How to go from Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island

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

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. 

 

DEPARTURE TIME (IN SUMMER)
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)

 

DEPARTURE TIME (IN WINTER)
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

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. 

With-pristine-water-and-surrounding-nature-landscapes-heritage-cruises-binh-chuan-makes-great-impressions-on-tourists-minds

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. 

2. TRAIN & SPEEDBOAT

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

3. SEAPLANE 

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

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 

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? 

Recommendations 

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. 

Top 5 things to explore in Cat Ba Island

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.

10 must-try restaurants in Cat Ba Island 

Located in the Gulf of Tonkin of Northern Vietnam, Cat Ba Island can be considered the ideal destination for both its nature and culture. Most of all, the cuisine of this island is something visitors should never miss. Here is a list of 10 must-try restaurants in Cat Ba Island. 

1. Quang Anh Floating Restaurant 

Serving delicious fresh food at a reasonable price, Quang Anh Restaurant is the top-of-mind restaurant in Cat Ba Island. The menu is filled with traditional distinctive Vietnamese dining courses, especially fresh seafood dishes. It is usual to see Quang Anh Restaurant crowded with customers. 

What is impressive about this restaurant is that it is floating on water with strong and firm buoys at the bottom to prevent the restaurant from submerging. Your first step into Quang Anh Restaurant might be a little bit staggering, but be assured that it is totally safe to eat here without falling into water. However, if you are extremely sensitive towards seasickness, it is better for you to try other famous restaurants in Cat Ba Island instead of this one. 

Address: Ben Beo, Cat Ba Island | On the road to Cat Co 3, Cat Ba, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 98 259 51 59

Opening hours: 6:00 – 22:30 PM (Monday – Sunday)

2. Green Mango 

Green Mango Cat Ba has always been a popular restaurant in Cat Ba Island, especially for foreigners. This is a hotel’s restaurant, serving a variety of dishes of both Vietnamese and Western cuisine. You can either enjoy a Vietnamese noodles or an Italian pizza, or both. The place also serves cocktails and wine. 

The staff are enthusiastic and dedicated, ensuring your comfort while dining in. 

Address: 236 Một Tháng Tư, Cát Bà town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 31 3887 151

Opening hours: 7:00 – 23:00 (Monday – Sunday)

3. Phuong Nhung Restaurant

Like other local restaurants in Cat Ba, Phuong Nhung Restaurant serves excellent local food at a reasonable price. The restaurant is famous for its fried rice, fried noodles, spring rolls pho. Vegetarian and vegan options are available. This restaurant has breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. Recently, the owner added tasty desserts such as fresh fruits yogurt to the menu. 

Address: 184 Một Tháng Tư, Cát Bà town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 97 605 38 23

Opening hours: 6:30 – 22:00 (Monday – Sunday)

4. Mona Restaurant 

If you love the idea of dining with a view, Mona Restaurant will definitely be your favorite restaurant in Cat Ba. This place has a rooftop overlooking the sea, where you can enjoy seafood and have a sip of beer while immersing in the beautiful scenery. Mona Restaurant is also a cafe with diverse and fresh drinks. 

A plus point is that they have gluten free options.  

Address: 180 Một Tháng Tư, Cát Bà town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 93 467 48 99

Opening hours: 8:00 – 23:00 (Monday – Sunday)

5. Phuong Phuong Restaurant 

Phuong Phuong Restaurant is one of the most crowded restaurants in Cat Ba. This place serves a variety of local dishes but mainly seafood. Here, they have the freshest ingredients including shrimps, crabs, oysters and squids. If you travel with a big group, it is recommended to book a table as Phuong Phuong Restaurant can be really crowded. However, there is no need to worry about being cramped as the restaurant is quite spacious. 

Address: 232 Một Tháng Tư, Cát Bà town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 31 3888 254 

Opening hours: 6:00 – 23:30 (Monday – Sunday)

6. Quan Cat Ba Family Restaurant

This restaurant in Cat Ba is famous for its tasty local dishes with high-quality ingredients and a reasonable price. Fresh seafood is a highlight, especially the mouth-watering and savory grilled geoduck dish. Staff are friendly and enthusiastic. Quan Cat Ba Family Restaurant is popular among tourists, and is a safe choice for every meal in the day. If you wish to have a taste of Cat Ba delicacy, this restaurant is an ideal option.

