Cat Ba – a pearl of Tokin
Located 60km from Hai Phong’s center, Cat Ba is one of the best destinations in Vietnam which is attractive a lot of tourists during summer and weekend. You can spend 2-3 days for visits and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the island.
How to travel to Cat Ba
From Hanoi, you can take a bus at Gia Lam, Yen Nghia or Ha Dong station to Hai Phong’s station with a price of VND 100,000 (USD 4). From here, there are two ways: you either take hydrofoil to Cat Ba (VND 220,000 – UD 10), or 2 ferries (VND 11,000 – 50 cents and VND 6,000 – 25 cents respectively). The total time is from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Besides, you can depart from Hanoi toward Halong Bay and then take a ferry at Tuan Chau marina, but it takes more time than the above way. More simply, you can buy a ticket of bus from a Vietnam tour operator with a price of VND 480,000 (USD 23). By doing that, you will not have to worry about finding transfer services for next steps because, this service will provide you a full package.
WHAT TO VISIT ON CAT BA ISLAND?
Cat Co beach
There are three beaches which attract tourists on Cat Ba including Cat Co 1,2,3 because of clean and blue water and good location. Among of them, Cat Co 1 is the best one surrounded by mountains. Cat Co 2 and 3 are smaller but quite tranquil. All beaches are connected by a small path along the mountains.
From the center, you can walk or rent a bike or electrical car to this place. You should go back to shore before 18.30 because of tide and strong waves.
Located on the height of 177m, this is a historical place which was built and used by Vietnamese military in 1940s and which are keeping two big cannons with the weight of dozens of tons. Besides visiting the fortress, you can see many interesting places of Cat Ba island such as, Lan Ha Bay, Guoc island…
Lan Ha Bay
Visitors to Cat Ba often take a day boat trip to explore a wonderful beauty of Lan Ha Bay. Located on the South of Halong Bay, Lan Ha has many things similar to the World’s Natural Heritage with numerous islets and mountains jutting out of the sea. From the boats, you will easily recognize the amazing shapes of islets which are named by the locals including, Guoc and Turtle islets…if you want to enjoy total beauty of the bay, you can rent a kayak to access the limestone mountain and caves hiding in the mountains.
Khi (monkey) island
This island is unmissable place during your trip in Lan Ha. There are numerous monkeys on this island which are interesting to children. If you want to dip into the natural beach, you can relax or swim at Cat Dua or participate in a snorkeling tour of a center on this island. There are instructors who will go with you during your trip under sea. Price is about VND 1,000,000 (USD 45)/30 minutes.
Fishing village of Cai Beo
In Cat Ba, the best famous destination is the fishing village of Cai Beo. It is not as busy as Lan ha, but there are a wide range of boats and ships which are available to take you to places in this oldest village in Vietnam
If you travel in group, you should rent a big boat, but to explore the local life of sea, it is the best to take a small boat which brings you to a watercolor painting of Cai Beo as well as an interesting story of the fishing village from rowers. You also can stop at floating houses to see and buy sea animals.
Cat Ba national park
Is a retreat place built in 1986; Cat Ba national park is located on the way to centre. With price of VND 15,000 (70 cents), you can choose the route of eco-tour to see the abundant flora and fauna inside the park or visit some famous caves including Trung Trang or Doi (bat) caves…
WHAT TO EAT ON CAT BA ISLAND?
To Cat Ba, besides relaxing on the beautiful beaches or swim on clean and blue water, enjoying seafood is one of the most attractive activities on this island.
Grilled Horseshoe crab with egg
Horseshoe crab is the most typical food here which provides sea tastes. The food will be prepared carefully in some ways to make a variety of flavors including: blood, raw horseshoe crab with vegetable, sweet and sour horseshoe crab, deep-fry horseshoe crab…
Snout otter clam
Is a molluscous species with two shells living in the sea environment. This is a valuable and rare species which offers a high nutrition and special taste. Snout otter clam is not as popular as arca, oyster, snail…but those who have tried it will not forget its special taste.
Normally, to catch squid, we have to go off shore, but because of deep-sea feature with high volume of salt and soft waves, so Cat Ba is a very suitable place for squid living near shore…Therefore, squid is quite popular on Cat Ba island. In the evening, you can find many restaurants near shore serving grilled squid.
Blue crab is very popular in the sea places of Vietnam and also is a specialty in Cat Ba island. Besides being caught in the natural environment, on Cat Ba, currently there are many blue crabs which bred in the floating cages.