Cat Ba: the picturesque island of Vietnam

Cat Ba

Cat Ba is a small island located in the famous Halong Bay. In addition to being a great starting point for boat trips in the bay, the island itself is quite attractive as a place to rest. Cat Ba has a lot to offer tourists: a national park of impressive size, three good beaches, a couple of caves, a few interesting attractions, a compact tourist area with a beautiful promenade and many hotels, programs for recreation, colorful scenes of the daily lives of fishermen and peasants, spectacular scenery, etc. All this makes the island quite an attractive tourist destination. And although the infrastructure on Cat Ba is not as developed as in the beach resorts of Vietnam, it has everything you need to stay on the island from 2-3 days to a week.

How to get there

By plane

There is no airport on Cat Ba Island itself. The nearest international airport is in Hanoi. The airport of the nearest city to the island – Hai Phong, serves only domestic flights. You can find flight prices to Hanoi in this section of Travelascope.

By train

From Hanoi, you can take a train to Hai Phong City and from there take a boat to the island. But with a well-established bus service between these cities, it makes little sense to go by train. The ticket costs 70,000 VND, trains leave several times a day from the station Ga Long Bien in Hanoi (it is located one kilometer from the tourist area – Lake of the Return Sword).

Bus

Most of the tourists come to the island by bus from Hanoi. There are two ways to get there:

  1. At the reception desk of any hotel and guesthouse in Hanoi, you can buy a ticket that includes a transfer from the hotel door. Similar tickets are sold at numerous travel agencies in the Returning Sword Lake area (this is the most touristy area of Hanoi). The buses leave in the morning. Travel time: ~ 5 hours. The route consists of several segments, so be prepared for transfers. You will have to pay for all the parts with one complex ticket, and when you transfer you will have to make sure you don’t get lost. First, the bus arrives at the pier in Hai Phong, then all passengers transfer to a boat that sails to the Cái Viềng pier on Cat Ba Island (about an hour sail). At the pier you transfer to a bus that takes visitors to the tourist part of the island (travel time is about 30 minutes). The final stop is the square on the central waterfront, from which you can easily reach most hotels on the island. Ticket price: 320,000 dong.
  2. Buy the comprehensive ticket described in the first option at the Bến xe Lương Yên bus station and travel to the island from the same station the next day. The ticket will cost VND 220,000. The route is similar to the first option, but there will be one more transfer in Hai Phong City. Travel time: 4.5-5 hours. Buses leave at 7:20 and 11:20 (you should buy the ticket in advance, a day in advance). The bus station is located at Nguyễn Khoái Street, 3. It can be reached by bus number 55 (ticket 8,000 VND) from the returned sword district.

By car

The distance from Hanoi to Hai Phong is about 130 kilometers, but the drive can take longer than the distance would suggest. The Vietnamese drive slowly, many areas of the road are in a state of continuous repair, so most likely you will have to drive to the island on narrow roads at a speed of 40kph. You need to know the schedule of the cargo ferry from Hai Phong to the island. The island itself is so small that there is nowhere to go by car. So it is not exactly worth renting a car to go to the island, and if you have one, it makes sense to park it in Haiphong, and to travel around the island to rent a moped.

Ferry

There are 3 piers on the island, to which boats from the continent arrive:

  1. Cat Ba Harbour – located on the island’s central waterfront, a 2-minute walk from the tourist area, where all of the island’s hotels are located;
  2. Cái Viềng – where boats from Hai Phong usually arrive. The pier is located 25 kilometers from the hotels on the island;
  3. Gia Luận – the northern pier, usually visited by ferries from Halong City. The pier is also located 25 kilometers from the hotels on the island, but on the other side of Cái Viềng.
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There is another pier on the island – Bến Bèo. But it is only used for boarding cruise ships touring Halong Bay. By the way, here you can also arrange with local fishermen for a private tour of Halong Bay on their boat.

Cat Ba Harbour pier, waterfront and first line hotels.

When it’s in season. When best to go

To visit the island, any time of the year is suitable, another thing is that not every type of holiday is suitable for a particular season. For walks on the bay Halong and hiking in the National Park Cat Ba can come in winter, if you do not disturb the overcast weather and fog. This even has an advantage: there are few tourists on the island, the prices are low, and the local landscape, shrouded in fog, look very interesting and even mysterious. In the spring, the contemplation of the natural beauty is added to the opportunity to relax on the beach. True, the prices will be twice higher than in winter, and the tourists (including Vietnamese) will be much more.

