Cat Ba Island is an island of 350km squared snuggled in Ha Long Bay. Many people don’t bother to go, I say that Cat Ba deserves at least 3 days of your time which should include a day trip to Ha Long Bay if you want to avoid the crowds of people. Here are the best things to do in Cat Ba Island.
Explore the National Park
One of the highlights of Cat Ba Island is its national park. If you are an avid hiker than this is the place for you. It’s a great walk along its beautiful flora. There are several trails one can do with different times. Treks are not easy. We did one of the shortest which involved a lot of uphill and stairs. But it was a gateway to heaven, beautiful viewpoints to see the whole national park from bird’s eye view. The entrance is 40000Dong and 5000Dong for parking.
Enjoy a walk to the View Point
While on the main promenade of Cat Ba Island you can walk to the first beach, only a 10 minute walk will get you to Cat Co 1 beach. From here you’ll see a board walk along the hills that hug the beach. This trail is a beautiful one and gets you to a great view point which will lead to a resort and you can exit from the other side.
Take a cruise to Ha Long Bay & Monkey Island
Taking a cruise to Ha Long Bay is a must and definitely one of the highlights of Vietnam if you haven’t been from Ha Long city. It is highly recommended to take the tour from Cat Ba Island as it is less busy and crowded. The tour costs $17 for the day and takes you Monkey Island where you can climb up to the view point or opt to swim in its crystal clear waters. Then you would go to Ha Long Bay area. The boat stops you to swim and also gives you lunch. On the way back it passes through the floating village.
Rent a motorbike
One of the best things to do is to rent a bike and get lost around the island. Explore its beauty on motorbike and you can easily get to the many caves that the island has to offer. Make sure to go to Hospital cave which played an important role during the war with America.
Go to the Cannon Fort
Along with its natural charm, Cat Ba also has history and was used during the war. At the Cannon Fort you can see the transmitter tower, Observatory sites and artillery marker viewpoints as well a tunnel and the fort itself with photos and equipment used during the war. It’s one of the highest points on the island and boasts beautiful views.
Cat Ba Island has 2 main beautiful beaches, namely Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 11. Beaches are in close proximity and easily reached on foot from the centre of town.
Indulge in fresh fish on a floating restaurant
Being an island, fishing is one of the main local activities and fresh fish is at its best here. Most restaurants offer fresh fish but you can eat it while floating out in the bay on a floating restaurant.
Enjoy the Sunset
The sun sets exactly opposite the main promenade of the islands centre. Don’t forget to sit down relax and kiss the day good bye over the beautiful sunset while on Cat Ba Island.