Cat Ba island, Vietnam

Most of tourists come to Vietnam want to visit Halong bay and many of those start to find out that Cat Ba islands are one of the best place to discover as it is not as crowded as Halong bay and there are many beautiful sighseeing here also.

After you have spent one day to cruise on Halong bay, visit caves and go swimming then you should choose one or two more nights in Cat Ba island. Here, you can choose to sleep on a private beach bungalow, go kayaking, swimming in clean water, visit hundred year floating village or go rock climbing...There is Lan Ha bay in Cat Ba island that will give you real relax time and unforgetable holiday.

About Cat Ba islands

Cat Ba islands is located in Hai Phong city. It is about 10 km South East of Halong bay. Cat Ba incuded Cat Ba islands and Lan Ha bay where many tourists love to come to trek in to Cat Ba national park or take a cruise to visit Lan Ha bay islets and beaches and floating villages

Cat Ba Islands is in the South of Halong bay world heritage. It consists of 367 islands, off the coast of Hai Phong city and Quang Ninh province, it is far from the center of Hai Phong city about 30 km, from the city of Ha Long about 25 km. Administratively, it is the islands of Cat Hai district, Hai Phong city. It has been recognized as the World Biosphere Reserve.

Cat Ba island, Hai Phong


Cat Ba is the place between the forest and the sea blend , creating a one of a kind landscapes . Come to this beautiful island , visitors are not only bathed in cool blue beaches , but also can discover mysterious nature through primitive forests on the island . Cat Ba National Park is extensive 15,200 ha of tropical forests with system wide 570 ha rich flora and fauna , the species is characteristic white head and Kim Giao trees .

Cat Ba Island is the giant green carpet contains many mysterious and attractive . Worthy of the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve 3rd Vietnam , is now recognized as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in the world. The total area of ​​the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve 26,000 ha wide , with 2 core zone ( strict conservation and human impacts ) , 2 buffer ( allowing economic growth combined with limited but conservation ) and two transition zones ( economic development ) . Zone Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve is the full convergence on the tropical rain forest of limestone islands , mangroves , coral reefs , grass beds and especially the cave system . Cat Ba Cai Beo there remains the Halong culture , the way people have lived here 6475 - 4200 year .

With charm bestowed by nature , biological diversity and the tremendous value of the nation's history , Cat Ba has been and will be an attractive destination for domestic and foreign tourists

Cat Ba island town

Over view

Cat Ba is the largest island in the Bay and approximately half of its area is covered by a National Park, which is home to the highly endangered Cat Ba Langur. The island has a wide variety of natural ecosystems, both marine and terrestrial, leading to incredibly high rates of biodiversity. Types of natural habitats found on Cat Ba Archipelago include limestone karsts, tropical limestone forests, coral reefs, mangrove and sea grass beds, lagoons, beaches, caves, and willow swamp forests. Cat Ba Island is one of the only populated islands in Ha Long Bay, with roughly 13,000 inhabitants living in six different communes, and 4,000 more inhabitants living on floating fishing villages off the coast. The large majority of the population can be found in Cat Ba Town which is located at the southern tip of the Island (15 km south of the national park) and is the commercial center on the Island. Since 1997, Cat Ba Town has grown rapidly and has become a tourist hub for both the Island and greater Ha Long Bay.

Gia Luan harbour - Cat Ba island

History of Cat Ba Island:

Archeological evidence suggests that people have lived on Cat Ba Island for almost 6,000 years, with the earliest settlements being found on the southeastern tip of the Island close to the area where Ban Beo harbor sits today. In 1938, a group of French archeologists discovered human remains belonging "to the Cai Beo people of the Ha Long culture, which lived between 4,000 and 6,500 years ago… considered to be perhaps the first population group occupying the North-Eastern territorial waters of Vietnam… the Cai Beo people may be an intermediary link between the population strata at the end of the Neolithic Age, some 4,000 years ago". In more recent history, Cat Ba Island was inhabited mostly by Viet-Chinese fisherman and was largely influenced by both the French and American wars. The Island was a strategic look-out point and bombing during the wars often forced local residents to hide among the Island's many caves. Today, the best reminders of the two wars have been turned into tourist attractions. Hospital Cave, which was a secret, bomb-proof hospital during the American War and as a safe house for VC leaders. This three-story feat of engineering was in use until 1975 is only 10 km north of Cat Ba Town. The second attraction, the newly built Cannon Fort, sits on a peak 177 meters high, offering visitors a chance to see old bunkers and helicopter landing stations as well stunning views Cat Ba Island, its coast, and the limestone karsts in Lan Ha Bay offshore.

Cat Ba national park:

At the heart of Cat Ba Island lies a visually stunning and ecologically diverse national park. In 1986, 9,800 [98 km²] hectares (approximately one third of the Island's total land mass) was annexed as Cat Ba National Park, the first decreed protected area in Vietnam to include a marine component (Dawkins 14). It had previously been the site of a timber company. In 2006, the boundaries of the national park were redefined, so the park contained 109 km² of land area and an additional 52 km² of inshore waters and mangrove covered tidal zones (langur website). The park is staffed by 92 people, including over 60 park rangers. In 2004, Cat Ba Archipelago was declared a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve Area in order to protect the multiple terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as well the diverse plant and animal life that is found on the Island. The UNESCO designation divides the archipelago into three distinct areas, each with certain functions and restrictions that regulates development and conservation measures on the Island

Lan Ha bay

Lan Ha Bay has about 400 islets. Going by boat to cruise Lan Ha bay, you will see alot of islets with small beaches. The Bay is home to hundreds of mounts with different form depending on travelers' imagination like Hòn Guốc (Wooden Shoe islet), Hòn Dơi ( Bat grotto), etc.