Cat Ba in summer

In summer on Cat Ba is hot weather, but it often rains. So it is difficult to predict what to expect from the weather – whether sunny days or showers.

Cat Ba in Autumn

In early September, there can be rain – an echo of summer showers, but in general, September-October is a good time to visit the island. From November onwards, the air gets cooler and the skies are overcast.

Cat Ba in Spring

In March, the island is still overcast and a little rainy, but April and May is the best time to visit Cat Ba. However, during the same period, a lot of Vietnamese come to the island, prices go up twice, hotel rooms become much less available, and the noise – much more. This is the high season with all its attendant consequences.

Cat Ba in winter

In winter in the northern part of Vietnam, where Cat Ba is located, it is quite cool (by the standards of Southeast Asia). The temperature can drop to +16, the sun rarely looks out, the tops of the mountains are almost always shrouded in fog, and the air is filled with fine water dust. You should take care of proper clothing (jeans, light jackets and closed shoes) and the protection of photo and video equipment from moisture.

Cat Ba in Winter

Cat Ba – weather by month.

Neighborhoods. Where to live

All the tourist infrastructure of the island is concentrated in one part of the island – along the waterfront. Here are almost all hotels and restaurants, travel agencies, stores, a central pier, a small market and both ATMs (there are only two on the island, so it is better to stock up on cash just in case). Here come the buses with tourists coming from Hanoi, Hai Phong and Halong.

Tourist area is a promenade length of about a kilometer, on which the hotels. One end of the promenade faces the fishing village and the other end faces the road to the beaches. From about the middle of the promenade into the island goes Núi Ngọc street, along which there are also hotels and other tourist facilities. This road curves around a small rock, on which the observation deck is located, and comes out again to the waterfront. Almost all of the hotels on the island are compactly located on the promenade or on Núi Ngọc. This location is optimal for choosing a hotel, as it has everything a tourist needs, and the beaches are a 10-15 minute walk away.

I usually look for hotels on Booking, and you can see if there is a more attractive price here. Some travelers prefer to rent a room or apartment from private individuals – you can find such offers in this section of Travelask.

In the evening, the promenade is well lit and is essentially the only place where tourists spend their time. Other parts of the island are not as developed in terms of infrastructure for tourists. But it is there you can see the real life of the typical Vietnamese “unadorned”. To do this, just walk along the waterfront to the right (if you stand facing the sea) and pay a visit to a fishing village or visit a small vegetable market.

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Cat Baa Island Guide

Cat Ba Island (Cat Ba) – the largest of the 366 islands in the eponymous archipelago in the north of Vietnam, 140 kilometers from Hanoi (Cat Ba on the map ). It is traditionally thought that the island is washed by the waters of the world-famous Halong Bay, but in fact it is located in the center of Lanha Bay, which is also a natural attraction and one of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia.

Catba is a sparsely populated island, and most of its territory is uninhabited – Catba National Park. The territory of the island is predominantly hilly, covered with evergreen tropical forests. The main population center is Kataba Town, and there are several villages in addition to it. About 13,000 people live here permanently, with more than 350,000 tourists a year.

Cat Ba Beaches in Winter. Cat Ba in winter

Recreation in Kataba

Recreation in Katba

Catba is still the only developed beach resort in the north of Vietnam. Of course, in terms of popularity and development it is strongly inferior to such resorts as Nha Trang, Mui Ne and Da Nang, but has its own advantages. First of all – it is a very beautiful natural resort with stunning views of the surrounding bays, filled with picturesque islets. There is a well-developed tourism infrastructure, and it is quite suitable for a rest here a week or two and not to get bored with it. And yet, if you prefer a sightseeing tour and explore the culture of the country, then the north of Vietnam – the best place for it. And along with visiting Hanoi, Sapa, Bac Ha, Dien Bien Phu and other sightseeing places in the north, you can add a little beach vacation to your trip on Cat Ba without a long trip to the central or southern part of the country.

