1. Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Northern Vietnam
Cat Ba Island is situated in the eastern of Hai Phong, about 45 km far from the city center. With an area of over 350 km2, Cat Ba Island is known as the biggest island in Halong Bay. This island belongs to a wide range of 367 islands scattered over Halong Bay. Moreover, it is quite easily accessible and goes with Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay creating marvelously natural beauty. On this island, a variety of tourism activities are offered for tourists in terms of relaxation, cultural discovery and adventure tours. Cat Ba Island has attracted both domestic and international tourists by its incredibly geographical features including limestones mountain, tropical rainforest ecosystem, magnificent coral reef, stunning beaches, and aquatic ecosystem as well.
In 2005, Cat Ba Island was officially recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
When traveling to Cat Ba Island, you probably will want to know the most exciting activities to go to Cat Ba Island. Understanding those demands, Heritage Cruises will list out for tourists Top things to do in Cat Ba Island in this article. Hopefully, it’s useful for your trip to Cat Ba.
2. How to get to Cat Ba Island
There are some routes to get to Cat Ba Island, you can get accessed to the last article for more details. So in this part, we will give you some brief ways to reach Cat Ba Island that are convenient for the trip to Cat Ba.
Option 1: You can take a bus to get to Lan Ha Bay from Hanoi. The bus will go around the Old Quarter and then pick you up to transfer directly to Hai Phong City, at Dinh Vu Port. We suggest Good Morning Cat Ba and Cat Ba Express are good car service providers. The price for transport is quite reasonable, Good Morning Cat Ba – VND 350,000/person and Cat Ba Express – VND 340,000/person.
Option 2: You can use or hire a private van to get to Dinh Vu Port (Hai Phong). This way is extremely proper for those who are a large group of visitors or a family with children. The price is proper, 7 seats (VND 900,000 – 1,000,000/ one-way) and 16 seats, around VND 2,600,000/one-way. It takes about 3 hours due to the new highway Hanoi – Haiphong.
From Dinh Vu Port, you’ll take a speedboat or ferry to get to Cai Vieng Port on Cat Ba Island, about 30 mins. Then, you can continue to visit Lan Ha Bay if you want. The price for ferry Dinh Vu Port – Cai Vieng Port is VND 15,000/person and the speedboat is VND 90,000/person.
3. Top things to do in Cat Ba Island
If you want to know more activities to do in Cat Ba Island, swimming is absolutely one of the top activities, especially in the hot weather of summer, there’s no happiness than immersing in the clear crystal water on Cat Ba Island. In Cat Ba Town, you can go to Cat Co Beaches like Cat Co 1, 2 and 3 but those beaches are usually crowded with many tourists. There is a wide range of small beaches in Lan Ha Bay that are more untouched and under the crystal clear water such as beaches in Monkey Island, Three Peaches Beaches, Tung Thu Beach and other beaches without the touching of tourists in Lan Ha Bay.
So how to reach the off-the-beaten-track beaches in Lan Ha Bay? You can go to Beo Harbour and rent boat machine transferring tourists to other beaches, about VND 300,000 – 500,000 for 6 persons in a boat. Besides swimming, you can combine with sightseeing the natural landscapes in Lan Ha Bay.
For those who are adventurous, you can hire a kayak at Quang Anh, Xuan Hong Houseboat, VND 200,000/kayak within a day and then, go to the isolated beaches.
3.2 Exploring Lan Ha Bay
One of the most spectacular gulfs on our planet, Lan Ha Bay still keeps its pristine and untouched beauty compared to other bays like Halong Bay. So exploring Lan Ha Bay is always listed in the activities to do in Cat Ba Island. There are 3 ways to go explore Lan Ha Bay and it takes a day to visit this beautiful gulf.
Option 1: Renting a boat for exploring Lan Ha Bay
If you go to a group of people, with children and the elders, should you hire a boat for going around Lan Ha Bay and maybe combine to go swimming in Monkey Island.
However, these boats just take the guests to visit the bay from Beo Harbour to Monkey Island and then come back within 3 hours. Price is from VND 1,300,000 to 2,000,000. If you want to go farther for discovering, negotiate with the boats’ owner and pay more. The lunch meals should be prepared.
Option 2: Going on a kayak or renting a boat
If you like the feeling of freedom and adventure, just hire a boat or go kayaking for discovering the gulf. That would be an amazing experience.
Option 3: Taking a cruise ship for exploring Lan Ha Bay
Amongst activities for doing in Cat Ba Island, going on a cruise for visiting Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island is highly recommended. There are lots of cruise ships offering full packages regarding meals, activities, and services for tourists to explore and discover Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island. One of the top cruises – Heritage Cruises offers a special itinerary for a go around Lan Ha Bay and high-end services to serve the guests including kayaking in Bright and Dark Cave, scuba diving or swimming on Three Peaches Island, etc.
