 hours)

This railway is not a part of the main North-South railway in Vietnam, which makes it interesting enough to be worth a try. The 102-km journey takes about 2 hours and 35 minutes. The leisurely speed allows passengers to enjoy Vietnamese countryside’s lives that are just a few centimeters outside the window. 


Train code Departure time Departure destination Arrival time Arrival destination
HP1 6:00 Hanoi Railway Station 8:15 Hai Phong Railway Station
LP3 9:20 Long Bien Railway Station 12:00 Hai Phong Railway Station
LP5 15:35 Long Bien Railway Station 18:00 Hai Phong Railway Station
LP7 18:10 Long Bien Railway Station 20:35 Hai Phong Railway Station


Hanoi Railway Station: 120 Lê Duẩn, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

Long Bien Railway Station: Trần Nhật Duật, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 

Hai Phong Railway Station: 75 Lương Khánh Thiện, Ngô Quyền, Hải Phòng 

Train tickets cost about $2 – $4 each, depending on type of seats (hard or soft). 

If you are planning to arrive at Cat Ba on the same day, HP1 and LP3 are strongly recommended so that you won’t miss your speedboat. But you can consider to spend one or two nights in Hai Phong as this city is also worthy of a visit. 

Part 2: Hai Phong – Cat Ba by ferry/ speedboat (1 hour) 

There are 2 departure points for speedboats and ferries in Hai Phong. They also have different destinations. 

2.1 From Ben Binh – Cat Ba Port (45 minutes)

From Hai Phong Railway Station, it will take you 10 minutes by car and 20 minutes on foot to get to Ben Binh. You can buy speedboat tickets at the port. Cost of tickets range from 180.000 VND – 240.000 VND. No ferry available here. The earliest speedboat departs at 9:00 and the latest one departs at 16:00.

Ben Binh: 4 Bến Bính, Minh Khai, Hồng Bàng, Hải Phòng

Cat Ba Port: Cát Bà Town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng 

2.2 From Ben Got – Cai Vieng Port (10 minutes)

Ben Got is 27 km away from Hai Phong Railway Station, taking approximately 40 minutes to get there from the station by car. You will have to go pass the bridge over Tan Vu Beach which is a part of the Highway, so it is required to catch a taxi from Hai Phong. 

Price for speedboat tickets is 220.000VND/ turn on weekdays and 250.000VND/ turn on weekends. For ferries, it costs only 12.000VND/ person without vehicle. The earliest ferry departs at 5:30 and the latest one departs at 18:30. 

From Cai Vieng Port, you need to go 24km to get to the center of Cat Ba Town.

Ben Got: Bến Gót, Cái Viềng, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng

Cai Vieng Port: 365 Phù Long, Cái Viềng, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng


If luxury is your preference, the best transportation from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island is by seaplane. 

Currently, there are only flights between Hanoi and Tuan Chau Island (Ha Long, Quang Ninh) operated by Hai Au Aviation. It takes 45 minutes from Noi Bai Airport to Tuan Chau Island Marina. This promises to be a unique experience with aerial views over the North of Vietnam ending with impressive water landing at Tuan Chau Island. 

After landing at Tuan Chau Island, you can either catch a coach or take a ferry to get to Cat Ba Island.

The below fares are not including 2% conveniences fee if paying via credit card (no extra charge if paying directly or bank transfer). 

3.1 Summer schedule

Flight Route Departure time Arrival time Public fare
16 Apr 2020 – 30 Sep 2020 01 Oct 2020 – 31 Oct 2020
Hanoi – Ha Long 09:00 10:00 VND 7,750,000 VND 9,700,000
Hanoi – Ha Long 12:30 13:30 VND 7,750,000 VND 9,700,000
Hanoi – Ha Long 14:30 15:15 VND 4,200,000 VND 4,200,000
Hanoi – Ha Long 16:00 16:45 VND 5,550,000 VND 6,950,000

3.2 Winter schedule 

Flight Route Departure time Arrival time Public fare
01 Nov 2019 – 31 Jan 2020 01 Feb 2020 – 14 Apr 2020
Hanoi – Ha Long 09:20 10:20 VND 9,700,000
10:05 11:05 VND 9,700,000 VND 9,700,000
Hanoi – Ha Long 12:30 13:30 VND 9,700,000 VND 9,700,000
Hanoi – Ha Long 14:30 15:15 VND 4,200,000 VND 4,200,000
Hanoi – Ha Long 16:00 16:45 VND 6,950,000
16:05 16:50 VND 6,950,000
16:25 17:10 VND 6,950,000
16:35 17:20 VND 6,950,000


4. Motorbike

For adventurous travellers, you can get to Cat Ba Island from Hanoi on your own. There are 2 options available.

