Guide to cat BA island
Cat BA island (Cat Ba Island, Cat BA) is the largest of 366 Islands in the same archipelago in the North of Vietnam in 140 kilometers from Hanoi (cat BA island on the map). Traditionally, the island bathed by waters of world-famous ha long Bay, but in fact it is in the center of LAN ha Bay, which is also a natural landmark and one of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia.
Cat BA island is a sparsely populated island, and most of it is uninhabited area – cat BA national Park. The island is mainly hilly, covered with tropical evergreen forests. The main settlement is the town of cat BA town, and besides him there are several villages. There resides some 13 000 people, each year, it hosts more than 350 000 tourists.
Stay on cat BA island
Cat BA island is the only developed beach resort in the North of Vietnam. Of course, the popularity and development it is far behind such resorts like Nha Trang, MUI ne, da Nang, but it has its advantages. First of all, this is a very beautiful nature resort with spectacular views of the surrounding bays, are filled with scenic islets. Here well-developed tourist infrastructure, and it is fine to rest here for a week or two and not get bored with it. And if you prefer sightseeing tourism and acquaintance with the culture of the country, the North of Vietnam is the best place for this. And along with visits to Hanoi, Sapa, BAC Ha, Dien bien Phu and other sightseeing places in the North you can add to your journey a little beach holiday in Cat BA without a long trip in the Central or southern part of the country.
On cat BA is not so much beaches, but enough to ensure that even in the midst of the season to feel comfortable here, and in the low tourist season, the beach is generally almost empty. All four developed and equipped beach, called quite simply: Cat Co1, Cat Cat of Co2 and Co3, as well as Catba Emerald Beach. They are all sandy and are in a cozy, protected from waves and wind coils. Perimeter cat BA island there are many secluded beaches, but they are not very suitable for swimming. But on the nearby Islands you can find many secluded beaches. To get to them along with a fun (but then they are not intimate), to get on a private boat or even take a kayak. Read more about the beaches on Cat BA here...
A touristic centre of the island is cat BA town. It is a small city that is easily explored on foot, and where all the tourist infrastructure: hotels, shops, cafes, restaurants, travel agencies, banks, car transport. Within walking distance to the Mall and all four beaches. After a beach holiday and tours can be good fun in the night club Rose Club or one of the many bars with modern music, sing in a karaoke bar, dine at the floating restaurant, have a massage or Spa treatment. In General, the evening tourist life on cat BA is very not even bad, will not be bored.
Weather forecast for cat BA island tourist seasons
It is considered that the resorts Vietnam tourist seasons form the rainy season and the dry season, but on cat BA island, all very different, and the low tourist season and the rainy season the rain is not the same.
High tourist season here is in summer months, from may to September. It is a time of holidays and vacations, all flock to cat BA island, including the locals. Book hotels at this time is better, prices on everything rise. But at the same time, high tourist season is the peak rainy season. The rains are frequent, the temperature averages about 30 degrees.
Low season in cat BA is during the winter months, from October to April. Tourists on the island is very small, the prices are dropping, and the hotels offer incredible discounts.
At this time, may be canceled some flights and ferry transfers to the island, but in General problems to get a working tourist infrastructure there, everything works as usual. Low season is also the dry season with low precipitation, but the tourists are not coming here because of the low temperature. In the evenings the temperature can drop up to 10 degrees, and average minimum January temperature of - 14. One more trouble with the weather at this time – constant cloud cover, however, does not prevent tanning.
The tourist seasons in cat BA island for months, when is the best time to go
*best time to visit;
appropriate time to visit;
not a recommended time to visit
Weather on the island of cat BA and the forecast for the near future:
How and what access
The skeleton of the cat BA island is located in the North of Vietnam in the waters of LAN ha Bay (Ha Lan), 140 km from Hanoi (cat BA island on the map of Vietnam). The main gate to popts on cat BA island is the city of Haiphong (Hai Phong), which is located nearby on the mainland. Rarely get here via Halong city.