Beautiful Lan Ha bay - Vietnam

Many beaches for swiming in clean water

Lan Ha bay has about 139 beautiful, small sandy beaches, many island has sandy beach lie between two stone mountains. Many tourists come to these beaches for swimming, kayaking, having sunbath or have a picnic lunch on the beach. Especially, in some big beaches, local people has invested to build some bungalows where you can come to stay overnight such as Monkey Island Resort, Sandy Beach Resort, Castaway bungalow, Cove Beach bungalow...

Viet Hai village:
You can book a boat from Catba to Viet Hai harbour, then go by motobike, bicycle, trekking to Viet Hai village passing a forest road 6 km to the village. In the village, you can visit old houses, take pictures of forest trees or see people, buffalows working on the green fields.

When you travel from Catba town or Monkey Island Resort to Viet Hai harbour, you will have time to enjoy the beauty of Lan Ha bay with hundreds of islets, sandy beaches, floating houses.... When you ride from Viet Hai harbour to the village, you can stop on the way to take pictures of green lake or the beautiful trees on the water. There is a road on the left where you will go throught a cave. It is fantastic road to come to Viet Hai village.

Jungle road to Viet Hai village - Cat Ba national park

Cat Co Beach, Cat Ba Island

The white-sand Cat Co beaches (simply called Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 2 and 3 ) make a great place to lounge around for the day. They are about 1 km southeast from Cat Ba town over a steep headland; and can be reached on foot or by motorbike or taxi. The two beaches are separated by a small hillock that can be climbed over in about 20 minutes. Most; however; take the easier route along a new; 700m; wooden seaside walkway around the mountain. Cat Co 2 is the less busy and more attractive of the two; and also offers simple accommodation and camping. On weekends the beaches fill up with Vietnamese tourists. The main beaches; apart from those at Cat Ba town itself; are Cai Vieng; Hong Xoai Be and Hong Xoai Lon.

Monkey Island ( Cat Dua island)

Monkey Island stay in the area of Nam Cat, Lan Ha bay. There are 5 sandy beach here and Monkey Island beach is the most beautiful and the biggest one. From Cat Ba town, you have to take a taxi or motobike to Beo harbour where you go by boat to Monkey Island. It takes you about 15 minutes, throught the floating village and many beautiful islets with sea birds flying in group up and down.

In the past, this island was called Cat Dua island ( Pine Apple Sand Beach island) because there is a lot of pine apple trees on the sandy beach. In recent years, there are many tourists come and they found many monkeys on the island then this is called Monkey Island beside the name Cat Dua.

Monkey island is about 5 km round with the front side are 2 sandy beaches and the back side is like rocky mountain. The beaches here are very beautiful with pine apple trees on the beach and many kind of green trees on the mountain.

There are about 20 monkeys on the island. They live on the mountain, in the garden and some time go to the beach for foods given by the tourist. Coming here, you also can enjoy the song of the birds in the garden or see many fishes swimming in the clean water.

Monkey Island is an ideal place for tourist holiday with many activities like play football, volley ball on beach, swimming, snockeling or go fishing. Especially, you can do kayaking around as the water here is calm like in a lake with hundreds of islets around.

Cai Beo floating village in Cat Ba islands

How to come to Cat Ba island:

You can come to Cat Ba island center ( Cat Ba town) by going to Hai Phong city, then go by speed boat from Hai Phong ( Ben Binh harbour) to Cat Bai town ( about 50 minutes on boat). There is a company called Hoang Long has daily buses from Luong Yen bus station in Hanoi to go package trip ( bus and boat) to Cat Ba island town. If you come from Ho Chi Minh city, there is a flight to come to Hai Phong city and then you go by speed boat to Cat Ba town.

You can come to Cat Ba by going to Halong bay, then take a ferry at Tuan Chau island to reach Gia Luan harbour in Cat Ba island, then take a taxi to Cat Ba town in 30 minutes more.

Many tourists are advised to take a package tour to visit Halong bay, sleep on boat 1 night then go to Cat Ba to sleep one more night in Cat Ba town or in a bungalow on a private beach.

Go kayaking in Lan Ha bay

Boat cruise on Lan Ha bay

* Hotels and Resorts in Cat Ba island

* Unique Lan Ha bay, Vietnam

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Currently, there are some resorts in Cat Ba taking a false name of Monkey Island Resort to seek profit. These resorts have bad facilities and service, directly affect travellers. Monkey Island Resort would like recommend that there is unique MONKEY ISLAND RESORT AT BEACH 2, CAT DUA ISLAND, CAT BA, HAI PHONG. This is our official website: www.monkeyislandresort.com