4.1 Hanoi – Hai Phong – Cat Ba Island

You can take the QL5 from Hanoi to Hai Phong, then catch a ferry at Ben Got, Cai Vieng, Hai Phong. The ferry will take you to Cai Vieng Port. 

From here, you will need to ride 15-20 km more to get to Cat Ba town center. This promises to be one of the most impressive road trips with the beautiful scenes of the beach, fishing villages and cliffs along the coast. 

The total distance is around 130 km.

4.2 Hanoi – Hai Duong – Tuan Chau – Cat Ba Island 

From Hanoi, you can take QL18 to Bac Ninh – Hai Duong, then arrive at Ha Long to catch a ferry at Tuan Chau. When coming to Hai Duong, it is recommended to visit Con Son – Kiep Bac relic site if you have spare time. Or you can spend 1-2 days in Ha Long City as this is also a famous tourist attraction. 

Then you can catch a ferry at Gia Luan Port (Tuan Chau) to get to Cat Ba Island. There are 7 ferry trips/ day on average, starting at 7:30 and ending at 18:00. With a different departing port, the route to Cat Ba Island center will also be different. Instead of riding along the coast, you will go through the dense and pristine forests on Cat Ba Island. The weather is suggested to be cool and fresh as you ride through the greenwood. The road is newly done, so it is unnecessary to worry about your road trip. 

The total distance is around 150 km.

5. Limousine shuttles 

This option ensures your convenience, speed and privacy. Heritage Cruises provides daily limousine shuttles from Hanoi city center to Ben Got. The limousine is well-equipped with free Wi-Fi, luxurious leather seats and professional drivers. Door-to-door pick-up and drop-off is also offered. Price is at only 45 USD/ person for a round trip between Hanoi and Ben Got in Cat Ba Archipelago. 

Private cars and limousines can also be arranged – from Hanoi, Airports, or any other locations.

Top 5 activities in Lan Ha Bay 2020

April 7, 2020 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Located in the east of Cat Ba Island and in the south of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay has an area of more than 7000 hectares with about 400 large and small islands. As it is quite isolated to the mainland, this destination successfully preserves its unspoiled natural scenery. Let’s come and explore the interesting activities in Lan Ha Bay

Surroundings of Catba National Park

1. Go sightseeing in Lan Ha Bay 

The location of Lan Ha Bay is admirably convenient as it is adjacent to the UNESCO Heritage Site Halong Bay and is surrounded by Cat Ba Archipelago. While Halong Bay is often touristy and crowded, Lan Ha Bay has its own beauty of tranquility and pristinity. To explore and enjoy this beauty, going sightseeing is the best activity in Lan Ha Bay

Unlike Halong Bay, the limestone islets of Lan Ha Bay are all covered with green trees and vegetation, bringing a completely natural feel to this bay. Even if the limestone towering islands are only at the size of penjing, trees still grow strongly and densely. The density of limestone islets in Lan Ha Bay is quite thick, creating smaller bays. 

To participate in this sightseeing activity, visitors can travel by boat or cruise only. 

2. Visiting caves on basket boat

One of the most popular caves in Lan Ha Bay is Light and Dark Cave. The two caves are located at the border of Lan Ha Bay, Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. It’s close to Cat Ba National Park. You can get on a basket boat and a local will take you to caves. Light and Dark Caves are formed by enclosed groups of limestone islets with a 3-meter-high and 100-meter-long entrance. 

Sitting on the basket boat, you will feel the gentle flow of the sea and find yourself very close to nature. Although boat rides can make you a little dizzy and out of balance, riding basket boats into the caves is still one of the most interesting activities in Lan Ha Bay

3. Kayaking 

If you prefer privacy and love to exercise, you can rent a kayak and explore Lan Ha Bay on your own. The water here is averagely shallow, and the caves are not too big. That’s why only small boats can access the area. It is an exciting activity to kayak in the middle of Lan Ha Bay and see through the clear and clean water to find some beautiful coral reefs and seaweed. 

Kayaking will bring an entirely different experience while visiting Lan Ha Bay. You have the chance to scour through each and every island and cave, getting close to the foot of limestone islets and try touching the rough surface. You can even watch sunset while being in the water, truly immersing in nature. What can be more impressive than this activity in Lan Ha Bay?

If kayaking all day to explore Lan Ha Bay is too tiring for you, don’t hesitate to book a room on Heritage Cruise. You can always enjoy the scenery from the 5-star cruise and only kayak whenever you want to. 

4. Swimming in the middle of the sea 

Lan Ha Bay can be described as the most ideal beach in Northern Vietnam. There are no big scary waves as the water is pleasantly calm. So there is no reason to miss such a nice activity in Lan Ha Bay. Moreover, the tranquil atmosphere is something you rarely find on beaches in Vietnam, but swimming in the middle of the sea will allow you to experience that. It is enjoyable and relaxing to immerse yourself in the cool water. And don’t worry too much about your safety.

