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Cat Ba Island, Vietnam: The Complete Guide [Updated 2024]

Cat Ba Island is the biggest of the 367 islands that form the Cat Ba archipelago. It’s approximately 32 miles (50 kilometers) from Hai Phong City, a trip which takes up to 1 hour to travel by speedboat. Cat Ba is also by far the biggest island in the whole of Halong Bay.

Cat Ba Island, Vietnam: The Complete Guide [Updated 2024]
IN A NUTSHELL
  • Cat Ba Island is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, near Hai Phong City in northeastern Vietnam.
  • Cat Ba Island is the largest island in the Cat Ba Archipelago, covering an area of over 300 square kilometers.
  • Cat Ba Island is known for its stunning natural beauty, with its towering cliffs, lush forests, and crystal-clear waters.
  • Cat Ba Island was designated a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve in 2004, due to its rich biodiversity and unique ecosystem.
  • The island is home to several species of wildlife, including the endangered Cat Ba Langur, one of the rarest primates in the world.
  • Cat Ba Island offers a wide range of adventure activities, including rock climbing, kayaking, and hiking, making it a popular destination for adventure seekers.

Overview

Part of the island, along with the rest of the archipelago, is a designated National Park and the local government aims to protect Cat Ba’s great biodiversity. Visitors to Cat Ba can enjoy a varied landscape that is made up of mangroves, limestone karsts, green forests, white sand beaches, and coral reefs.

For transport, visitors can rent motorbikes to explore the island and see as much as they can on their visit. One highly recommended activity for those visiting Cat Ba is a trek around the National Park and even up Ngu Lam mountain!

Cat Ba Island has three main beaches (named Cat Ba 1, Cat Ba 2 and, Cat Ba 3) where visitors can get their tan on and enjoy a dip in the ocean. For those who are more physically inclined, there are activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, and snorkeling.

Due to its increasing popularity with visitors, Cat Ba Island has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, with hotels and hostels available for prospective visitors, good roads and a ferry terminal.

When To Go

When To Go
Cat Ba in june: average temperature 27° (Photo: Shutterstock)

The best time to visit Cat Ba Island all depends on your personal preferences. If you enjoy the heat of tropical summers, June to August is probably the best time to go.

If you enjoy milder weather, October till March is a better time to go. Be mindful of the fact that even though Cat Ba has four seasons, there’s still a rainy and dry season.

Rainy season is from May to September and the dry season is from November to March. Every season has up- and downsides to it but the consensus is that the best months to visit are March, April, September and October. (See our latest guide on Cat Ba Island weather).

See our real time 30 day weather forecast in Cat Ba Island

Weather averages by month

Month High / Low(°C) Rainfall (mm)
January 18° / 12° 12 mm
February 19° / 14° 19 mm
March 21° / 16° 28 mm
April 25° / 20° 86 mm
May 29° / 22° 183 mm
June 32° / 24° 230 mm
July 31° / 25° 270 mm
August 32° / 23° 310 mm
September 29° / 22° 250 mm
October 26° / 20° 110 mm
November 23° / 18° 36 mm
December 22° / 16° 18 mm

Average monthly precipitation

For those traveling on a budget or wanting to avoid the crowds, the best time is to go in the off season which runs from June till August. For more information check our "when to go" and detailed "weather guides".

How To Get There

How To Get There
Cat Ba Express Bus: Depart daily from Hanoi (Catbaexpress.com)

From Hanoi (124 km)

Hopping on a Hanoi-Haiphong highway bus will get you from Hanoi to Cat Ba island in around 3-5 hours (4 hours on average). There are various operators, but try Cat Ba Express, Good Morning Cat Ba for reasonable price and good service.

