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Dragon-back mountain ranges mass on the horizon 20km out of Haiphong as you approach Cat Ba Island. The island, the largest member of an archipelago sitting on the west of Halong Bay, boats only one settlement of any size – CatBa Town, a fishing village now redefining itself as a tourist centre. The rest of the island is largely unspoilt and mostly  inaccessible, with just a handful of paved roads across a landscape of enclosed valleys and shaggily forested limestone peacks, occasionally descending to lush coastal plains. In 1986 almost half the island and adjacent waters  were declared a national park in an effort to protect its diverse ecosystems, which range from offshore coral reefs and coastal mangrove swamps to tropical evergreen forest. Its value was further recognized in 2004, when the Cat Ba Archipelago was approved as an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. One of the most rewarding ways to explore the area is by boat from Cat Ba Town, passing through the labyrinth of Lan Ha Bay, a miniature version of neighboring Halong Bay but one which receives fewer visitors. There are floating village and oyster farms in the area, which can be included in tour itineraries. Other options are kayaking, rock-climbing and visits to isolated beaches where the water is noticeably cleaner than elsewhere in the bay. Be warned, thought: Cat Ba is by no means undiscovered and during the local summer holiday hotels and beaches in the area can be swamped.

Archeological evidence shows that humans inhabited Cat Ba’s many limestone caves at least six thousand years ago. Centuries later these sam caves provided the perfect wartime hideaway- the military presence on Cat Ba has always been strong, for obvious strategic reasons. When trouble with China flared up in 1979, hundreds of ethnic Chinese islanders felt compelled to flee and the exodus continued into the next decade as”boat people” sailed off in search of a better life, depleting the island’s population to fewer than fifteen thousand. Now that prosperity has come in the from of tourism, the population is growing rapidly.

What to Do ?
Highlights of visits at Cat Ba are boat trips to outlying islands and enjoy deserted beach set in turquoise-blue sea water, swimming at nice beaches within walking distance from the town and hiking at Cat Ba National Park or visiting Hospital Cave.

When to go ?
The best weather to visit Cat Ba is from late September until November, when the air and temperature is mild and skies are mostly clear. December to February is cooler but still pleasant. The period from March to April, rain is common while from June through August, it is hot and humid.

Travel Tips
Normally, tours to Cat Ba Island are combined with HaLong Bay. Halong Bay with different scale of prices. Frequent questions to ask before making a booking are the group size on boat and on car, cabin type (with or without A/C), hotel levels in Cat Ba, included and excluded services in the package so that you know what to expect in advance. During summer vacation (from April to September), early bookings are recommended as it is very difficult to find an accommodation in Cat Ba.
Hotels Restaurants Places to visit

1. Cat Ba Sunrise Resort

Add: Cat Co III beach, Cat Ba island,

Tel: (84-313) 887 360

1. Dolphin Restaurant
Address:  Nui Ngoc, Cat Ba Town
Tel: +84 31 888 804

Catba National Park

Catba Fish Market

2. Holiday View

Add:1/4Catba Island,Haiphong

Tel: (84-04)2811264

2. Green Mango Restaurant
Address: 1-4, Cat Ba Town

Tel: +84 31 887 151

Catco Beach

Hospital Cave

3. Prince Catba hotel

Add: Nui Ngoc road, Cat Ba Town

Tel:(84-313) 888892 - 888899

3. Hoang Y Restaurant
Add: 1-4, Cat Ba Town

Huu Dung Restaurant

Add: Duong Nui Ngoc

4. CatBa Island Resort&Spa

Add: Catco 1 beach, Catba island,

Tel: (84-313)688 686

4. Xuan Hong restaurat

Tel: +84 31 888 485

5. Ocean Beach Resort

Add:Cat Ong Island, Catba Town

Tel:84-4 9260463

6. Sun & Sea Hotel

Add:Zone IV Cat Ba - Hai Phong

Tel:(84-313) 888315

7. Princes Hotel

Add:Catba Island, Hai Phong City,

Tel:84-31 888899

8. Van Anh Hotel

Add:Zone IV Cat Ba - Hai Phong

Tel:(84-313) 888 201

9. Sunflower Hotel

Add:Zone IV Cat Ba - Hai Phong

Tel: (84-313) 888429 - 888890

10.Noble House

Add: Cat Ba - Hai Phong

Tel: (84-313) 888 363


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