Cruises operating in Lan Ha Bay are equipped with emergency boats and canoes with qualified lifeguards to ensure the safety of tourists. Heritage Cruise guarantees that as long as you swim in sight, we will make sure that you are safe and sound.

Other options for swimming are Van Boi Beach, Van Ha Beach and Cat Dua Beach.

5. Dinner on water 

This is the most romantic activity in Lan Ha Bay. Imagine having a 5-star dinner in the elegant melody of live music and the warm light of candles on Heritage Cruise. With a view of the mysterious and dim Lan Ha Bay after sunset, you will get to taste the local and fusion cuisine of both Asian and Western culture. With the freshest and finest ingredients that are available, Heritage Cruise will take you on a culinary journey. Every course is infused with creativity and served with passion. 

Our extensive wine list is selected by sommeliers, in consultation with our chefs, to ensure that your wine choice complements the cuisine from our kitchen. Whether you seek contemporary cuisine or classical perfection, our chefs are there to serve a dining experience that transcends the genre, raises the bar, and creates a lasting impression.

Top 5 things to explore in Cat Ba Island 

April 2, 2020 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Located in Northern Vietnam, Cat Ba Island is the largest island of Halong Bay with an area of 285 km2. The charm of Cat Ba not only lies in the splendid islets of towering limestone in Lan Ha Bay but also in the serenity of a-lot-less-touristy destination. 

Cat Ba Island belongs to Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City. Geographically, this island is 30 km away from Hai Phong City and 25 km from Ha Long City. It is adjacent to the Halong Bay World Heritage site. In 2004, UNESCO recognized Cat Ba Archipelago as a World Biosphere Reserve as this island is the best example of a fengcong and fenglin karst landscape invaded by the sea. 

Only 2 hours from Hanoi, Cat Ba Island has unique experiences for travelers to truly immerse in the culture of Vietnam. 

1. Spend a night on the sea in Lan Ha Bay 

Belonging to the east of Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay lies right next to Halong Bay. This undisturbed bay has nearly 400 limestone islets covered with trees, creating impressive and unique natural scenery. And there is no better way to explore these impressive outcroppings than traveling on a Lan Ha Bay cruise.

Although this is a popular tour in Halong Bay, cruises from Cat Ba are still quite new. Make the best out of your experience by adding cultural and historical value to your voyage. Currently, Heritage Cruise is one of the best Lan Ha Bay cruises operating this activity. Inspired by a highly intelligent Vietnamese entrepreneur in the 20th century called Bach Thai Buoi, Heritage Cruise is the first boutique cruise in Vietnam. The cruise ensures to bring relaxation along with culture and history in a sense of luxury.  

2. See the monkeys on Monkey Island

Monkey Island is 1 km from Cat Ba, but the only route to this island is via Cai Beo floating village on a boat from Beo wharf. Monkey Island can be named as the rising star of Cat Ba Island and Hai Phong City since it attracts many curious travelers who love… monkeys. 

The official name of this island is Cat Dua, but both locals and tourists renamed it since there are too many monkeys living on this island of the 3-kilometer parameter. These monkeys are familiar to humans due to daily interaction. They are now known for their hospitality. However, sometimes they can be too friendly and start robbing food from tourists. 

Monkey Island is famous for its unspoiled beauty of green mountains and white sandy beaches. You can stay at resorts on Monkey Island to fully enjoy nature. This island is also a popular stop for most cruises from Cat Ba Island.

3. Experience local culture at Viet Hai Village

Located in Cat Ba National Park, Viet Hai is a small fishing village of 141 ha and 70 households living. In comparison with other villages in Cat Ba, Viet Hai Village retains its pristine and untouched landscape. Surrounded by dense forests and limestone mountains, this small village is completely separated from the outside world.

The villagers and their ancestors have been living here for centuries – fishing, farming, and breeding. They create a unique and strong community where people are always there for each other. They are the most friendly and sincere locals ever. Pay Viet Hai Village a visit, enjoy this one of a kind experience with the locals and learn the key to live in harmony with nature from them.

4. Kayak in Cat Ba Island

If you want to truly immerse in nature and experience the scale of those towering limestone islets, kayaking promises to bring you an unforgettable memory. There are many destinations such as Lan Ha Bay, Dark & Light Cave, Three Peaches Beach, and Vem Cave to explore by kayak. Imagine sailing your own boat and feeling the majestic natural world around you. It is absolutely an inspiring activity. 

Hiring a kayak is not too hard in Cat Ba. If you have an adventurous lifestyle, you can rent one on your own and follow the map of Cat Ba. But this is only recommended to experienced kayakers as you might crash into the limestone reefs or get lost on an isolated island. Waves can sometimes be unexpectedly strong at someplace in the Gulf of Tonkin. Kayak tours in Cat Ba Island are also popular. For most travelers, they often enjoy kayaking while boarding a cruise in Lan Ha Bay. This ensures the safety of tourists yet the excitement of kayaking remains. 

