Cat Ba Archipelago (Hai Phong) consists of 367 small islands in which Cat Ba Island (also known as Pearl Island) is the most famous. Although it has been visited by tourists for a long time, Cat Ba still retains much of its natural beauty thanks to its isolation. With a fresh climate and an average temperature of only 25C, there are many beautiful beaches and primeval forests. It is perfect for travelers who love exploring nature with a touch of adventure
Cat Ba has Cat Co I, Cat Co II and Cat Co III Beaches, each of them relatively small with clean water. The beaches are connected by a small path along the mountainside. Cat Co I Beach is quite wide but often crowded, while Beaches II and III are narrower and more deserted. Swimming is not permitted after 18h30 to ensure safety because the tide can rise pretty quickly.
2. Snorkeling on the coral reef
Under the reef, there is a vast array of red coral with many different types of precious marine life and seafood such as abalone, pearl, dragon shrimp and colorful flocks of fish that are relatively rare outside of this area. As you dive down under the surface, you will be treated to display typically seen on television or The Discovery Channel. You can join this amazing experience with a Scuba diving instructor for a short 30-minute dive at Monkey Island Resort (Monkey Island). The price is about 50USD for Scuba diving and 30USD for snorkeling.
3. Sight-seeing with panoramic views of Cat Ba island from Cannon Fort
Cannon Fort (also known as high peak 177) is close to the three beaches, and here you can enjoy a panoramic view of Cat Ba island from above. Head out of Cat Ba Town to the entrance of the well-signposted Cannon Fort, just 15 minutes away, and take a leisurely 20- minutes stroll to the fort. In one direction are the green-clad limestone karsts stretching into the distance while the opposite side is dotted with colorful fishing boats, the beaches, and the town.
4. An evening walk
In the evening, the weather is very cool with a refreshing wind breezing in from the sea, making it ideal for an evening walk. You can also rent an electric car, motorbike or bicycle to explore the nightlife of Cat Ba Town. However, vehicles are banned on the weekend. Walking along the mountain roads linking the three main beaches is the perfect way to enjoy a romantic evening.
5. Lan Ha Bay
The bay also includes islands rising from the sea and many cave systems similar to Halong Bay. However, many travelers say that visiting Lan Ha Bay is more interesting because the scenery is more pristine and less busy than in Ha Long Bay. You can kayak to the fishing village and other beautiful bays scattered around.
6. Monkey Island
This is a mountainous island with two arched beaches: Cắt Dưa 1 and Cát Dứa 2. Cắt Dưa 1 beach is longer and has military camps. This is an ideal beach for travelers because the sea water is clear and blue. On the island, there are more than 20 monkeys that often go down the beach to interact with tourists and eat food such as bananas, apples, and tangerines.The animals are friendly and are perfect for the kids to see.
7. Rock Climbing
Climbers the world over who have had the chance to climb in Cat Ba confirm that it is a veritable paradise for rock climbing enthusiasts – packed with fun and adventure. Favorite locations include Dau Be Island (2 hours by boat from Cat Ba Tourist Port), Ben Beo Mountain Cliff (2 km from Cat Ba center), Ba Trai Dao Island.
8. Visiting Cat Ba National Park
A World Biosphere Reserve – Cat Ba National Park, with its abundant flora and fauna, is a must-see attraction on Cat Ba island. You can walk in the forest, bike the forest road and savor the sights and sounds of nature while encountering rare species such as red baboons and langurs. You can also try some local foods such as wild honey and rose tea.
9. Exploring the caves
Cat Ba has not only beautiful beaches and unique seafood but also famous caves such as Hoa Cuong Cave, Trung Trang Cave (Trung Trang Valley, 15 km from northwest of Cat Ba), and Hospital Cave with its towering stalactites.