Cat Ba Island was great. Lots of restaurants lining the bay with decent eats and cold beer. Make sure to get outside of town and explore the island.
The National Park is a beautiful area, and so are the caves. The island in itself is stunning, plus it makes for a great spot to head out for Ha Long Bay from.
The nature of Cat Ba island is unquestionable beautiful. However, the "tourism management" need redoing and improving at some points
For the person looking for physical activity along with enjoying the beauty of Halong Bay, this is the way to go.
Bus/ferry/bus will get you easily to downtown Cat Ba island from Hanoi, and back again. Research tour companies before signing on as some are better than others. Asia Outdoors was outstanding in the service, staffing, meals, and options of activities.
We really enjoyed our walk to the village and lunch. We also loved that the roads were quiet and hired a scooter for a day (for the first time) and had so much fun with it.
I love this amazing place. Met the nicest people here. Go for a run along the sea, relax at the beach, take a boat to beautiful Halong Bay and do some kayaking, check out the rock climbing, go hiking in the National Park, ride around the mountains on a motorbike, eat incredible Pho, check out Rose Bar at night.
Just don't go. If you do, maybe spend an afternoon here. But I am not sure what you would want to see.
You could go to the National Park and see a grand total of 3 mammal species an perhaps 2 bird species. The most you will see here is groups of weary travelers, being shuffled from one excursion to the next. Very disappointing. I wish I had traveled to S Vietnam instead.
Visit Canon Fort. Since its a small island, don't have to spend many days there, 1 to 2 nights is good enough.
Food wasn't that great, so I was checking on Trip Advisor to see the top rated restaurants. If the weather allows, go for kayaking.
Quiet idylic Island, I would recommend staying a day or two before or after a junk tour of Lan Ha and Ho Long Bay.
Take the time a book 3 days and two nights. Do it on a one or two cabin boat and ask to keep away from the bigger boats that come from Ha Long. We sman and kayaked everyday in beautiful clean, warm tropical water. the water was so good my wife was the one constantly asking to jump overboard and hang off the anchor ropes. I understand many of the Ha Long mass produced tours wont let you swim. Honestly did not see any amount of rubbish around except for the occaisional plastic water bottles washed up on the small secuded beachs amongst the Karsts. Would highly recomend Mr Tung at Cat Ba Ventures, google his website
Cat Ba is a beautiful island with a national park, stunning islands and a small city. The National Park hosts monkeys which are not found anywhere else and is a well protected zone.
The islands are the same as in Halong Bay but the water around is much cleaner and you actually want to jump into the ocean. In Halong we have not seen anyone swimming there. The city is small and offer many seafood restaurants. Good fresh sea food and not overpriced. Getting around, you can rent a motorbike 5 USD/day, there are buses and meter taxis. easy to get a boat at the pier to drive you thru the islands. You can book an island tour or do it by yourself. the ferry is easy to book as is everything else. the people are not screwing you there as its a small and remote destination and has not seen mass tourism yet. You are dealing with locals who make an earning and not with mass tourist companies like in Halong. Really refreshing. I would skip Halong and replace it with Cat Ba as you do not miss out on anything, but actually add more experience as there is a national park You can get the ferry from Hai Phong and then connect from there to Danang by plane. The ride from Hanoi to Hai Phong is 2 hrs only compared to 3 hrs to Halong. The airport is only 10 min from Haiphong and very small, therefore check in and time spend to board etc is minimal
It takes more than 3 hours from Hanoi to Cat Ba. Thus, its worth to stay more than 1 night there to relax.
The island is small and you can walk around and explore the small shops and night market. Beware of the seafood restaurant because they might replace another not quite fresh piece(s) of fish/crab which you thought you have already chosen.
Very beautiful and relatively unspoilt. Though cold, we enjoyed it out of season in February, but understand it is VERY busy in June, July, August.
Would suit someone not keen on being a "captive audience" on a cruise boat. The deluxe rooms in the Cat Ba Sunrise Resort afford unspoilt views of the towering limestone karsts rising vertically from the still waters. The centre of the island is a national park - steep green jungle - would suit trekkers.
It's a quiet and unspoiled island, with 3 small beaches, called Beach No1-3. If you want to have a beach holiday, I'm afraid Cat Ba is not the place.
But if you want to experience the nice countryside life, it's here. Also there are some very impressive caves and a big national park, good for sightseeing.