Operator Depart Arrive Tickets (2021)
Good Morning Cat Ba (35-seater) 07:30 at 09 Cho Gao, Hoan Kiem 11:35 at Cat Ba island (4h5', no transfer) 230,000 VND
Orient Travel (29-seater) 08:00 at 128 Tran Nhat Duat 11:50 at Cat Ba island (3h50', no transfer) 210,000 VND
Daiichi Travel (45-seater) 10:30 at 96 Nguyen Huu Huan 14:15 at Cat Ba Island (3h45', no transfer) 200,000 VND
Cát Bà Express (29-seater) 13:45 at 37B Nguyen Huu Huan 17:30 at Cat Ba island (3h45', no transfer) 250,000 VND

Booking information:

Cat Ba Express: +84 848 244 999 - 024 38 734 999 info@catbaexpress.com. Good Morning Cat Ba: +84 091 460 7571 Email: info@goodmorningcatba.com

From Halong bay (22,7 km)

The best way to get to Cat Ba island is to leave from Halong Bay. Once in Halong Bay, the best way to get to the island is to take a ferry. There are three ferries a day that go to the northern side of the island. The ferry takes about an hour and is 80.000 VND or 100.000VND if you’re traveling on a motorbike. From there it’s about a 40-minute drive to Cat Ba town. There’s a bus that costs around 30.000VND. There are taxis as well but be mindful as they might and try to scam you with outrageous prices. See our guide on how to get from Halong bay to Cat Ba island.

From Hai Phong (33 km)

There are multiple ways to travel to Cat Ba island from Hai Phong: (This timeable is updated as of Jan 2021)

Transport (Company) Schedule Price
Speedboat (Mekong Hoang Yen) Ben Binh: 09:00 am arrive Cat Ba pier at 09:45 (45 minutes) 180,000 VND
Bus (Good Morning Cat Ba) Tan Vu Lach Huyen Bridge at 09:30 am to Cat Ba at 11:10 (1h40') 400,000 VND
Taxi (Mai Linh Hai Phong) Door-to-door (0225 3833 833) 480,000 VND

Where To Stay

Where To Stay
Xinh Floating House - A very "unusual" stay experience near Cat Ba island.

There are plenty of hotels and hostels available on Cat Ba island. You will find most of them on the waterfront even though some hotels have recently opened a bit more inland. Generally, you pay a bit more for a room with sea view. When you’re less abled or not in great physical condition, make sure that you book a hotel with an elevator as a lot of hotels won’t have any. For a luxurious experience, you can go to ‘Blue Lagoon Cat Ba’ located left of the welcome gate.

Recommended hotels and resorts in Cat Ba:

Hotels Contact Information Price (Room/night/2021)
Cat Ba View Hotel No 38, Lô 2, Phố, Núi Ngọc, TT. Cát Bà, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng (1km from center). Phone: 098 699 99 76 820,000 VND (Booking.com)
Huong Cang Sea View Hotel 202 Road 1/4, Cat Ba Island, Hải Phòng (0.9 km from center). Phone: 097 546 48 98 400,000 VND (Booking.com)
Lan Homestay Viet Hai, Village, Hải Phòng 187300 (7.5 km from center). Phone: 091 489 90 27 790,000 VND (Booking.com)
Blue Lagoon Cat Ba 352 Hà Sen, TT. Cát Bà, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng. Phone: 098 683 68 38 600,000 VND (Booking.com)

Notes: This list was updated on December 24, 2023. Hotel addresses and phone numbers are verified.

See Our Top 10 hotels in Ca Ba Island

Things To Do

Things To Do
Aerial view at Monkey island in Cat Ba

Besides the obvious things to do on an island, going to the beach, visit some caves and going on a cruise, there are several other activities you can partake in. 

  • You can visit ‘Monkey Island’ where Monkeys roam free. The monkeys on the island are long tailed macaques and are not endemic to the island. 
  • Little over a mile north of town (2 kilometers) you can find the ‘Cannon Fort’. This fort was built in 1942 as a defense installation and is a popular spot to watch the sunset.

Activities: Yoga is quite a popular activity on the island and for those who enjoy lush green forests and visit to Viet Hai village is recommended. 

Where To Eat

Where To Eat
Cocktail at Quiri Pub - One of the top rated restaurants and bars in Cat Ba.

