Cat Ba Island, Vietnam
Cat Ba Island, Vietnam
We arranged out transport to Cat Ba Island through Central Backpackers Hostel in Hanoi. It cost $15USD for a bus to Dam Lang, where we caught the boat to Cat Ba, then another bus from the boat to the main town. The ticket was an all inclusive bus-boat-bus ticket.
Our accommodation was right on the main strip and as it was pretty empty so the hotel gave us both a free upgrade to sea view rooms. Each bedroom also had two double beds in it!
We hired scooters from a place just next to our hotel for $4USD and filled up at a petrol station just over the bridge. A full tank cost 50,000dong.
First, we headed to the Cannon Fort which was located just a few minutes from our hotel but had a very steep hill, we almost had to jump off the scooters as they weren’t very powerful. Entry was 40,000dong per person and it was free to park at the top.
The Cannon Fort had great views over Cat Ba but it was a little bit eerie as you can walk through the tunnels and old offices which were once used in the Vietnam war. There is also an old artillery gun with life size model soldiers amongst the passageways.
After the Fort, we drove towards the National Park. We stopped at the Hospital Cave and parked at the cafe opposite the entrance. You pay for a ticket here which costs 40,000dong pp. and head across the road and up the steep steps. The cave was used as a hospital in the Vietnam war and was situated here to be protected from the bombings. There is a man who checks your ticket and asks if you want a guide. It doesn’t take long and is worth it, as if you went alone it would just look like a load of empty rooms.
The cave didn’t very long and we were soon cruising along to our next destination. Luke had heard about a good viewpoint in the National Park in Trung Trang and it would take a bit of hike up to it. We paid 40,000dong pp for entrance to the park and lookout and 5,000dong for parking. There are many different routes and hiking trails you can take but we opted for the mountain viewpoint.
It took an hour to hike up to the viewpoint and at times it was really steep. Luke’s flip flop broke almost as soon as we started walking but I managed to twist some wire around the bottom to hold it together for a while! This was quite hilarious for all of us.
Once you reach the top there is a kind of shelter. Behind the shelter there is another little path which goes even higher to the next part. You have to scramble over rocks and physically climb some parts but its definitely worth it. The view is AMAZING.
(View above from the first shelter)
The next day, we walked to another part of the island where we found a highly recommended tour company. We wanted to do a boat trip around Halong Bay and had found Blue Swimmers office online. We had spoken to a few others in town and there was also a popular hostel where people booked a boat trip but we didn’t want a packed boat.
After we had found the office and booked our boat tour for the next day, we headed on to Cat Co 1 Beach and Cat Co 2 Beach. These were perfect little beaches located just around the corner from the main strip. A little bit of paradise on a hot day. We caught a golf buggy from here back to town and it cost us 10,000dong pp…it was worth it!
The next day, we were picked up early by taxi and taken round to the office ready for our boat trip. The boats actually departed from here and there was a little harbour area that was under development. I can imagine in few years this will be a booming little tourist harbour.
We were excited about our day and it turned out there were only us four on the trip! We were feeling a bit smug as we saw other boats the same size as ours with hoards of people getting on.
Mr Pineapple– (under our hotel) good value and decent food- free wifi
Like Coffee– delicious egg coffee and breakfast- free wifi
Phung Nhung– top rated on TripAdvisor, delicious Vietnamese food, we ate here twice! free wifi
Full Moon Hostel Restaurant– staff were nice but food was NOT good- free wifi
- Bus-boat-bus to Cat Ba Island- $15USD
- Entrance to Cannon Fort 40,000dong pp. parking free
- Entrance to Hospital Cave 40,000dong pp. parking at cafe free but they want you to drink here
- Entrance to National Park at Trung Trang, depends what route, we paid 40,000dong pp. and 5,000dong for parking
- Scooter hire $4USD per day.
- Golf buggy back from Cat Co Beaches 10,000dong pp.