Information on Cat Ba Island
The island of Cat Ba is located front Haiphong and Halong city, which means that the island is located in the Halong Bay, formally the Gulf of Tonkin, privileged enclave where they exist in the North of Vietnam.
With an area of nearly 300 square kilometers and an average height of 70 meters above the sea level, the Cat Ba Island, whose literal translation of Vietnamese is Isla Mujeres, possesses the karst and magical appearance of the islets of Halong Bay, but unlike most of the islands of the archipelago, in its interior encloses a vast tropical jungle filled with flora and faunarecognized by UNESCO as a World biosphere reserve in the year 2004.
The local population of the island is reduced to 14,000 inhabitants, low in comparison with the 2 million Vietnamese who live in Hiaphong. Cat Ba Island inhabitants live mainly on the fishing and tourism, since although it seems incredible, the type of soil and the steep terrain they make almost impossible the agriculture. The population of the island is divided into 6 communes, but the greater town of Cat Ba is precisely the Cat Ba town, located to the South of the island, which receives more than 350,000 visitors annually.
The Cat Ba Island is famous for Cat Ba National Park, but also for their beaches, caves, freshwater lakes, water falls, swamps, hills, rocky peaks (the highest of 331 meters), Lan has Bay and floating villages.
Tourist destination on the rise, the Cat Ba Island tends to be the tie-off point of boats and cruises in Halong Bay, which is one of the few places in the Bay of the Gulf of Tonkin where night can be done on the Mainland. Although the majority of travelers come to the Cat Ba Island to relax under the Sun on any of its beaches and resorts, eco-tourism is promoting the different forests of the island, becoming a destination on the rise for the lovers of trekking and hiking Cat Ba.
Map of Cat Ba Island
Here you have a map and map of the Cat Ba Island. In the North are the docks / piers Luan Gia, Cai Vieng and Phu Long. The Cat Ba town is located to the South, where are the piers Ben Beo and Cat Hai.
Map of Cat Ba Island (click to enlarge)
Points of interest in the Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island has many things to offer. These are the sights highlights:
The Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park extends over the Northeast, occupying about one-third of the island, Park which covers not only land firm but also the part marina. Inside lives the white head langur, rarely visible since are only 100 copies of this species endangered.
The Cat Ba Langur is the most famous species of the Park, but the natural park Cat Ba can also see 300 different species of fish, 500 species of mollusks and crustaceans, 740 different kinds of plants, 70 species of birds and 20 species of reptiles and amphibians.
The most striking of the Cat Ba National Park are the karst formations typical of Halong Bay, which abruptly arise from the turquoise blue waters. The highest point of the island, the mountain Cao Vong, is 320 meters high (located in the North of the island), point which offers spectacular views of the area.
Schedule and prices of Cat Ba Nature Reserve
Cat Ba National Park is Open every day of the year, although no official schedule, the Park is open from sunrise to sunset.
The price varies according to the journey to make.
The Basic 1 - trekking two hours costs 15,000 VND (half a euro), is usually the path to Dinh Kim Gial coming to be 2 km. Intermediate 6 hours trekking costs 35,000 VND (about 1 euro), covers a distance of 6 km, passing through the Lake Ech and Viet Hai village (optionally you may return to the Cat Ba town by boat).
Prices do not include Guide (we recommend especially for the 6 hours trekking), you can hire a guide for a price from 120,000 VND (less than 5€).
Cat Co Beaches
The Cat Ba Island has 3 beaches, called Beach Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2 Beach and Beach Cat Co 3. These white sandy beaches are not excessively large or does not possess enough waves for surfing, however enjoy a magnificent enclave: Beach surrounded by Karst rocks and green vegetation.
Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2 and beaches are public, but you have to pay entrance. The price is 10,000 VND (less than 1 US $). The beach Cat Co 3 unofficially belongs to a resort, and although we can walk and swim in it, will be hit if intentanmos sit there and soak up the Sun. From our point of view the beach Cat Co 2 is the most beautiful of the three.