5. Go swimming in Cat Ba Island beaches

A few hundred meters away from the center of Cat Ba town, there are three beaches all named Cat Co. None of them are too massive, but the water is clear and not too cold. There is a long wooden bridge along the curvy mountainside of Lan Ha Bay, connecting the three beaches. 

Cat Co 1 Beach is the largest out of the three. Surrounded by rocky mountains, Cat Co 1 is also the most popular beach thanks to its beauty. If you wish for a more tranquil place to sunbathe, Cat Co 2 is an ideal option with soft white sand. In case you are a good swimmer, you can go swimming in Cat Co 3 where the water is deep and the waves are strong.

Cat Ba Island weather all year round

Cat Ba Island (Cat Hai, Hai Phong) has been a rising star of Northern Vietnam tourism in recent years. With an area of 300km2, this island has 367 all-size islands surrounded by deep blue water. Cat Ba Island weather varies in different seasons, but each of them has its own unique beauty. 

Tourists can visit Cat Ba all year round without worrying about extreme weather conditions. Indeed, you can choose the most suitable weather to visit this destination thanks to the diversity of Cat Ba Island weather.


Spring – January to March

In Spring, the weather in Cat Ba is quite cold with some frequent drizzles or light rain. There are chances that it will be a little murky. However, this Cat Ba weather can be a perfect pick for visitors coming from all-hot-and-sunny climates.  This can be an one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience humid and chilly weather. 

However, swimming is not suggested in this weather. Recommended activity for this weather is cruising in which you can enjoy the scenery in a sense of luxury and warmth. Besides, spring is the time when Vietnamese celebrate Tet. This is a wonderful time to learn more about Vietnam’s culture through traditional celebrations. Heritage Cruise includes exploring fishing villages where you can get to know more about local traditions.

Summer – April to August 

The summer weather of Cat Ba Island is perfect for swimming. There is nothing more refreshing than immersing yourself in the clear water of Cat Ba to beat the heat of summer. Summer is also a wonderful time to travel with your family and leave behind all the stress and strain. 

April to August is when Cat Ba Island is most busy with visitors from all over the world. There are plenty of activities to choose from without worrying about being disturbed by the weather. Tourists can visit Lan Ha Bay on a cruise to explore the limestone islets or kayak on the sea, trek in Cat Ba National Park or swim in Monkey Island. At night, visitors can come to the night market and make new friends as this time of the year Cat Ba Island will welcome a lot of travellers from Vietnam and abroad.

Autumn – September to November 

Autumn has always been associated with romance, and there is no exception for Cat Ba weather. This is a great time for couples to relax in Cat Ba and enjoy the fresh air of autumn. The weather is similar to summer, but there is no extreme heat. If you are lucky, you might get to enjoy the best days of Cat Ba weather when it is pleasantly cool and not too sunny.

If tranquility is what you seek for on holiday, Cat Ba in autumn is definitely a perfect fit. There is no crowd or endless waiting to be served. Most of all, the sea is not rough at all in this weather of Cat Ba. There are 2 tempting consequences following this weather condition. Firstly, swimming will be incredibly pleasant. Secondly, seafood will have fattier taste – a unique feature of this season in Cat Ba. 

There is no emphasis when saying that Cat Ba in autumn is ideal for a honeymoon. 

Winter – November to December

Like anywhere else in the world, the winter weather in Cat Ba is cold and foggy. However, the winter temperature is from 10 to 20 Celsius degrees only thanks to Vietnam’s tropical climate. In fact, this is a lot warmer than many European and Asian countries in winter. For that reason, Cat Ba in winter is still attractive to visitors from abroad. 

On the other hand, Cat Ba Island in winter is surely peaceful and relaxing as there won’t be too many tourists. If you want to explore the hidden beauty of this treasure island of Northern Vietnam, don’t hesitate to come at the end of the year. Some comments revealed that winter is the best time as there is absolutely no cicada noise. 

If you are still unsure, imagine celebrating a memorable Christmas and New Year Eve on water in a 4-star cruise at Lan Ha Bay. What can be more special? 


Regardless of the differences of Cat Ba weather, tourists actually can visit this island all year round. Peak season of Cat Ba is summer when there will be a lot of travellers from all over the world gathering at this destination. If you are a sociable person who loves to make new friends, summer is your fit. This is also the time to release all the stress and reward yourself with a vacation. So just come and explore the sandy beach of Cat Ba if you don’t mind the bustle (and the cicada noise).

Yet, spring, autumn and winter always welcome you to enjoy the serenity charm of Cat Ba Island. If you can spare some time to explore this island in these seasons, it will be a worthwhile experience at very low cost. 

However the weather in Cat Ba Island is, it is still worth a visit.