Top 10 things to do in Cat Ba Island in Vietnam
- on May 12, 2020       By: BN
Cat Ba Island is the large island of the eponymous archipelago comprising 367 islands and islets, recognized as a biological reserve by Unesco. An invigorating nature stopover that pairs very well with a cruise in Halong Bay. Get inspired by our 10 must-do things to do during your stay on this treasure island.
10 keywords of Cat Ba
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Cat Ba is the perfect island to relax and unwind during your trip to Vietnam. You can enjoy many beaches of Cat Ba and in particular, its 3 main ones which are Cat Co 1 beach, Cat Co 2 beach and Cat Co 3 beach. All three are located on the Eastern side of the island. Going there is the opportunity for a great walk, bike or scooter ride. Note that the walk between beach 3 and beach 2 is pleasant and offers a magnificent view of the coast. The best time to enjoy the fun of the beach is from April to the end of November.
Nature lovers and followers of beautiful walks must visit the Cat Ba National Park. This nature reserve extending over 16,000 ha is characterized by its subtropical vegetation which shelters more than 50 animal species including a rare species of endemic monkeys: the langur with a golden head. You can take advantage of this magnificent natural setting by taking the 18 km long walking trail that crisscrosses the park. Several hikes can be organized in the park according to your wish and your level of walking.
>> Read more: Explore the pristine beauty of Cat Ba National Park
Discover the extraordinary beauty of Cat Ba Island as you ride your bike on the small roads and paths that cross the island. Cycling allows you to appreciate the rich landscapes of the island and to observe local life. Along the way, you will reach the peaceful Viet Hai village which nestles in a valley with steep slopes and surrounded by fields. You can have lunch there and even sleep with the locals if this travel experience appeals to you.
From Cat Ba Island, you can go on a boat trip to explore the magical Lan Ha Bay. Halong's little sister, Lan Ha Bay is dotted with karst islands and islets with surprising shapes and covered with jungle. Less crowded than Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is a haven of tranquillity that deploys beautiful small coves where you can anchor for lazing around and swimming.
>> Read more: Lan Ha Bay, paradise of the Tonkinese Sea
Kayaking is an activity not to be missed for those who want to respectfully venture into the limestone maze of Lan Ha Bay. Discovering these breath-taking seascapes in another way, from another angle, will make your travel experience on Cat Ba Island even richer. It’s a total immersion in spectacular nature.
The karstic reliefs of the islands and islets close to Cat Ba offer a superb playground for climbing enthusiasts. There are no less than 10 climbing sites, each offering several routes. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, you will find what you are looking for in Cat Ba and take advantage of magnificent natural sites to practice climbing. Cat Ba is one of the best climbing destinations in South East Asia.
High places of local life in Cat Ba, the central market is well worth a visit for curious travellers who want to immerse themselves in Vietnamese culture. At dawn, the market is bustling to welcome the arrival of fresh fish and seafood. You will be surprised by the wide variety of products from fishmonger's stalls. Be sure to buy the famous Vietnamese fermented fish sauce, nuoc mam. A typical souvenir from Vietnam that will enhance the flavour of your dishes!
From Cat Ba, you can go on an excursion to visit some floating fishing villages located in Lan Ha Bay, the oldest and best known of which is Cai Beo village. More sheltered from the wind because of its concentration of limestone formations, this bay is ideal for establishing floating villages, for practising fish farming and the breeding of pearl oysters. You will discover a unique and fascinating aquatic universe. Take the time to properly observe this lake life by opting for lunch in a floating village.
>> Read more: Two must-see fishing villages on Cat Ba Island
You can get close to the skies and enjoy a breath-taking panoramic view of the enchanting limestone landscapes of the nearby bays. The Cannon Fort, erected by the French in 1942 to control sea crossings in the bays, is located on the top of a hill at an altitude of 177 metres. From downtown Cat Ba, you can get there on foot, by bike or by scooter.
Seafood lovers and foodies can't find a better way to spend on Cat Ba Island. To stimulate your appetite, go to the central market to appreciate the diversity of fish and seafood. Then sit down in a restaurant or a street food restaurant to feast on iodized flavours. A culinary experience that you will not soon forget!!!