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“Difficult to get to, but totally worth it!”
Review of Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island
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Lan Ha Bay and Viet Hai Village Trekking and Kayaking Day Trip from Cat Ba...
Ranked #2 of 30 things to do in Cat Ba
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nashville, tn
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Difficult to get to, but totally worth it!”
Reviewed October 5, 2013

The travel to Cat Ba Island was a little painful for our group of 4 adults and 3 kids....however, if you can suck it up, the trip to the Island is well worth it IF you are going to do a tour of the bay! It's one of those once in a lifetime opportunities!

You can find very detailed instructions on travel to Cat Ba at this link http://www.junkcatba.com/2012/01/how-to-get-in-cheapest-way-from-hanoi.html.

However, those instructions don't include the fact that the bus literally stops the entire trip. It mentions that it may stop to let a few people on/off, but the reason the trip takes 2.5 hours is because it stops SO much. Also be prepared for the honking! The bus from/to Hanoi is the worst part. Once you get off of that long one it gets much easier. The shortest bus ride from where you get off of the boat to go to the middle of the island is very bumpy and curvy because it follows the mountain roads along the coast, but it's only about 30 min.

Once you get to Cat Ba, it didn't seem like there was too much to do in town. There are several restaurants and bars on the main strip, but we are not bar people, so it wasn't much for us. The motor bike taxi drivers will surround you if you look lost or like you don't know where you want to go. The souvenir merchants were a little pushy for my taste. I did buy a pearl necklace from a lady and then was offered the same thing for $10 less later that night by a different person. I do think they were actually real pearls...there is a pearl farm on the bay...so i still got a great deal on them, but it was frustrating to know I could have gotten them for less. *Make sure to ask what currency they are quoting to you.*

However, we booked we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Cat Ba Island Resort and Spa. We also took a kayaking tour with Asia Outdoors and our trip would not have been the same without that.

Overall, Cat Ba is a place you need to visit at least once in your life if you are going to get out on the water, but it probably wouldn't be a repeat family vacation location for me.

Also, we visited in October and the crowds were very sparse. I heard that in the summer it's packed though.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank randarob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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817 reviews from our community

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  • Chinese (Traditional) first
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
193 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Loved It”
Reviewed October 4, 2013

After the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, this was a nice getaway. We took one of the 3 day, 2 night sail boat tours but once on the island we extended our stay another 3 nights. It was really relaxing and there is some awesome views from around the island, especially Cat BA national park and Cannon Fort.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank LJ_Can
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Hilariously entertaining, challenging & fun, professionally ran adventures!”
Reviewed September 22, 2013

I met two very cool Cat Ba Island guides whilst on a super pricy Halong bay tour through the hanoi backpackers and was sadly disappointed with the lack of adventure advertised. I asked the two guides who were visiting for the morning where we should go to try and explore the area more. They organised a private boat to pick us up and we went straight to cat ba island. Me and my friend went straight into their office and asked if they could help us plan some trips, accom and enlighten us with free information. They did so and our planned 3 day trip ended up being 10. They were professional yet extremely relaxed staff that made me feel safe climbing and exploring though the beautiful halong bay. I would highly recommend this company and can only say my special thanks. They went beyond what was expected and has been my favorite trip in the last several years. Dinners in locals homes, floating restaurants, moto trips, discounted accommodation and week packages full of amazing cliffs, islands and climbing spots well worth the very affordable rates!! Come with an open mind to a package of whatevers going on that week on the island and explore! Visit these guys!!

Visited October 2012
1 Thank freebird90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Adventures a'plenty”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

This trip was sensational. For only $20 you get to experience life off the main island, sailing through the floating villages. The trip included kayaking, snorkelling, a trip to the caves and the most delicious food I had tasted on Cat Ba; this was served on board and included a huge variety of seafood with tuna steaks and calamari. A MUST.

Visited September 2013
Thank Alex M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Makati, Philippines
Level Contributor
33 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2013

It was my first time to see that nice sceneries, I'm from the Philippines and not usual for me to see white beaches, but Cat Ba Island fascinates me. I was happy staying 3 nights, we had our 1 day tour for 45$ for 2 but there are other agency will offer 20$/pax. It's up to you to choose. The lunch on a boat was amazing and delicious. We swam in the beach and it was amazing.
It was a wonderful experience ever.

Visited September 2013
Thank Felicity N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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