There aren’t many beaches on Cat Ba, but enough to make you feel comfortable here even during the peak season, and during the low tourist season the beaches are almost empty altogether. In total, there are four developed and equipped beaches, which are called quite simply: Cat Co1, Cat Co2 and Cat Co3, as well as Catba Emerald Beach. They are all sandy and located in cozy, sheltered from the waves and winds of the coves. There are many more secluded beaches around the perimeter of Catba, but they are not suitable for swimming. But on the nearby islands of the archipelago you can find many more secluded beaches. You can get to them with excursions (but then they are not secluded), you can get on a private boat, or even to swim in a kayak. Learn more about Cat Ba beaches here.

Cat Ba Beaches in Winter. Cat Ba in winter

Cat Co1 Beach.

The center of tourist life on the island is Cat Ba Town. It is a small town that is easy to walk around and where all the tourist infrastructure is concentrated: hotels, stores, cafes, restaurants, travel agencies, banks, and car rentals. All four beaches are within walking distance of the center. After a beach holiday and excursions you can have a good entertainment in a nightclub Rose Club or one of the many bars with modern music, sing in a karaoke bar, have dinner in a floating restaurant, get a massage or spa treatments. In general, the evening tourist life on the Catba is developed very well, will not be bored.

Night view of KatBa

View of Catba at Night

The weather in Katba, the tourist seasons

It is commonly believed that in resorts of Vietnam, the tourist seasons form the rainy season and the dry season, but on Catba Island it is quite different, and the low tourist season and the rainy season do not coincide here.

The high tourist season here is during the summer months, from May to September. It is a time of vacations and vacations, and everyone flocks to Katbah, including locals. It is better to book hotels during this time in advance, prices for everything go up. But at the same time, the high tourist season is the peak of the rainy season. The rains are quite frequent and the temperature averages around 30 degrees.

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The low tourist season on Catba is in the winter months, from October to April. There are very few tourists on the island, prices for everything are reduced and hotels offer incredible discounts.

During this time some ferry flights and transfers to the island may be cancelled, but in general there are no problems with getting to and with the tourist infrastructure, everything works as usual. The low season is also the dry season with minimal precipitation, but tourists do not come here because of the low temperatures. In the evenings the temperature can drop as low as 10 degrees, and the average minimum temperature in January is 14. Another unpleasant thing with the weather at this time – the constant cloudiness, which, however, does not interfere with the sunbathing.

Tourist seasons in Katbah by month, when to go

Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Saint October Nov Dec

* Best time to visit; acceptable time to visit; not recommended time to visit

Katbah Island weather and forecast for the nearest future:

Cloudy with light spells

partly cloudy

Cloudy with light spells

Cloudy with light spells

Cloudy with light spells

light rain

light rain

light rain

light rain

rain

rain

heavy rain

* – forecast is local time. The data is from https://openweathermap.org. If you see outdated dates, refresh the page by pressing F5+Ctrl.

How and how to get there

Catba Island is located in northern Vietnam in the waters of Lan Ha Bay, 140 kilometers from Hanoi (Catba on the map of Vietnam). The main gate to get to Catba is Hai Phong, which is located near the mainland. Less often get here through the town of Halong.

In Hai Phong is the airport, railway station, several bus stations. The airport in Hai Phong serves mostly domestic flights and only a few international destinations: Bangkok, Shenzhen, Seoul. Therefore, tourists from Russia and other countries often get here via Hanoi Airport, which is cheaper.

To get directly to Catba is possible only by water, because there is no airport here and the bridge from the mainland has not yet been built. Most often, tourists get here from Hanoi by bus or train with change to the ferry, but you can also fly from other cities in Vietnam by plane to the airport in Haiphong and then take a bus and ferry. You can also get here by ferry from Halong.

Whichever way you choose, the most convenient and cheaper way to get here is to buy a comprehensive transfer or ready-made bus ticket to Catba Town. These tickets include transportation by all modes of transport (bus to the pier, ferry, and again bus to Catba Town) directly to the tourist center of the island. If you decide to do this completely by yourself, you will have to break your neck to get from Hai Phong to the pier (there are several) and then from the pier to Catba Town. And given that public transport here is poorly developed, you will have to use a cab, which is much more expensive than ready-made tickets. You can buy ready-made tickets for Catba Island in Hanoi from travel agencies and hotels, or online at 12go.asia.