Cat Ba Island is to the south of Halong Bay and we suspect less touristy. There are countless colourful fishing boats moored in the harbour of Cat Ba town and traversing the waters, giving a more authentic feel (as opposed to tourist "junks".
) We hired motor cycles on a welcome clear day with blue skies and were impressed with the views of both mountains and coast. We enjoyed two extremes of accommodation - basic bungalows in the jungle of the national park and the height of luxury at Cat Ba Sunrise Resort, a grand deluxe room affording unspoilt views of the exquisite bay.
If you like beach and sun is a good place to explore. A lot of seafood restaurant. Life is simple there.
Although they claim to be on the road map to UNESCO world heritage list (like Halong bay) I doubt seriously if this title should be granted at the moment.
There is a lot to do in terms of protection of enviroment because of water pollution aroung the island. There is an overconsumption of usage by Cat Ba people and tourists, too. Water of the little bays around the island is filled up with much garbage, expecially little styrofoam balls which stem from big styrofoam blocks which the fishermen use to build their houses and whole villages on the water in the bays to keep the houses above the water level. The blocks lose the tiny styrofoam balls of which they are built in the course of time, so that the water is filled up in many, many bays with these little balls, not to mention the other garbage which fishermen and tourists leave. I do hope that the plan to get ahead with the process to become UNESCO world heritage will help to overcome these problems so that Cat Ba island may become a really great place to see in the future.
Beautiful place to stay and explore the land and surrounding islands. Definitely the more relaxing and charming place to stay for visiting the bays
I have been here for 2 times. One time with my friends, one time with my family. They are all great. I felt happy to be here.
Food is good. Weather is good. Price is a little expensive. Sometimes cheap if you know the price. But the feeling is good. Better than other places that i have visited. I dont know why. But i will return in future. Just because the good feeling it gives me that no other places can give. ^_^
Cat Ba is a beautiful island. The best place to go and relax from city life in Hanoi or Haiphong. You're close to nature and there's lots of activities waiting for you if you don't want to stay at the beach.
We loved Cat Ba Island. We enjoyed a motorbike ride around the island to explore and also a 1 day tour to Lan Ha and Halong bays.
This included kayaking and a tour of a cave and monkey island. The weather was not great for our stay (3rd week of February).
nice island good for shopping but dont go to thae nature reserve you dont see anything unless you go around june-august
Cat ba was amazing. We only planned and booked 2 nights but we loved cat ba and duc tuan hotel so much we stayed 8 nights.
We rented a motorbike from duc tuan and spent our time caving, climbing, exploring the national park and the beaches. If you are ever bored just contact Asia outdoors and go on an adventure with them.
Visit Halong Bay for the day, the tour price includes a trip to a cave, kayaking around the bay and lunch.
Walk up to Cannon Fort. This was occupied by the Japanese in WW11, much of it is preserved, ie cannons, bunkers etc, it is a very interesting place to visit and the views are amazing. Thereare many restarants serving great food. We loved it here
take an inclusive tour from hanoi to ha long town, thence afternoon and night on a junk include "amazing cave".
followed by 1 night on cat ba island. pickup next morning for return to Hanoi.
good base for boat trips to Halong Bay nice national park interesting hospital cave of Vietnam war days
Halong Bay is a big attraction of Cat Ba Island, but there is also a big National Park ewhich is worth exploring.
There are opportunities for rock climbing, cycling - both motorbikes and bicycles, and walking. Great food!
Nice place where you can go very easily for the trip to Ha Long bay and you will enjoy much quiter atmosphere compare to trips from Ha Long City.
You need only one max. two days to see all interesting places at island
the town is nothing special but the island is great to go on a boat or hire a scooter as almost no traffic.
good base to see surrounding islands
Cat Ba town is OK - but I recommend going out of the town into the countryside. Viet Hai Village is about 2 hours bus and boat away from Cat Ba town, but the views along the way and when you get there are absolutely stunning.
Quiet, lush, relaxing - great walks, some nice bike riding. In all a great place to go for a relaxinmg an interesting holiday.
This island is on the early stage of becoming a tourist place, so things are quite poor. The town is small with a market and a main big street.
If you are looking for a nightlife place, this will not be the one. But the nature is great. Just a few kilometers far from the town, you'll find national forest which you can go hiking, exploring. There a bamboo area, which I found accidentally. It's really beautiful with the bamboo grows high and green. I did not remember the exact location but would love to visit that place again. The beach is not big but very beautiful. There are several beaches in the island, so you can go and try different places.