Things to do on Cat Ba island, Vietnam

Welcome to Cat Ba Island, the largest island of Lan Ha Bay, Halong Bay’s beautiful sister.
If you’re seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination filled with natural wonders and adventure, or simply fell in love with the beautiful Halong Bay and want to explore more, Cat Ba island is the perfect place.
From breathtaking viewpoints to pristine beaches and captivating caves, Cat Ba island has it all.

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Things to do on Cat Ba island, Vietnam

Fun things to do

Cat Ba National Park

Entry Fees: 80.000 VND + 10.000 VND parking (about 3-4 €)

Cat Ba National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve situated in the Cat Ba Archipelago, and consists of 366 islands. It’s full of beautiful treks through lush greenery, viewpoints, caves, and a variety of animals and plants.

The entry ticket also includes various locations inside the park, like Trung Trang Cave.

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Đỉnh Ngự Lâm viewpoint

Start your exploration with a hike to Đỉnh Ngự Lâm viewpoint, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Halong Bay’s limestone karsts and emerald waters.
The hike takes around 40 minutes and may be challenging, but the sweeping views make every step worth it.

Trung Trang Cave

Delve into the depths of Trung Trang Cave, an underground labyrinth adorned with intricate stalactites and stalagmites.
Guided tours offer insights into the cave’s geological formations and historical significance, making it a must-visit attraction.

The beautiful beaches of Cat Ba island

Unwind on Cat Ba Island’s idyllic beaches, like Cat Co Beach or Tung Thu Beach. Bask in the sun, swim in the crystalline waters, or enjoy fun water sports like kayaking and snorkeling.

The best restaurants on Cat Ba island

Treat your taste buds to innovative dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients, accompanied by stunning views of Halong Bay at The Little Leaf Restaurant (Tiệm Lá Nhỏ) or The Three M Restaurant.

Where to stay on Cat Ba island

The best place to stay on Cat Ba is the very south of the island because that’s where the main villages are.

BUDGET

Tran Chau Garden Home

Charming guesthouse providing cozy accommodations with traditional Vietnamese decor and modern amenities.

BOOK HERE

Mid-Range

DUNG LAI HOTEL 173

Situated in close proximity to the island's main attractions, this hotel provides easy access to Cat Ba National Park, pristine beaches, and vibrant local markets.

BOOK HERE

Luxury

Hôtel Perle d'Orient Cat Ba - MGallery

A luxurious retreat nestled on the captivating Cat Ba Island in Vietnam. Part of the renowned MGallery collection, this hotel combines elegance with Vietnamese charm, offering guests a truly exceptional stay.

BOOK HERE

How to Cat Ba island, and getting around

Reach Cat Ba Island via a scenic ferry ride from Tuần Châu Harbor. The ferry journey takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, with tickets costing around 10-15 € per person, including a motorcycle.

Explore more of Halong Bay on a cruise

Picture yourself lounging on the deck of a cruise ship, with the gentle sea breeze tousling your hair and the sun painting the sky with hues of orange and pink. Exploring Halong and Lan Ha Bay on a cruise is like stepping into a postcard-worthy paradise.

As the boat glides through the emerald waters, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of towering limestone karsts jutting out of the sea, creating a surreal landscape that feels straight out of a fantasy novel. Take a dip in the refreshing waters, kayak through hidden lagoons, or simply soak in the serenity as you cruise past floating fishing villages and lush green islands.

More helpful travel tips for planning your trip to Cat Ba island

The best time to visit

The best time to visit Cat Ba Island is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April.
During this time, the weather is generally pleasant with clear skies and lower humidity, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and exploring the island’s natural attractions.

Travel costs to help you budget

Depending on how you travel, and where you want to splurge vs save, costs for visiting Cat Ba island vary.
And while many places accept cards, having some cash on hand is advisable, especially when buying gas and street food.

Transportation

Ferry ride from Tuần Châu Harbor to Cat Ba Island:
10-15 € pp (round trip)

Motorcycle on ferry:
Additional 5-10 € per motorcycle (round trip)

Accommodation

Budget:
10-30 € per night

Mid-range:
30-80 € per night

Luxury:
80 € +

Foods & drinks

Street food:
2-5 € per meal

Restaurant meals:
10-20 € per meal

Admission fees

Cat Ba National Park:
about 3€

What to pack

Pack light, breathable clothing suitable for tropical weather, sturdy hiking shoes for outdoor excursions, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Also, to fit everything nicely into your backpack, use packing cubes!
They’re a game changer and make it possible for me to basically travel with hand luggage only whenever I go anywhere.

Packing cubes gift ideas for travel lovers

My favourite are these ones from traveldude, made from 100% recycled plastic so they’re super practical AND sustainable!

Don’t forget about travel insurance!

Better to be safe than sorry, so don’t forget your travel insurance before heading to Vietnam.

Last but not least, do you need a visa?

Check if you need a visa before traveling to Vietnam. It’d be a shame to get everything ready and then realise you’re missing a piece of paper. 🤦🏼‍♀️

That being said, European passport holders don’t require a visa to visit Vietnam for 14 days.

Thanks for reading my travel guide for visiting Cat Ba island, I hope it helps you plan your own epic adventure!

Chúc bạn có một chuyến đi an toàn (which means safe travels in Vietnamese),
Nadine

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