Cat Ba Island Guide - All you need to know

Cat Ba is the largest island out of 1,969 islands in Halong Bay. With its large area, this place provides various beautiful beaches and magnificent sightseeing, attracting a lot of visitors.

  • Location: Gulf of Tonkin, South of Halong Bay, Cat Hai district, Hai Phong City, Vietnam
  • Area: 300km2
  • Cat Ba archipelago consists of 367 islands, including Cat Ba Island - one of the 3 biggest islands in Vietnam.
  • Recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve in 2004.
  • Distance from Ha Noi: 133km, from Hai Phong: 41km

Cat Ba Island

The stunning island from above


Is It Worth Visiting Cat Ba Island?

This island is known for its unspoiled beauty, with many beautiful islands, lush forests, and clear waters. This place is constantly being invested in and developed to become a tourist international destination in the future with a complex of many hotels, resorts,...

Cat Ba Island has a rich biodiversity and a unique ecosystem. This area is full of tropical rainforests, mangroves, seaweed mats, and cave systems that are rarely seen.

A natural and beautiful destination

A natural and beautiful destination

This destination offers a wide range of adventure activities, including rock climbing, kayaking, swimming, and trekking because of its varied landscape of sea, mountain, and island,... 

For visitors who like to explore many pristine spots such as Trung Trang Cave, Monkey Island, etc, this place is a perfect suit.

Overall, Cat Ba Island is worth visiting as it has many great aspects: breathtaking scenery, long cultural history, friendly locals, and pleasant weather. 


The name origin

In the past, Cat Ba Island was the place where many women cultivated to provide more food for men to fight the enemy.

Therefore, the island where the warriors were stationed was called Cac Ong (which means “Men” in Vietnamese) island and was mispronounced as Cat Ong. The women’s one was also called Cac Ba (which means “women” in Vietnamese) and is called Cat Ba now.


Must-visit Attractions

Cat Ba National Park

In Cat Ba National Park, you will fully enjoy and explore the incredible variety of plants and animals (300 species of fish, 40 species of animals, 150 species of birds, 620 species of plants, etc).

This park is famous for its many special features such as tropical forests, coastal water, and beautiful landscapes. 

Breathtaking scenery in Cat Ba National Park

Outstanding view of Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba Beach

These beaches in Cat Ba have been recognized as the top most beautiful beaches of Vietnam's Northern side. The most well-known ones are Cat Co 1, 2, and 3, all located near the city center.

Among those, Cat Co 2 is the ideal with fresh clean water with the finest green hue and long white sand coast. Visitors' activities are mostly located along the main thoroughfare (1-4 Street), along the harbor's edge of the island. 

Explore more at Top 6 Cat Ba Beaches for your Vacation in 2023

Pristine beach in Cat Ba Island

Beautiful scenery on a local beach

Lan Ha Bay

Located East of Cat Ba Island and South of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay has an area of more than 300 km2 and over 400 islets, as well as several unexplored beaches.

This place's most appealing feature is its untamed beauty and calm space, making it ideal for individuals looking for a fresh area to unwind. 

Monkey Island 

About 2km from Cat Ba town, Monkey Island has a beautiful wild landscape. Besides, the island is also home to many smart and friendly monkeys. Visiting here, you can play with those friendly monkeys, feed them as well as watch them do tricks. 

Cute monkey in Monkey Island

Cute monkey in Monkey Island

Cannon Fort Cat Ba

Known as High Point 177, Cat Ba Cannon Fort was built by the French colonialist in 1942 to control the entire of Northeastern Vietnam as well as the southeast of Hai Phong City.

Thanks to its prime location, it allows you to see a whole strip of the East Sea. This place became a historical destination, keeping many historical memorabilia, especially two cannons with a weight of tens of tons each.

Viet Hai Fishing Village

Viet Hai Village is a small fishing village located in the Cat Hai district, around 18km away from Cat Ba Island. Take the opportunity to transition to a different atmospheric environment and admire the valuable preserved hundreds-year traditional cultural assets of this area.

You can go to this attraction through an 8km forest hike via the Frog Pond or a 45-minute boat ride from Beo Pier in Cat Ba Town.


Cat Ba Island Cruise

Aboard a cruise to this place with several 2 or 3-day tours with many interesting activities like kayaking, trekking, cave visiting,... allows you to make the most of your time at this attraction.

BestPrice Travel recommends the following cruises for a Cat Ba Island trip:

Cruise Price from/pax Why choose?
Mon Cheri 5* US $168 Best-seller high-class cruise in 2023
Peony 4.5* US $149 Professional service
Heritage Binh Chuan 5* US $180 Lavish cruise for a romantic honeymoon
Indochine 5* US $168 Well-decorated with artful & vintage design
Calypso 4* US $141 Classic Indochina decor

* Price may vary, visit the cruise's page for more info  

Peony cruise Cat Ba Island

Peony Cruise in Cat Ba Island


Things to do

  • Sightseeing

Lan Ha Bay is the perfect choice with around 400 islands located on the blue sea, creating a giant majestic painting. Thanks to its pristine beauty, tranquility, and calm water, many visitors have come here for a relaxing vacation.