Cat Co beaches are located 1 km south of the town of Cat Ba, after a small hill. The first beach you arrive is the beach Cat Co 1, after she and accessed through a gateway we can get to Cat Co 2. Cat Co 3 beach is easily accessible following the road of the port.
On the beach Cat Co 2 can rent a shed for the night on the beach by 70. 000VND (less than 3€). As recommendations you will say that you have beware of belongings (even inside the sheds) and bring water and food already prices there are very high.
Reach Cat Co beaches are 20 minutes walk or less from Cat Ba town by taxi will cost 2€ and if we go on a bike, you have to park the bike in the garage, which costs 5,000 VND.
Strong Cannon (Cannon Fort)
Beaches Cat Co, North of the town of Cat Ba, the Strong Canon (in English Cannon Fort) is located. It is a fortress built by the Japanese during the Second World War, later used by the French in indochina wars and finally used by the Vietnamese to defend the city of Haiphong during the Vietnam war. The placement of difficult access, is located 177 metres above sea level.
Open daily throughout the day, with 20,000 VND entrance fee (less than 1€), we can see the artillery, photographs, models, etc... but the best strong Cannon are the views from the beach and the Bay. To facilitate access, there is a small tourist train that runs the route from the town of Cat Ba to the Fort, the price is 50,000 VND for a ticket of return.
Caves Cat Ba Island
Karst formations of the Cat Ba Island contain lots of caves inside. The most famous caves of Cat Ba are the Cave Hospital (Quang and) and the cave Trung Trang, both located inside the natural park in the Centre of the island.
And Quang Cave: cave Hospital
Located 12 kilometers to the North of the town of Cat Ba, have the cave Quang and, popularly known as Cave Hospital. It is one of the vestiges of the war in Vietnam, cave used as a military base, haven for the leaders of the Viet Cong and hospital during the conflict.
The cave was built during the years 1963 to 1965, has 3 levels, a total of 17 dwellings and a length of 200 meters. Inside the cave we have a natural pool and even a cinema.
The guide of the cave is usually wearing the typical dress of the conflict and even carries a gun, we recommend you have an interpreter for a closer look of the explanations.
The entry fees are 15,000 VND (half a euro). The cave is open daily from 8:00 to 16:30 hours.
Lan Ha Bay
Off the coast of the town of Cat Ba have the Bay Lan has a Bay very similar to Halong Bay but not as exploited touristically. The appearance of this Bay is identical to Halong Bay, but the islets and rock formations are considerably smaller. As in Halong, Lan has Bay there are several floating villages that are mainly dedicated to the hunting and the cultivation of pearls.
The largest of all the lakes in the Cat Ba Island is Ech Lake (Ao Ech, also called Lake frog). With 50 meters of depth and occupying an area of 3 hectares, is the largest reserve of fresh water on the island.
Just 10 minutes from the Jetty Ben Beo we have the Monkey Island, animal sanctuary that receives this name precisely by the presence of these apes. The Monkey Island tends to be higher in the way of cruise Halong Bay, without any other tourist attraction. We must use caution with monkeys, with a tendency to be anything within their reach and respond aggressively if they feel threatened.
Activities Cat Ba Island
In addition to sunbathe, give us a swim on the beaches Cat Co and walk in the National Park, in the Cat Ba Island can practice water sports (the most popular is the kayak), we can also start us climbing trying to ascend the karst walls or take a ride on the bike.
Getting to Cat Ba?
The Cat Ba Island belongs administratively to the city of Haiphong, 40 kilometers to Haiphong and Halong city 20 km (as the crow flies) to fall short. The city of Hanoi is 170 kilometers.
There is no bridge or tunnel that the Cat Ba Island with mainland, nor airport, to this unique transportation options are the boat / hydrofoil, ferry and helicopter.
For wealthy travelers, there is a service of helicopter from Hanoi that will take us up to the Cat Ba Island and later return that same day by boat to mainland. The company in question is called Northern Service Flight in the Truong Chinh Street no. 182 of Hanoi.
If you've ruled out the helicopter, then you have to take a ferry or a fast boat to Cat Ba Island.
