Cat Ba is a popular destination to visit in Northern Vietnam. Cat Ba island is the largest island in the Cat Ba Archipelago and has diverse natural scenery.
What to do in Cat Ba? This comprehensive guide will show you the best things to do in Cat Ba island, along with tips to get there.
1. Sunbathing on the beaches
You’re on an island now, so head to the beach! From the center of Cat Ba town, you can walk or rent a motorbike or take an electric van to Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 3 beaches nearby.
Surrounded by mountains, these beaches are not too large but discreet and has crystal clear water.
Cat Co 1, 2 and three are well-connected by a small path along the mountain. It’s worth getting up early, walk along the walking trail and enjoy a beautiful sunrise from the beaches.
It’s not safe to swim after 6:30 pm as the tide can go up fast.
You can also choose the other beaches that are less crowded and more deserted such as the beach in Monkey Island, Tung Thu beach, and other beaches in Lan Ha Bay.
2. Have a fun day trip around Lan Ha Bay
Visiting Lan Ha Bay is an experience that you cannot miss when traveling to Cat Ba island.
As one of the most beautiful bays in the world, Lan Ha Bay was formerly in Ha Long Bay but later has separated. Due to that reason, people mention Lan Ha bay less than Halong Bay. However, this helps Lan Ha Bay keep its wild beauty and deserted as fewer people visit Bay.
How to get to Lan Ha Bay?
You can go to Ben Beo port and rent the boat to the beach for about 300 – 500k / boat for six people. Also, you can take a tour around the beautiful Lan Ha Bay.
Lan Ha Bay Tour
Taking a tour around Lan Ha Bay is one of the best things to do in Cat Ba. The tour usually includes kayaking, swimming on golden sand beaches, visiting Monkey island, and watching stunning limestones and karst.
3. Go snorkeling on Monkey Island
Around the islands, there are plenty of coral reefs with many precious marine species such as abalone, pearl, dragon shrimp and colorful fishes. You can go diving at Monkey Island Resort (Monkey Island) to explore the beauty of the underwater world.
If you dive with Scuba diving instructor, the price is 1 million VND for 30 minutes, while swimming with the snorkel alone will cost you 600.000VND. (Price may be changed)
Swimming at Monkey Island
Besides diving and snorkeling, you can go swimming here too. Monkey Island has one of the most beautiful satellite beaches of Cat Ba Island named Cat Dua with the view of astounding widespread limestones and karsts above the ocean.
I went to Monkey Island as a part of Lan Ha Bay tour, but you can book a room at Monkey Island resort and enjoy more time there with nature and private beach.
4. Visit the floating village
Cai Beo Fishing Village (also known as Vung O fishing village) is one of the largest floating villages in the country that dated back in prehistoric times. Currently, Cai Beo fishing village has about 300 households living mainly by fishing and aquaculture.
The beauty of nature and the life of the fishing village create exceptional beauty. On the water surface, Cai Beo fishing village consists of many boat houses joined together into groups.
Not only boats, but Cai Beo village also has several floating houses with the fish cages. From one house, you can easily walk to another one by a small bridge across or on the cage.
Visiting Cai Beo, you can also enjoy the dramatic scenery of the bay and try out local specialties in floating restaurants.
How to get to Cai Beo floating village?
You can get to Cai Beo from Ben Beo port by renting a fishing boat and exploring the life of Cai Beo fishing village. Alternatively, you can book Lan Ha Bay tour that includes a trip to Cai Beo floating village.
5. Explore Cat Ba National Park
Recognized by the UNESCO as the World Biosphere Reserve, Cat Ba National Park is a must visit place when traveling to Cat Ba Island. This park is a paradise for those who love to explore nature and challenge themselves.
Cat Ba trekking routes
The usual route is only about 1.8 km, while the longest crossing mountain to Viet Hai fishing village is about 16 km. You can see countless endemic species, and luckily you can see the Cat Ba langur – the symbol of the archipelago.
6. Explore Caves
Cat Ba Island has many large and small caves, in which Trung Trang Cave and the Quan Y Cave are the most visited because it is located near the Cat Ba National Park headquarters, making it an ideal combination for exploring both forests and caves. Besides, Hoa Cuong Cave and Thien Long Cave are also attractive destinations in Cat Ba.
7. Cycle around Viet Hai Village
Located entirely in the middle of the sea, surrounded by mountains and the jungle of Cat Ba National Park, Viet Hai fishing village is a great place to visit on your trip to Cat Ba island.
The best things to do in Viet Hai Village are trekking to Hai Quan Hill (the highest point of Viet Hai), cycling around the village or taking pictures of ancient Vietnamese house.
How to get to Viet Hai village?
To get there, you can rent a boat or go trekking to Viet Hai.
a) Rent a boat
If you choose to rent a boat, after arriving at the port, you can walk or cycle around the village. You will observe the green lake, crossing a winding road while enjoying birds chirping behind the cliff. The distance of 6km from the pier to the village gate is charming and romantic.
b) Go trekking
You can buy a ticket at the Cat Ba National Park gate. With a distance of nearly 9km, you will explore the rich fauna and flora system in the primary forest of Cat Ba.
8. View the town from Cannon fort
Not only a historical monument, but Cannon fort is also an exciting tourist attraction in Cat Ba. The Cannon fort is located at the top of the hill which is 177m above sea level. It had a strategically important position at the gateway to the Vietnam sea, as well as being a historical witness of the two fierce anti-French and anti-American wars.
Visiting Cannon fort, you will understand a bit more about Vietnamese history and have a majestic and poetic view of Cat Ba Island at the same time.
What is better than having a drink while watching a romantic sunset?
9. Enjoy fresh seafood
There are many places to enjoy seafood in Cat Ba. I love wandering Cat Ba town and try out different local restaurants, but you can also buy seafood from the floating village. The seafood here is fresh and tasty, so give it a try!
10. Go rock climbing
If you are looking for adventurous things to do in Cat Ba, you should try out rock climbing. The most popular climbing sites are Dau Be island, Ben Beo Mountain Cliff (2 km from Cat Ba center), Ba Trai Dao Island (22 km to the south from Cat Ba).
How to get to Cat Ba island?
Cat Ba island, the pearl island of Hai Phong, is located only 30 km from the port city center Hai Phong and 25 km from Ha Long city.