  • Trekking and cycling

Trekkers and cycle bikers often come to the Cat Ba National Park for exploration. After a tiring trip through the vast and green forest, from Ngu Lam mountain peak, your eyes are served with the panoramic view of the area, which is worth the way climbing up. 

Trekking in Cat Ba National Park

Trekking is one of the most interesting activities

  • Kayaking

Kayaking in Cat Ba is very exciting for those who love adventure. Floating on the tumbling waves to admire the full range of limestone mountains, caves, and clear water,... is a wonderful experience.

  • Swimming

The sea of Cat Ba Island is famous for its emerald color, so this place is also called “Pearl Island”. The most popular beaches here are Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2, and Cat Co 3 with white sandy beaches and a natural environment that everyone can't resist.


Best time to visit Cat Ba Island

Not only features beach tourism but also many other activities, you can visit this island at any time of year. However, to have a comfortable, inexpensive stay, the best time to travel here is from September to April. This period experiences mild weather, a sunny, breezy day with a clear sky is the norm. 

Cat Ba Island weather

  • Average temperature: 25 - 30°C
  • Rainfall average: 1.700 - 1.800 mm/year
  • Average humidity: 85%

Having a “Humid subtropical, dry winter” climate, Cat Ba has the highest temperature is 33°C in July and the lowest is 16°C in January. Interestingly, this place has a cooler summer and warmer winter compared to the mainland. That's how the weather is always cool and comfortable all year round.

For more information, you can visit this page: Cat Ba weather guide

Explore the area by kayaking

A destination with favorable weather 

You should avoid traveling to the island in the summer since it is the peak domestic season. Therefore, Got Ferry often has a traffic jam, the hotel room price can increase by 2 or 3 times than normal, and hotels are full booking quickly.


How to get there?

From Halong

The best way to get to Cat Ba Island is by taking a ferry from Tuan Chau Ferry station to Gia Luan Pier, Cat Ba. There are 5-7 ferries/day with a travel time of about 45 - 50 minutes.

From Hanoi 

  • Around 133km from Hanoi, you can travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island by highway bus.
  • Travel time is around 4 hours on average.
  • There are various choices, but try Cat Ba Express/Good Morning Cat Ba for a reasonable price (13$ - 20$/1 way). You can also choose a private car. 
  • From Hanoi, the bus will get on the highway bus to Hai Phong and then to Got Ferry Station. Get on the ferry and travel to Phu Long Pier and get to Cat Ba Town.

From Hai Phong 

There are multiple ways to travel to Cat Ba island from Hai Phong: by highspeed boat from Binh Station (10 - 15$), or by car to Got Pier and take a ferry to Cat Ba.


Cat Ba Hotel & Resort

Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort

  • Located on an area of 77,843m2, between two beautiful beaches: Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 2.
  • The first project in the Cat Ba area was built in the model 5-star resort and entertainment services.
  • Designed with distinctive green architecture, a system of trees covers most of the resort spaces, giving freshness, and coolness.

Hôtel Perle d'Orient Cat Ba - MGallery

  • Facing the sea in Cat Co 3 Beach, Hai Phong City.
  • Offers 5-star accommodations and features a fitness center, a garden, and a terrace.
  • Each room has sea views, and guests can dine at the restaurant and have a drink at the bar. 

Hôtel Perle d'Orient Cat Ba

Hôtel Perle d'Orient Cat Ba

Sea Pearl Cat Ba Hotel

  • Address: No 219, 1/4 Road, Cat Ba Island, only a 5-minute walk from Cat Co Beach.
  • Features a rooftop pool and bar, as well as 2 dining options.
  • Perfect location: a 1-minute walk from Cat Ba Hydrofoil Pier, a 5-minute walk from Cat Ba Market, and a 20-minute drive away to Cat Ba National Park.

Secret Garden Hostel

  • Placing in 169-171 Jade Mountain, Secret Garden, within 10 minutes walk away from Cannon Fort.
  • Features an outdoor swimming pool, garden, shared lounge, restaurant, and bar.
  • Close to several beaches: less than 1 km from Cat Co 2 Beach, about 17 minutes by foot from Cat Co 1 Beach.


Famous food in Cat Ba

  • Honey:

Cat Ba National Park always has a huge source of wild honey, which is found by locals in the forest. Honey here is famous for being delicious with high nutritional value. They are filtered and stored in glass bottles, very convenient to buy as gifts. You can buy them in Cat Ba market or specialty shops.

  • Cat Hai, Van Van fish sauce:

If you want to buy a specialty with practical meaning, fish sauce branded Cat Hai, Van Van is a good suggestion. These two brands are famous for their good quality: not too salty, distilled by traditional methods, and additives-free.

  • Dried squid:

The squid on Cat Ba Island is famous for being thick, sweet, and chewy. The price is quite varied, you have to buy the right kind to taste. At night, grilling squid and eating it with chili sauce for drinking will be a wonderful experience!


For the most convenient and comfortable journey, we hope this Cat Ba Island travel guide can provide you with the latest information. Do not hesitate to contact BestPrice Travel now to take a trip to this stunning attraction.

Hoang Huan

Image sources: Internet


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