You can read more information about How to tailor-made a Lan Ha Bay day tour
Lan Ha Bay is considered a kayaking paradise since it has tons of white sandy beaches and small beautiful islands. Certainly, Lan Ha Bay will be truly heaven for those who enjoy kayaking in pristine water to discover marvelously natural landscapes of Cat Ba Island. Some famous places for kayaking in Lan Ha Bay are Cat Beo Floating Village, Van Boi Beach, Ba Trai Dao, etc.
Kayaking is one of the most exciting things to do in Cat Ba Island. Combining with kayaking, you can take scuba diving for watching the coral reefs by the mask or by an oxygen cylinder, about VND 1 million – 1,5 million/person. You can note that you can hire a kayak or take a kayak tour and combine it with scuba diving for watching the coral reefs within a day. Going on a kayak by yourself helps to have a chance to visit and explore every corner of Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay but taking a pre-arranged tour allows you to visit the most beautiful destinations in Lan Ha Bay and enjoy scuba diving by the oxygen cylinder with the lunch, VND 390,000/person. For more details, you can read at How to rent a kayak in Cat Ba Island.
3.4 Swimming and discovering Monkey Island
Monkey Island, which is not far from Cat Ba Island, one of the small beaches visited by a number of tourists on Cat Ba Island. This island has two areas including the resort for those who stay overnight on Monkey Island and the other area is the beach for everyone to swim and relax. Besides swimming, you can climb on the top of Monkey Island and contemplate the breathtaking views of Lan Ha Bay. How to get to Monkey Island, you can read more here for more detailed information.
There’s a group of monkeys on Monkey Island, which is quite suitable for groups of tourists have children. Cat Dua Beach with its crystal clear water is known as the most magnificent beach on Cat Ba Island. A wide range of rough limestone mountain ranges is in front of the beach, which makes picturesque landscapes.
3.5. Rock climbing
For adventurous lovers, rock climbing is always the top things to do in Cat Ba Island. Cat Ba also has an international rock climbing center so you can book a half or a full-day rock climbing tour in Monkey Island Resort.
3.6 Watching the sunset in Cannon Fort
The sunset on the ocean is always charming and alluring, especially in Cat Ba where there are lots of swaying limestone mountain ranges near the sea. One of the most favorite places to watch the sunset on Cat Ba Island is in Cannon Fort, in which you have an opportunity to contemplate the whole picture of Cat Ba Town from here. If time permits, you can visit the historical site left from the wartime.
3.7 Discovering Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park is the home of rare Cat Ba Langur which is listed on the Red Book, along with varied floristic composition. This is a perfect chance for you to get closer to nature. Furthermore, there are several things to do in Cat Ba Island, especially trekking routes through the forests including from forest gate to Frog Pond, Frog Pond – Viet Hai Village, etc.
Challenging yourself with tough trekking routes in Cat Ba National Park helps you have a chance to explore and contemplate the breathtaking sceneries from here which is considered as one of the most spectacular and unique views in Cat Ba. You can read more at Cat Ba National Park: All you need to know before you go for more information.
3.8 Visiting the villages in Cat Ba Island.
Among the things to do in Cat Ba Island, visiting the villages on the island is the activity that cannot be missed. From Viet Hai Harbour in Lan Ha Bay, you’ll take a motorbike or bicycle to visit Viet Hai fishing village, about 6km. You’ll have a chance to know more about the culture and daily life of local people. That might bring an interesting experience. Besides, you’ll have an opportunity to visit Cat Beo floating village where local residents stay at floating houses and children go to school on a boat.
3.9 Relaxing on the private island
Lan Ha Bay has still kept its pristine nature so there are a few private beaches that include bungalows for visitors to stay overnight. You can book a room here and spend time on lovely beaches for playing beach football, beach volleyball or kayaking. So relaxing on the private islands is also listed on the top things to do in Cat Ba Island.
3.10 Tasting the seafood in Cat Ba Island
Beside dried squid and garrupa, Cat Ba Island is also famous for a variety of seafood such as mantis shrimp, oyster, sea snake, etc. Coming to Cat Ba Island, you should try one of those specialties once. You can read more on the article Best food in Cat Ba you should not miss for more details. So tasting seafood is one of the top things to do in Cat Ba Island for the tourists.
With tons of breathtaking natural landscapes and perfect climate conditions that nature endows with Cat Ba Island, you can do various fascinating activities in Cat Ba Island regarding swimming, kayaking, rock climbing, trekking via the jungle, scuba diving, exploring the landscapes and seascapes in the gulf and simply relaxing on the private beaches. Hopefully, Heritage Cruises provides useful information for your trip to Cat Ba Island.