Cargo ferry to KatBa

Cargo ferry to Catba

Transportation, how to get around

You only need transportation to Catba if you want to visit the remote parts of the island and the sights on your own. You don’t need a car to get around the center, you can see everything on foot and get to all the beaches. If you do not want to walk, you can take a cab, motorcycle cab, or local “shuttle” – large golf carts that shuttle from the center to the beaches for 10,000 dong.

But the most popular means of transportation for tourists is rented vehicles. You can rent a motorcycle/motorbike from VND 80,000, a simple bike from 50,000, a mountain bike from 100,000 for a mountain bike. Renting usually does not require you to leave documents as a deposit, just a photocopy or photo of your passport and the indication of the hotel where you are staying.

The only bus on the island, the HQ Green Bus, runs between downtown and the Gia Luan pier to the north. It can also take you to the entrance of the National Park, the Cave Hospital, and Trung Trang Cave. The fare costs VND25,000 and runs very infrequently: at 08:00, 11:00 and 15:00 from Gia Luan Pier, and at 09:00, 12:30 and 14:00 from Catba Town.

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The only regular ferry within Catba runs between the Ben Beo/Cai Beo pier in Catba Town (Ben Beo/Cai Beo on the map ) and Viet Hai village. The fare is 50,000, departs from the town at 11:00 and 16:15, from the village at 07:00 and 13:00.

Bus to Katpah

The route tixi to Catba

Attractions and attractions in Katba

Catba Island cannot be called the center of entertainment and sightseeing in Vietnam, but there are several natural attractions that attract tourists, and in general enough activities for a week of vacation or more.

The most important attractions of Catba, because of which tourists tend to get here are the National Park Catba, Halong Bay and Lanha. This is a must-see place, and although the bays can be seen with a tour from Hanoi and Halong, much nicer to combine a visit to these natural wonders with a beach holiday. In addition, you can see the mangroves, several viewing platforms and caves, an old bridge on stilts and a temple. There are two other historical sites: the cannon fort and the cave hospital.

But seeing these sights is not the only tourist time on the island. In fact, the tourist infrastructure for a small town like Catba Town is very well developed, and you can find a lot of interesting excursions and activities: trekking and hiking, mountain biking, kayaking around the island and even Lanha Bay, rock climbing. All this can be done independently, renting equipment, or accompanied by a guide-instructor with a tour.

Evening entertainment is well developed here. In the evenings there are several clubs with progressive music and pool parties, pubs and karaoke entice visitors with happy hour discounts (Happy hours), and even a free pint of beer, massage, sauna, jacuzzi, spa treatments. When you get tired of parties, you can sit quietly in an outdoor cafe near the entrance to the fishing port, which pours fresh draft beer for only 7,000 VND (179.64 rubles, see all about the money in Vietnam) per mug. Well, be sure to at least once dinner at one of the floating restaurants in the water area Catba-town. All these tourist attractions are concentrated along a single street – the promenade Mot Trang Tu.

Lanha Cove, photo from https://www.halongbaydaycruise.com

Langha Cove, photo from https://www.halongbaydaycruise.com

Shopping in Catba

There are no opportunities for exciting shopping in Catba, you can buy only the bare necessities. There are no malls or large supermarkets, and the main shopping area in town is the local market on Duong ¼ Street. This is a typical Vietnamese market, which sells everything from fresh fish to basic electronics, there are also souvenirs. But the price for tourists called at times higher than real, you need to bargain. This market is open from early morning until dark, then trade moves to a small evening market on the main street along the waterfront. Here you can also buy the simplest souvenirs like magnets and plates, T-shirts with inscriptions, but no more than that. You can also buy the necessary things in the many stores along the streets of Catba Town. There are also two supermarkets with fixed prices and price tags. Finding all the stores and markets is very easy, since Catba Town is very compact, you can walk around the entire town and the stores in one day.

Souvenirs in Katba

Souvenirs at Catba Market

Food and drink in Katba, where and what to eat

There are a lot of cafes, restaurants, and bars in the center of Katba Town. Most of the tourist cafes are located on the main tourist street along the promenade, but if you go further away or go into the alleys, you can find simpler cafes and lower prices there.