In Hai Phong airport, railway station, several bus stations. At the airport in Haiphong are mainly domestic flights and few international destinations: Bangkok, Shenzhen, Seoul. Therefore, most from Russia and other countries of the tourists arrive here in Hanoi airportthat is cheaper.
On cat BA island accessible only by boat, because its own airport here, and the bridge from the mainland was not built yet. Most tourists come from Hanoi by bus or train with a transfer to the ferry, but you can also fly from other cities of Vietnam on the plane at the airport of Hai Phong then bus+ferry. Still it can be reached by ferry from Halong.
Whichever method you choose, it's best and cheaper to get, buying a comprehensive transfer or ready for a bus ticket to cat BA town. These tickets include shipping on all modes of transport (bus to the Marina, ferry, and again the bus to cat BA town) directly to the tourist center of the island. If you decide to go this path completely independently, you will have a lot to smash his head with the way to get from Hai Phong jetty (they are here, by the way, several), and then from the pier on cat BA island to the city. And given that public transport here is developed poorly, you will have to use a taxi that will be much more expensive ready-made tickets. Ready to buy tickets to cat BA island in Hanoi travel agencies and hotels, or online at 12go.asia.
Read more how to get to cat BA island here...
Transport, than to move on
Transport to cat BA island you will need only if you want to visit remote parts of the island and attractions. In the tourist center transportation is not mandatory, you can see everything on foot to reach any of the beaches. If you don't feel like walking, you can take a taxi, motorcycle taxi, or the local "bus" - large Golf carts that run from the center to the beaches for 10 000 dongs.
But the most popular means of transport among tourists is leased vehicles. To rent a motorcycle/a motorbike from 80 000 VND, simple bike 50 000, mountain bike 100 000 for mountain. For rental is generally not required to keep documents as collateral, just a copy or photo of your passport and specify the hotel where you stayed.
The only bus on the island, HQ of the Green Bus runs between the city centre and Gia Luan pier on the North. It can take you to the entrance of the national Park, hospital Cave, a cave Chung Chang. The fare is 25 000 dongs, very rarely goes at 08: 00, 11:00 and 15:00 from Gia Luan pier, and at 09:00, 12:30 and 14:00 from cat BA town.
The only regular ferry within the BA runs between the port of Ben Beo/Cai Beo in cat BA town (Ben Beo/Beo Cai on the map) and village of Viet Hai. The fare is 50 000, leaves the city at 11:00 and 16:15, from the village at 07:00 and 13:00.
Read more about transport in cat BA island here...
Sights and activities on cat BA island
Cat BA island can not be called a center of entertainment and attractions of Vietnam, but there are several natural attractions that attract tourists and, in General, lessons will last for a week or more.
The most important sights of cat BA island, which here tend to get tourists is a national Park of cat BA island, the bays of ha long and LAN ha. This is a mandatory place to visit, and although the Bay can be seen with a guided tour of Hanoi and Halong city, much nicer to combine a visit to these natural wonders with a beach holiday. In addition, you can see mangroves, several viewing platforms and caves, the old bridge on stilts and the temple. There are two historic sites: the cannon Fort and cave hospital.
But inspection of these attractions tourist pastime on the island is not restricted. In fact, tourist infrastructure for such a small town as cat BA town is very well developed, and you can find a lot of interesting excursions and activities: trekking and Hiking, mountain Biking, kayaking and even odrava around the LAN ha Bay, rock climbing. You can do all this by yourself, rent equipment, or accompanied by a guide tour.