Address: 195 Một Tháng Tư, Cát Bà town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 98 659 03 18

Opening hours: 8:00 – 21:30 (Monday – Sunday)

7. Yummy Restaurant

This is another restaurant in Cat Ba with reasonable prices and yummy local food. The quality of food is always guaranteed while the price can’t be any more affordable. The average price for a dish is about VND 50,000 and a beer is just VND 15,000. This restaurant rarely lets its customers wait too long for their food – this is a huge plus. If you want to experience the local life, have a bite at Yummy Restaurant.

Address: 180 Núi Ngọc, Cát Bà, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 97 795 09 06

Opening hours: 7:30 – 22:00 (Monday – Sunday)

8. Vietnamese Soul Food 

This restaurant is popular to both Vietnamese and foreign tourists. It can be a little pricey, however, high price comes with high quality food. “One of the best restaurants in Cat Ba” – a comment on Tripadvisor praised. Highly-regarded dishes are traditional Vietnamese food such as spring rolls, fried rice, fried noodle and pho. Staff are professional and dedicated. At Vietnamese Soul Food, you can find and explore the true flavor of Vietnamese food with hundreds of dishes.

Address: 131 Tùng Dinh, Cát Bà, Vietnam 

Phone number: +84 91 296 69 25

Opening hours: 8:00 – 22:00 (Monday – Sunday)

9. Quiri Pub Cocktail & Restaurant 

This might be the most creative and interesting pub and restaurant in Cat Ba. They use local ingredients to serve unique cocktails like Cocktail Pho, Autumn Hanoi Cocktail, Cocktail O Mai and many other signature cocktails of this pub. In addition to drinks, this restaurant is well-known for tasty dishes such as papaya salad, mango salad, sizzling beef, grilled fish with chilli and deep fried squids. There is absolutely no doubt about food quality here.

Address: 135 Tùng Dinh, Cát Bà, Cát Hải, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 98 162 30 96

Opening hours: 11:00 – 23:00 (Monday – Sunday)

10. My Way Cafe & Restaurant 

This cozy restaurant offers great dining experience with both Vietnamese and Western cuisine. It is an ideal restaurant in Cat Ba for homesick foreigners who suddenly miss the taste of home. Favorite dishes at My Way Cafe & Restaurant are burgers, french toast, pasta, pizza, and of course… pho. Beverages are as great as food. The restaurant also serves excellent egg coffee – a unique Vietnamese specialty. You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner at this place. 

Address: 184 Một Tháng Tư, Cát Bà town, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

Phone number: +84 98 209 31 38

Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00 (Monday – Sunday)

 

Monkey Island of Cat Ba: Vietnam’s hidden charm

Cat Ba Monkey Island a.k.a Cat Dua Island is a new stop for nature lovers exploring Northern Vietnam in recent years. The charm of this island lies in its pristine nature and beautiful scenery. Currently, this island is still pretty much intact as it stays untouched by humans and travellers. If you visit Cat Ba, Monkey Island is definitely worth a visit.

I. How to get there?

Monkey Island is nearly 2 km from Cat Ba town center. To reach this island, travellers can come to Cai Beo Port and rent a kayak. From here, you can sail for about 10 minutes through Cai Beo floating village and some small islands to arrive at Monkey Island of Cat Ba

There are plenty of locals and tourists so there is no concern about safety. The opportunity to row by yourself along with other people will be so impressive and memorable. 

II. Why Monkey Island of Cat Ba? 

Monkey Island was once called Cát Dứa Island as there was shade of wild pineapple trees everywhere on the island. (Dứa in Vietnamese means pineapple.) However, the locals couldn’t eat pineapples at that time. They soaked the pineapples in cold water or dried them as a folk remedy to cure diabetes. 

Later, the locals also called Cát Dứa Island as Monkey Island of Cat Ba because of the large number of monkeys inhabiting this island. Most of them were brought to the island by forest rangers. The monkeys are really bold and friendly to tourists. Shy tourists might feel startled at first while uncareful travellers might get teased and robbed by these naughty animals. Regardless of their bad habits, the monkeys on Cat Ba Monkey Island always succeed in earning favor from visitors, especially children. The playful monkeys even like to join in (or… disturb) some beach sports with humans.