Mostly local cuisine is represented, but you can find dishes of European cuisine, Indian, Thai. We did not notice any special restaurants with only European cuisine. There are a lot of restaurants offering fresh seafood, but do not expect ultra-low prices on the seafood menu. For example, a fish dish at a cheap restaurant will cost from VND120,000, and it will most likely be a defrosted product. If you want to eat fresh fish, shrimp, crabs, oysters and other “sea creatures”, it will cost from VND 200,000 to 1,000,000 per dish. If you are not “bothered” about the seafood, plain rice with chicken costs here as well as on the mainland – from 50,000 VND per serving.

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One of the “chips” island are floating restaurants in the city. They take people who want to have dinner for free by boat, and the menu can be seen in advance on the shore. The prices are a little higher and the quality and taste of the food does not really shine, but the atmosphere is very romantic, so you should at least once dinner there.

Drinks in Cutba, including alcohol, are as on the mainland, except that in high season a little more expensive: a can of beer from 10,000 dong, water 1,5 l. – 10,000, soft drinks from 8,000. The markup in the cafe on alcohol is not very large, in addition, there are so-called discount “happy hours” (Happy hours). For instance, from 19:00 to 21:00 at Lohi Bar, you can get a pint for free and Oasis Bar 2 from 28:00 to 22:00 serves local beer Hai Phong for 10,000. You can find local fresh draft beers. We found the cheapest at the street café at the entrance to the fishing pier: 7,000 VND for a 0.5L mug.

Dinner in Katba

Beer dinner at a cafe in Catba

Useful Tips for Catba

  • Excursions to Halong and Langha Bays . If you are not interested in a beach holiday in Catba, and you want to visit only the bays, it is not necessary to go to the island for this. It is much easier and cheaper to buy an excursion-cruise from Hanoi or Halong without visiting Catba.
  • Cheap cruises . Cruise tours to Langha Bay are cheapest to buy directly from the Ben Beo/Cai Beo Marina.
  • Buying tours . Travel agencies and hotels offer tours at different prices with different markups, but in fact they are all conducted by the same operators on the same program. Therefore it makes sense to look for the same description tours and buy where it is cheaper.
  • ATMs and money exchange. You can exchange currency at exchange offices, banks, hotels. The rate here is the same as on the mainland and including banks in Hanoi, but slightly lower than in the “jewelers” Hanoi. The hotels offer an undervalued rate, but it is possible to bargain. You can pay by card in major hotels and restaurants, but cash is more popular. There are several ATMs, the closest to the center is on the waterfront.
  • Toilets . There are free toilets on the promenade.
  • ❤ Join us on VK, Telegram, Viber or read the most interesting in Zen
  • Find and book tours online on Onlinetours.ru and Travelata.ru
  • ✈ Buy airline tickets on a trusted search engine – Aviasales.ru
  • Book a hotel at Agoda.com or Booking.com
  • ☂ Take out insurance to be safe at Sravni.ru or Cherehapa.ru
  • Rent a car at Rentalcars.com or Localrent.com
  • Book a transfer from the airport to your holiday destination on Kiwitaxi.ru
  • View tours online on tripster.ru
CITY/DESTINATION DEPARTURE DATE RETURN DATE FIND TICKET
Ho Chi Minh City 2023-06-06 2023-06-16 FIND FROM 42,085 ₽
Hanoi 2023-05-14 2023-06-02 FIND FROM 57,650 ₽
Da Nang 2023-05-12 2023-05-27 FIND FROM 58,960 ₽
Nha Trang 2023-04-03 2023-04-14 FIND FROM 64,256 ₽
Phu Quoc 2022-10-23 2022-11-21 FIND FROM 65,210 ₽
Dalat 2023-02-06 2023-02-20 FIND FROM 68,453 ₽

Путеводитель по острову Катба admin 1 Январь, 2019 Открыт новый раздел-путеводитель про остров Катба (Cat Ba) на севере Вьетнама.r>Путеводитель по Катбаr>Достопримечательности Катбаr>Отели и районы, где лучше остановитьсяr>Пляжи Катбаr>Как добраться и транспортr>Карта Катбаr>Город Хайфонr>In this thread, ask questions and discuss vacations on Catba Island. .

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