We did the group boat trip for $31/person. Totally worth it -- would have paid more. We reserved a spot via email a few days before we arrived, but I think you can just show up the day before and still get a spot. You meet at their office at 8 am the day of departure and you're back around 5 pm. A short drive takes you to the pier, where you board a super nice boat and cruise through both Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay. We kayaked for 2 hours in and around karsts/caves, then ate a phenomenal lunch (some of the best food we've had in Vietnam!), cooked by the on-boat chef. Of particular note was an amazing squid dish sauteed with lemon, roasted tomatoes, and dill. Fabulous. We spent the rest of the afternoon just cruising around the bay, with one last swim or kayak or... nap, depending on your mood. Also worth note: The other customers were awesome. Cat Ba seems to attract an intelligent, interesting set of folks. Expect a great day.
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