Being right by the sea (it’s an island), sea food is very popular on Cat Ba island. Some recommended restaurants are: ‘Phuong Nhung Restaurant’, ‘Lang Chai sea-food restaurant’, ‘Phương Phương Restaurant’ and for vegetarians the ‘Buddha Belly Restaurant’ comes recommended.

Restaurants Address
Quiri Pub Cocktail & Restaurant (#1 on Tripadvisor, 4.8 on Google) 135 Tùng Dinh, TT. Cát Bà, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng. Phone: 098 162 30 96
Anh Nguyet Restaurant (#4 on Tripadvisor, 4.6 on Google) Road 1/4 TT Cat Ba, Cát Bà, hai Phong. Phone: 097 858 95 30
Mona Restaurant (#6 on Tripadvisor, 4.4 on Google) 180, 1/4 Road, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng. Phone: 093 467 48 99

Suggested Itinerary

Suggested Itinerary
Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island from above!

There are so many different things to do on Cat Ba island and most people spend around three days on the island. Below we made a three day itinerary which is, of course, just a suggestion.

Day 1:

  • Visit the beach! Cat Ba has several beautiful beaches notably Cat Ba 1, 2 and 3. We suggest you go to Cat Ba 2 as it has the reputation of being the most beautiful one.
  • If you forget your bathing suit, no worries, there are plenty of options to rent a bathing suit for the day. Once at the beach you can just relax and get your tan on in the sun, go for a swim or do some snorkeling. It’s recommended to get out of the water before 6.30 p.m. as the tide and current can become quite treacherous.
  • After the beach, you can go to Cannon fort to admire the sunset. After sunset enjoy a well-earned dinner and perhaps even some drinks at the many restaurants and bars Cat Ba has to offer.

Day 2:

  • Take a trip to the beautiful Lan Ha Bay to take in the wonderful scenery. Do a bit of kayaking to explore some of the areas that are inaccessible by boat. Be sure to stop by Monkey Island to see some of the Monkeys and do some snorkeling or just simply go for a nice refreshing swim.
  • At night enjoy a fresh seafood dish called ‘Tu Hai’. It’s a highly nutritious dish which is not as popular as oysters or shrimp but still very delicious!

Day 3:

  • Visit one of the oldest fishing villages in Vietnam, Cai Beo ancient fishing village!
  • Here you’ll find many interesting sights and hear many intriguing stories about the fishing village. Make a stop at the village to meet the locals and see first-hand how they catch and subsequently prepare the fish.
  • Another option would be to go to the Cat Ba National park. The park is known for its biodiversity and is a prime example of Eco-tourism. You could even visit the fishing village and Cat Ba National park on the same day!

At night you can enjoy some delicious seafood! Regional specialties like Blue Crab of Squid come highly recommended!

Notes: All Hotels and restaurants are now open in Cat Ba Island.

Questions and Answers (20)

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Maria 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Hello. What is the best way to get to Cat Ba island from Bai Chay area ?

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Tam 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Hello Maria,

Here is the best way to get to Cat Ba island from Bai Chay area:

1 - Catch a taxi from Bai Chay area to Tuan Chau island (13km / 22 mins)

2 - Buy a ferry ticket to get to Cat Ba Island from Tuan Chau island (50 minutes). Below is a detailed guide on how to get to Cat Ba Island from Tuan Chau with detailed ferry timetable:

https://www.visithalongbay.com/transportation/how-get-halong-bay-cat-ba-island.html

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Hele Pinchuk 1 month ago

Hello! Are the ferries operating on a normal schedule during the tet holidays?

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Visithalongbay Team 4 weeks, 2 days ago

@Hele Pinchuk, There may be fewer schedules for ferries during Tet. You should contact the operators directly for more details. Regards,

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Kevin Le 1 month, 1 week ago

I plan on flying in from Da Nang to Cat Bi airport and arrive at 6:10pm. Will there be any issue with transportation to get to Cat Ba island at that late hour?