Evening entertainment here is well developed. Open in the evenings several clubs with the most progressive music and pool parties, beer bars and karaoke beckoning visitors with discounts during happy hours (Happy hours), and even a complimentary glass of beer, are massage parlours, sauna, Jacuzzi, Spa procedures. When you get tired of partying, you can sit in silence at an outdoor cafe near the entrance to the fishing port where you pour fresh draught beer for only 7,000 VND (190.06 RUB, see all about the money of Vietnam) for a mug. Well, definitely at least once should go to dinner in one of the floating restaurants in the waters of cat BA town. All these tourist attractions are concentrated along a single street – promenade Mot Trang Tu.
Shopping at cat BA island
Opportunities for exciting shopping at cat BA there, here you can buy only what you need. Shopping centers and large supermarkets here, and the main shopping area in town is a local market on the street Duong¼. This is a typical Vietnamese market, which sells everything from fresh fish to simple electronics, and there are Souvenirs. But prices to tourists are called in the times higher real need to bargain. The market is open from early morning until dark, and then the trade moves to a small night market on the main street along the waterfront. You can buy simple Souvenirs like magnets and plates, t-shirts, but no more. You can also buy the necessary things in the many shops along the streets of cat BA town. There are also two supermarkets with fixed prices and price tags. To find all the shops and markets very easily because of cat BA town is very compact to walk around the whole town and in one day.
Food and drinks on the beach, where and what to eat
In the center of cat BA town, a lot of cafes, restaurants, bars. Most of the travel cafe is located on the main tourist street along the waterfront, but if you move away or go to the lanes, where you can find a cafe easier, and lower prices.
By and large represented the local cuisine, but you can find European cuisine, Indian, Thai. Special of the only restaurants with European cuisine here, we have not noticed. Presents a lot of fresh seafood restaurants, but don't expect the ultra low price marine menu. For example, one dish of fish in an inexpensive restaurant will cost 120 000 VND, and this is likely to be unfrozen product. If you want to eat fresh fish, try shrimp, crab, oysters and other "marine reptiles", you need to prepare from 200 000 to 1 000 000 per dish. If you do not "bother" about the seafood, a simple chicken rice is here as well as on the mainland – from 50 000 VND per serving.
One of the "chips" of the island are floating restaurants in the area of the city. There wishing to have dinner delivered for free on the boats, and the menu can be viewed in advance on the shore. Prices in such places are a bit higher quality and the taste of the food they really do not Shine, but the atmosphere is very romantic, so at least once is to have dinner there.
Drinks on the beach, including alcohol, are just as on the mainland, except in high season slightly more expensive: a can of beer from 10,000 Dong, water 1.5 l is 10,000, softdrink from 8 000. Margin in a cafe on alcohol is not very big, moreover, there are the so-called coupon happy hours (Happy hours). For example, from 19:00 to 21:00 at the bar in Lohi, you can get a pint of beer all for free, and Oasis Bar 2 from 28:00 to 22:00 and serves local beer Hai Phong for 10 000. You can find local fresh draught beer. The cheapest we found in the street cafes at the entrance to the fishing pier: 7,000 VND per mug 0.5 l
Useful tips on cat BA island
- Excursions in Halong Bay and LAN ha. If you are not interested in a beach holiday in cat BA island, and you only want to visit the Bay, it is not necessary for this to go to the island. Much easier and cheaper to buy a tour-cruise from Hanoi or ha long without a visit to cat BA island.
- Cheap cruise. Tours & cruises in LAN ha Bay is cheaper just to buy directly at the pier Ben Beo/Beo Cai.
- Buying tours. Travel agencies and hotels offer tours at different prices with different markup, but in fact all of them are the same operators on the same program. So it makes sense to look for the same description of the tours and to buy where it is cheaper.
- ATMs and money exchange. You can exchange money at exchange offices, banks or hotels. The course here is the same as on the mainland and including at banks in Hanoi, but a bit lower than in the "jewelry" of Hanoi. In hotels of course offer lower, but you can bargain. Card payment possible in major hotels, restaurants, but cash is in Vogue anymore. There are several ATMs, the nearest to the center is on the waterfront.
- Toilets. On the promenade there are free toilets.