III. What to do in Monkey Island of Cat Ba?

Visiting Cai Beo floating village

On the way to Cat Ba Monkey Island, you can stop by Cai Beo fishing village. The locals here are very nice and friendly. They do not take advantage of tourists so don’t worry about that. This is a precious opportunity to learn about the aquaculture of Vietnam from the experienced fishermen. You can see with your own eyes how fish are raised in the cages and witness the daily life on water of the villagers. 

Life does not make it easy for them, but they are all optimistic and resilient. 

Swimming and sunbathing

There are 2 different arc-shaped beaches in Cat Ba Monkey Island: Cat Dua 1 and Cat Dua 2. They are about 1 km long. The white sand is formed by the coral pieces, adding the memorable beauty and pleasant to Monkey Island beaches. 

In terms of length, Cat Dua 1 is a bit longer as it is where a military station is based. The water is crystally blue and the sand is pleasantly smooth. It is not too crowded as the access to Cat Ba Monkey Island is still limited. All of these makes this an ideal beach to swim and sunbathe in Cat Ba. There is a resort on Monkey Island providing table and chair sets with leafy umbrellas to avoid the sun. There are some available services such as food and drinks, ice-cream and swimsuits/ lifeboats/ kayaks for rent. 

Cat Dua 2 is right next to Cat Dua 1, but you have to walk past a tiger-shaped ridge separating the 2 beaches. What is special about Cat Dua 2 is the garden of hundreds-square meters nearby. There are so many trees inside including wild pineapple tree, white apple tree, banyan and heliotropium foertherianum. This is home to many species of birds. You can lay down on the white sand and sunbathe while enjoying natural melodies from the birds.

Mountain climbing 

If you are the explorer type of traveler, you can cross the wild pineapple garden and climb up to the top of the mountain. From here, you will have a panoramic view of the entire Lan Ha Bay with hundreds of islands of all sizes. And if you pick the perfect location, you might even see Halong Bay UNESCO Heritage site. Noone would want to miss the experience of seeing hundreds of large and small green islands in the crystal blue sea water from above. That is for sure. 

Best food in Cat Ba Island: What to eat?

Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Cat Ba Island is an attractive but serene destination unlike its neighbor Halong Bay. In terms of cuisine, it is guaranteed that this island provides one of the most diverse foods in Vietnam. Here is a list of the best food in Cat Ba Island that visitors should not miss.

1. Geoduck clam (Tu hai)

It will be a big mistake to not try this famous food in Cat Ba. In fact, geoduck is popular seafood in Northern Vietnam, however, Cat Ba is the place where best geoducks are raised. In the past, only kings could have a taste of this seafood. Thanks to the developed aquaculture of Vietnam, we can now have the chance to try what was served to kings only. 

Geoduck clam is truly a specialty of Cat Ba Island. Clams are rich in flavors, and they are undoubtedly juicy and crunchy at the same time. Popular dishes are grilled geoduck with onions, fried geoduck, geoduck soup and steamed geoduck.  

2. Horseshoe crab (Sam bien)

It is always a pair of male and female horseshoe crabs clinging to each other. Describing this interesting habit, there is a Vietnamese saying that reads “sticking to each other like horseshoe crabs” (dinh nhu sam). The weight of a female is about 1 kg, and a male is only half the weight.

People only use the meat of the female when cooking horseshoe crabs as the male are often too small. There are a variety of dishes cooking from horseshoe crabs. Some of the popular ones are salads, soup, grilled, fried and some even eat horseshoe crabs raw. Ingredients used to cook this seafood are galangal, lemongrass, chili, vinegar or guise leaves, onions, laksa. Sweet and sour horseshoe crab is a must-try food in Cat Ba Island.

3. Garrupa (Ca song) 

Garrupa belongs to the fish group that inhabits the warm water and the Pacific. There are 37 different species of garrupa. 30 of them inhabit Vietnam, in which Cat Ba is home to 3. Garrupa is a predator that hunts other fish. As a result, they have high nutrient value. 

