Off-the-beaten-track things to do Cat Ba island & Travel tips 2024

Nestled in the mesmerizing waters of Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its off-the-beaten-track charm and captivating natural wonders, this island paradise offers you a serene escape from the crowds. Let me help you to prepare for a journey to this marvelous land.

Cat Ba Island
The beautiful charm of Cat Ba Island

Is it worth going to Cat Ba Island?

Yes, it is definitely worth going to Cat Ba Island. This island perfectly blends natural beauty, cultural authenticity, and tranquility.

What to expect in Cat Ba Island:

  • Pristine beaches: Cat Ba Island boasts stunning beaches with soft golden sand and clear turquoise waters
  • Hidden coves and bays surrounded by nature’s beauty.
  • Limestone karst formations: Cat Ba Island showcases impressive limestone formations rising from emerald waters
  • Sunset vistas: Witness breathtaking sunsets from the beaches, as the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, creating a romantic and awe-inspiring atmosphere.
  • Beachfront dining: Enjoy fresh seafood and local delicacies at beachfront restaurants, where you can indulge in delicious meals while relishing the serene beach views.
  • Pristine natural surroundings: Cat Ba Island’s beaches are surrounded by lush green hills and vibrant vegetation, enhancing the overall beach experience with natural beauty.
  • Beach hopping: Cat Ba Island has a range of beaches, from secluded hideaways to lively shores with beach bars, offering diverse and unforgettable experiences.
  • Beachside relaxation: Cat Ba Island offers peaceful beaches where you can unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Cat Ba off-the-beaten-track Things to do

Visit Viet Hai fishing village

If you seek an authentic glimpse into rural Vietnam, you shouldn’t miss a visit to the charming Viet Hai fishing village.

Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed by the hospitality of the locals, mostly fishermen and farmers. This village has beautifully maintained its authentic charm. These traditional stilt houses and meandering pathways lead you through its enchanting streets.

Engaging with the locals is a highlight of visiting Viet Hai. The residents are eager to share their way of life, inviting you to participate in their daily activities. You can join them in fishing expeditions, farming tasks such as plowing the fields, feeding the chickens, and taking care of the pig farm… I do believe that every moment you spend in Viet Hai fishing village is a treasure to be cherished.

Immerse yourself in the local fishing culture at Viet Hai Fishing Village. Source: Internet

Kayak in Three Peaches Beach

For those seeking an off-the-beaten-track adventure on Cat Ba Island, then kayaking in Three Peaches Beach is an absolute must. This secluded beach, tucked away amidst the captivating beauty of limestone karsts and turquoise waters offers a serene and untouched environment for kayaking.

As you embark on your kayak, you’ll be mesmerized by the breathtaking views that surround you. Paddling through hidden caves and narrow passageways, you’ll discover secret lagoons and hidden gems that can only be accessed by kayak.

Kayaking in Three Peaches Beach allows you to connect with the marine ecosystem. As you glide through the water, you may encounter vibrant coral reefs, tropical fish, and other fascinating marine life.

Kayaking at Cat Ba Island
A kayak in Three Peaches Beach is a fantastic way to escape the crowds. Source: Cat Ba Express

Take a cruise in Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay is often considered a hidden gem, offering a quieter and more secluded alternative to Halong Bay. Taking a cruise in this natural wonder offers you a unique opportunity to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Cat Ba Island.

Unlike day cruises in Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay typically offers overnight cruises that last either 2 days and 1 night or 3 days and 2 nights, allowing for a more immersive and extended experience on the stunning bay.

The highlight of the cruise is undoubtedly the breathtaking scenery. The bay is adorned with limestone karsts, towering out of the emerald-green waters, creating a majestic and ethereal atmosphere.
By taking a cruise, you can venture to hidden beaches, where you can relax on pristine sands, swim in clear waters, and soak up the peaceful ambiance.

Cruise in Lan Ha bay
Taking a cruise in Lan Ha Bay brings you natural beauty, luxury, and tranquility

Some top-rated cruises include Lan Ha Bay:

Trek to Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park on Cat Ba Island is a nature lover’s paradise that unveils the natural beauty and biodiversity of Cat Ba Island. The park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including some that are rare and endangered.