Displacement from Hanoi to Cat Ba
Hoang Long Asia bus company has a combo package of bus speedboat allows us to reach the town of Cat Ba in 4 hours.
This option of displacement, which is where we recommend, departs from Hanoi Luong Yen bus station to Dinh Vu Jetty in Haiphong (2 hours). In Haiphong take a fast boat to Wharf Cai Vieng, North of the Cat Ba Island (25 minutes) and once in Cat Ba, in a second bus from the same company we move to Cat Ba town (30 minutes).
The price is 10€ person per trip, there is the possibility to buy tickets of roundtrip. Hours from Hanoi are 6: 15 and 8:15, 12, 02: 15 pm. From Cat Ba hours are 7:15, 9:15, 13:15 and 15:15.
More information and updated schedules in Official Home Page Hoang Long Asia (in Vietnamese).
Displacement from Haiphong to Cat Ba
From the city of Haiphong, we have several routes, types of ships and destinations in Cat Ba. For example, we can take a ferry (so-called slow boats) or a fast boat (hydrofoil boat or hydrofoil in English). The point of destination in the Cat Ba Island can be piers in the North of the island (Cai Vieng Pier, Jetty Luan Gia or Phu Long Jetty, then there will be to take a bus to the village) or the Jetty of the town of Cat Ba.
Ferry to Cat Ba island
Ferry / boat slow to Cat Ba depart from Pier Dinh Vu in Haiphong and 2 hours arrives embarcadero Phu Long (to the North of the Cat Ba Island), from there take a bus to get to the town of Cat Ba (40 minutes). The price of the ferry are 100,000 VND (less than 4€). Hours 6:00-12:20.
Fast boat / hydrofoil to Cat Ba island
There are 2 routes of fast boats / hydrofoil to Cat Ba, a path goes directly to the town of Cat Ba and the other, to the North, to the jetties Luan Gia, Cai Vieng and Phu Long. The companies that operate this route are Hadeco, Hoang Yen, Cat Ba Island Resort and Spa, Greenlines and So Hai Victory Express.
- Direct route: swift boat / hydrofoil leaves from Pier Ben Binh in Haiphong and takes 45 minutes to get to the Pier in the town of Cat Ba. Its price is 200,000 VND per trip (8€). Hours 7:00, 8:30, 9:00, 13:00 and 15:00.
- Route North: swift boat departs from the Jetty Dinh Vu in Haiphong and takes 20 minutes to reach the North of Cat Ba Island, Luan Gia Jetty or Pier Phu Long. There he is to take a bus to the village (40 minutes). Schedule 5:20, 07:15, 08:45, 10:15, 14:14, 15:45 and 17:15 *.
- Route to the North with Hadeco: Hadeco company performs the way Ben Binh Jetty in Haiphong and takes 20 minutes to get to Cat Ba Island, embarcadero Cai Vieng North. The price are 120,000 VND (4€). Time 07:05, 08:00, 10:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 16:00. In addition they offer a bus from Cai Vieng town of Cat Ba.
More information and updated schedules in Hadeco official website (in Vietnamese).
* Note: not all schedules are available in low season.
Offset from Halong City to Cat Ba
The scrolling options from Halong City to Cat Ba tourism are more and more expensive than from Haiphong.
There are boats that depart from Pier Bai Chay Halong city bound Cat Ba town, the route is 4 hours and the price round the 150,000 VND (6€). Just 1 boat per day with departure at 13:00 from Halong city.
Another point of Halong city where to catch a boat is the Jetty Hon Gai, bound for the Town of Cat Ba, the journey is 1 hour and 30 minutes and the price round the 280,000 VND (10€). Schedules from Hon Gai 8:45 and 13:45.
There are other tourist boats departing from Halong City bound Phu Long Jetty, in the North of the island.
Facts about Cat Ba Island
Although it may seem unbelievable, this tourist destination had no electricity until 1997.
Cat Ba were found in archaeological sites dating from the Neolithic period.
The Cat Ba Island is one of the few places in the world inhabited by the white head Langur, in danger of extinction.
Although the literal translation of Cat Ba Island women, the island is known as the Island of Jade.