Popular garrupa dishes in Cat Ba are raw, porridge, grilled, hotpot and steamed. In addition to the savoury taste of garrupa, tourists also find fun going fishing to catch this type of fish at night.

4. Sea serpent (Ran bien)

Sea serpents are not too big. They are only 1-2 meters long with slender and flatten bodies. There are 2 little venomous teeth in the upper jaw. Sea serpents have very strong and hard bones, which makes cooking them become difficult. 

When cooking, people will get rid of the organs and only use the bile and fat layer. Then, blood will be rinsed off their bodies with 90-degree alcohol and let dry in the sun. Later, that blood will be mixed with wine or substances. Sea serpent might seem like a scary food in Cat Ba Island but it actually is a folk remedy to treat dizziness, back pain and bone pain. 

5. Lobster 

It isn’t necessary to praise this king of seafood. The firm, chewy and sweet meat of lobsters is what makes people fall in love with this food. Not to mention the two admirably giant and meaty crab legs that easily makes anyone’s mouth water. 

But the best part of lobster lies in the crab roe. There is no such food in Cat Ba. Crab roe will be mixed with brandy and eaten fresh before the lobster is cooked. The roe has high-nutrient value, especially antiseptic value to the digestive tract. Eating roe also helps to prevent intestinal infections. 

6. Mantis shrimp (Be be)

Mantis shrimp has many Vietnamese names that might confuse travellers. If you come into a restaurant and see “bề bề”, “tôm tít”, “bọ ngựa biển” on the menu, they all mean mantis shrimp. This food in Cat Ba is actually popular in many other places in Northern Vietnam. But only in Cat Ba can you find such meaty and firm mantis shrimps. 

There are many dishes cooked with this shrimp: roasted with salt, steamed, fried with tamarind and hotpot. Mantis shrimps are easy to find in any Cat Ba restaurants – all fresh and tasty.

7. Red snapper and cobia 

The 2 fish species are the precious gift from nature to Cat Ba Island. Thanks to cobia farming, fishermen in Cat Ba have the opportunity to change their lives and have a stable income source. Before that, their lives completely depended on offshore fishing. Fishermen used to put their lives at risk every time they sailed off to the great sea. Now, the locals have learned to raise red snapper and cobia to improve life quality. 

The best cobia are farmed in Cai Beo village of Lan Ha Bay. Raised by experienced fishermen, cobia in Cat Ba has the signature taste of salty sea with high quality and food safety. It will be a big mistake if visitors don’t try this local food in Cat Ba

8. Mountain goats 

As an island, Cat Ba is lucky as it is given both mountains and sea. Thanks to the diverse nature, the food in Cat Ba Island is very special in its own way. Mountain goats are one of them. They have been inhabiting Cat Ba for quite a long time, and are native to this island. They live on precarious limestone cliffs. 

Because of its location, Cat Ba Island has always been isolated from the mainland. As a result, the native mountain goats here are rarely crossbred with the goats in mainland. That’s why there is such unique taste of Cat Ba mountain goats. Besides, these goats have a diet of medicinal plant leaves on mountains. This helps their meat to have high-nutrient value. 

9. Chicken Lien Minh

Similar to Cat Ba mountain goats, chicken Lien Minh is a native chicken breed in Lien Minh commune, Cat Ba district, Hai Phong. They live near the mountains and often eat around the limestone cliffs. Chicken Lien Minh is quite rare so it is hard to raise them with large quantities. They are free-range chickens so their thighs are firm and their meat is more solid with low fat. 

In fact, chicken Lien Minh can grow into really big ones. The average rooster weighs up to 3 kg, some even weighs up to 4.5 kg. If you get fed up with seafood, chicken Lien Minh is a great choice of food in Cat Ba

10. Orange Gia Luan 

The flora and fauna biosystem of Cat Ba is incredibly diverse and special in its own way without being crossbred. Orange Gia Luan is a standard example of this. This orange species is slightly sour but mostly sweet. The skin is thin and is attractively eye-catching when ripened. Orange Gia Luan has a special aroma that can make people’s mouth water.

Every year, Cat Ba harvests and offers 100 tons of orange Gia Luan to the market. Don’t miss your chance of tasting this specialty food of Cat Ba at a cheap price while visiting this island.