Some trekking routes that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Ngu Lam Peak Trek: Enjoy panoramic views of this island from this popular trail, passing through dense forests and rocky terrain to reach a rewarding viewpoint over Lan Ha Bay’s sparkling waters.
  • Kim Giao Forest Trek: This trek winds through the forest, offering a chance to encounter rare plant species and spot wildlife like langurs and diverse bird species.
  • Cannon Fort Trek: History and scenic views converge on this captivating trail to the remnants of a former military outpost – a must for history and photography enthusiasts.

The trekking trails in Cat Ba National Park cater to different levels of difficulty, ensuring that there is an option suitable for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the park’s natural wonders at your own pace.

Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park is a hidden gem, offering a tranquil escape from the tourist crowds

Helpful tips:

  • Wear appropriate gear: Dress in comfortable, breathable clothing and sturdy closed-toe shoes or hiking boots. Don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
  • Stay hydrated and nourished: You should bring enough water and pack energy-boosting snacks or a packed lunch for sustained energy.
  • Be mindful of weather conditions: Check the weather forecast before your trek and be prepared for weather changes. It’s advisable to avoid hiking during heavy rain or storms, as trails can become slippery and dangerous.

Take a Cycling Tour

If you want to delve deeper into the heart of Cat Ba island, it’s advisable to take a cycling tour.

As you pedal along winding paths and lesser-known routes, you’ll discover hidden villages, picturesque landscapes, and local communities that are off the typical tourist traps. This allows you to gain a genuine and authentic understanding of locals on this island, interact with locals, and witness their way of life.

Cycling tour at Cat Ba Island
A cycling tour allows you to gain an authentic understanding of Cat Ba island

Explore mystic Hoa Cuong Cave

Hoa Cuong Cave is a hidden gem that offers a mesmerizing for those seeking to explore its mystic beauty.

As you venture into its depths, you’ll be greeted by a surreal world of stunning limestone formations, intricate stalactites, and unique geological features. The cave’s underground rivers add to its allure, creating a sense of tranquility and serenity. I’m sure that every corner of Hoa Cuong Cave brings you a new surprise.

Hoa Cuong Cave
The ethereal landscapes and formations of Hoa Cuong Cave. Source: Internet

How to get to Cat Ba Island?

To reach the captivating Cat Ba Island, there are several transportation options available:

  • From Hai Phong to Cat Ba: You catch a ferry or speedboat to reach this island. The ferry ride takes around 45 minutes to an hour, while a speedboat ride is faster, at approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
  • From Hanoi to Cat Ba: Take a direct tourist bus from Hanoi that includes both the land and water journey. The bus will transport you directly to the ferry terminal in Hai Phong, where you can board a ferry or speedboat to Cat Ba Island.
  • From Halong Bay to Cat Ba: For a more scenic journey, you can take a boat from Quang Ninh. This route takes you through the mesmerizing landscapes of Ha Long Bay, then head to Cat Ba.


When month is best for Cat Ba island?

The best time to visit depends on your preferences. The peak season is from June to August, offering warm weather but also more tourists. For a quieter experience, visit in spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). Winter (December to February) is less crowded but cooler.

Is it better to stay on Cat Ba Island or Halong Bay?

When deciding whether to stay on Cat Ba Island or Halong Bay, it’s important to consider a few factors.

This island offers a more laid-back and tranquil experience. With its picturesque beaches, hiking trails, and charming fishing villages, it’s perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat surrounded by natural beauty.

Halong Bay, on the other hand, is renowned for its stunning karst formations and emerald waters. It offers a unique cruising experience, allowing you to navigate through the breathtaking limestone islets and visit magnificent caves.

How long should I stay on Cat Ba Island?

The ideal duration for your stay on Cat Ba Island depends on your preferences. To fully explore the island’s attractions, plan for at least two to three days. However, if you have limited time, a one-day visit can still provide a glimpse of its highlights.

Are there ATMs in Cat Ba Island?

Yes, there are ATMs available on Cat Ba Island, providing convenient access to cash. It’s recommended to bring some cash as a backup, but having ATMs allows you to withdraw Vietnamese Dong, the local currency, as needed during your stay.

Hope this travel guide helps you create the best itinerary for your trip to Cat Ba Island. If you have any questions or require helpful assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Halong Junk Cruise; our team of travel experts will always welcome you warmly!

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