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Helen 1 month, 1 week ago

@Kevin Le, Thank you so much for your question. If your flight arrives at 6.10pm, you can take a ferry from Got Ferry Terminal to Cai Vieng Ferry (Cat Ba island) at 19.00pm or 19.30pm. If your have any further questions, please let me know. Best regards, Helen
 

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Loraine Roscorla 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi. How safe is it to hire and ride a motorcycle around Cat BA?

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Visithalongbay Team 3 months, 3 weeks ago

@Loraine, Hiring and riding a motorbike around Cat Ba is quite safe as the way is not too difficult. You should ask your hotel for this service and the instructions to know the most convenient and beautiful paths to travel around. Also, don't forget to check the vehicle carefully when you receive it from the provider and before you go. Regards,

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Lisa 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Hello. Are you able to advise if a bus goes from Gia Luan port into Cat Ba town. We are doing a overnight cruise from Halong and departing cruise at Cat Ba as we will stay a few nights Any help will be appreciated . Cheers Lisa

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Visithalongbay Team 3 months, 3 weeks ago

@Lisa, From Halong, you can buy a ferry ticket ($3.5/ticket) from Tuan Chau Island to get to Gia Luan Port. Then from Gia Luan port, you can buy the ticket of public bus which is around $1.5/ticket to get to Cat Ba Town. The bus is available in every 20 minutes. Regards,

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Sharon Linton 10 months, 1 week ago
Is there cruises that cover Halong and Cat ba in the one cruise
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Lan 9 months, 4 weeks ago
@Sharon, Unfortunately, there are no cruises that cover both Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island in a single itinerary. You must choose between exploring either the Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay (Cat Ba) route.
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Eugen 11 months, 2 weeks ago
Hi! I have some questions and would be greatful for your advice. 1. Where is the best place to catch day cruise forHalong Bay? 2. As I understand Cai Beo is not a floating village. Is there any kind of accomodation in the floating villges? 3. How to get to the monkey island? Are there any regular ferries or need to find a private one? 4. Is Grab cars working on the island? Thank you or you advices
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adriana 11 months, 3 weeks ago
Hi!! are they cruises for spending the night on the water?? in Cat ba? or only in Halong o lan ha? maybe bai tu long?
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Lan 11 months, 3 weeks ago
@Adriana If you're on an overnight cruise in Lan Ha Bay, you'll likely dock at Tra Bau fishing village, situated on the southern edge and close to Cat Ba Island. Compared to other floating villages in the Halong Bay area, Tra Bau is smaller and less crowded, providing a tranquil and genuine experience.
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Caroline David 1 year ago
How do we get around in Cat Ba Island to go to the National Park, Fishing Village, Cannon Fort? Pls advise. Thank u.
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Lan 1 year ago
@Caroline From Cat Ba town, you can consider the following options: - Bicycle: You can find a mountain bike rental service in the center of Cat Ba town with prices around 150,000 VND per day. If you're in good physical condition and want to explore the mountainous roads in the area, this could be a good option to consider. - Or If you prefer, you can take a motorbike taxi (Xe om) or rent a motorbike with prices starting at 200,000 VND per day. However, when renting a motorbike, be sure to research the route and the best way to get to the national park to ensure the safest travel.
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Chai Yee Ling 1 year, 3 months ago
We would like to have your professional advice on our itinerary, Is November the best month to visit Cat Ba Island, how is the weather right now around Hai Phong ? We are planning to depart to Cat Ba Island on Sunday 13/11 from Halong Bay.  We are worried November is not the best month to visit as the island is affected by Monsoon season. Could you advise on the above and is there any way to travel from Draha halong hotel to Cat Ba Island?
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Mia Nguyen 1 year, 3 months ago
@Chai Yee Ling November to January are definitely the best time of the year to visit both Halong bay to Cat Ba Island. We already emailed you with weather details and how to get from Draha halong hotel to Cat Ba Island by ferry and bus. Have a good day!
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