Visiting Cat Ba island
Cat Ba is the largest of the islands that form the Cat Ba Archipelago, which make up the south eastern edge of Halong Bay.
The island Cat Ba is approximately half covered by the National Park, which is home to the highly endangered Cat Ba langur.
The large majority of the population that inhabit Cat Ba island can be found in Cat Ba town.
We were travelling from Halong City to Cat Ba island. We spoke to our guide on the lemon cruise about the best way to get there:
⁃ Take the 10-15 minute bus ride from Halong to Tuan Chau
⁃ Get a taxi to the port
⁃ Jump on a boat across to Cat Ba 15 minutes
⁃ Get a taxi to Cat Ba town 30-40 minutes
We were informed by Dan at Vietnam backpackers that this should cost around 15$.
Hai (our guide) said he had a friend who could organise it all for us and collect us from the where the lemon cruise bus dropped us off at for $20. Trying our luck we offered $15 and fortunately he agreed.
We didn’t have anything booked when we arrived but we had heard good things about the greenhouse hostel.
Sadly they didn’t have rooms, but the host directed us to Cat Ba island hotel and even secured us a small discount.
We paid $24 for 2 nights and 3 people ($4 per night per person).
Room was reasonable and beds comfy, annoyingly though the shower was stone cold.
Exploring Cat Ba
Our main reason for coming to Cat Ba was to relax and enjoy a day on the beach. & that we did.
There are 3 main beaches on Cat Ba and we wondered to beach number 3 found a spot and chilled for the day.
There is a resort hotel behind the beach and hence a beach restaurant for refreshments and food.
Cat Ba is a great place to watch sunset, which we did both nights.
There is a pier and you are able to walk along the coast line admiring the sight of the sun sinking below the horizon. Or there are various restaurants with view points over the ocean.
Eating in Cat Ba
We were all very tired after our late night on the lemon cruise tour the night before and craving western food.
After a bit of googling we decided to head to My Way restaurant.
We ordered 2 large pizzas between 3 of us which was plenty and it was sooo good!
Though afterwards we all felt way to full and tired!
Feeling some what refreshed after our early night and day of chilling on the beach we decided to have some dinner and a few drinks at Oasis.
The restaurant always looked really busy and the food was a reasonable price so we thought it was worth a try.
The food was average, however the beer was 10,000 Đồng! The cocktails were also 50% off… I think this is why it was so popular.
It had a good atmosphere and the waiters were young and funny. We ended up spending the duration of the evening there playing cards and having some drinks.
We stopped here for breakfast, various omelettes and iced coffees all round. Food was average but service was pretty poor.
We asked for the bill which they bought over. Though while we were trying to split it and pay they took it away, despite us telling them we needed it.
We had no idea how much we were supposed to pay when they kept just snatching it away. Seemed pretty backwards to me and very frustrating?
They have a rooftop bar which would have been amazing to watch sunset and enjoy a few drinks, however there was no service up there.
So every time you wanted a drink or food you had to walk down the 5/6 flights of steep stairs to order it. Again, very frustrating and a shame because I’m sure they would get more revenue if they just put a staff member up there.
Other things to do
We didn’t manage to fit these in as we only had 1 full day and wanted to relax after trekking in Sapa and Halong Bay. However, if we had more time we would have also done:
Visit the National Park
Cat Ba island is very pretty, the sunset is stunning and the beaches are lovely.
The cat Ba island hotel is cheap but there’s no hot water.
Earth cafe is frustrating, but my way and oasis are worth a visit.
If I was tight on time I would have probably skipped Cat Ba but it was a great place to relax for us.