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Cat Ba Island & Lan Ha Bay

Cat Ba Island is the largest island in Halong Bay and is home to plenty of hotels, restaurants, and bars. Just about every tour company in Hanoi offers daily trips to the island, attracting travellers looking to enjoy a day of sightseeing during their holiday. Located off the coast of Hai Phong City, its beaches (named Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 2) are great for sunbathing and swimming during the summer months. If you’re not a fan of crowds on the beach, you can charter a speedboat or rent a kayak to Monkey Island and Lan Ha Bay, where the beaches are cleaner and quieter.

Best Time to Go The best time to go to Cat Ba Island is during the summer, between April and November. It’s also peak tourist season in Halong Bay, with numerous boat tours stopping on the island. The beaches can be very crowded with fellow tourists so we recommend heading there early to find a good spot. Make sure to book well in advance as hotels are also pricier this time of the year. For better deals, visit from September to November as crowds are significantly smaller as the climate on Cat Ba Island transitions into monsoon season.

Cat Ba Island Attractions Cat Ba Island’s expansive beaches are relatively clean despite the growing numbers of resorts, hotels, restaurants, and tourist facilities. Swimming, snorkelling, and diving are the most popular things to do on the island. Travellers can also enjoy a day of trekking, caving, and rock-climbing on Cat Ba Island, specifically at the Cat Ba National Park. There are also an old fort on a hilltop, which houses several bunkers and rooms filled with war remains and propaganda posters.

Lan Ha Bay

Lying south and east of Cat Ba Town, the 300 or so karst islands and limestone outcrops of Lan Ha are just as beautiful as those of Halong Bay and have the additional attraction of numerous white-sand beaches. Due to it being a fair way from Halong City, not so many tourist boats venture here, meaning Lan Ha Bay has a more isolated appeal. Sailing and kayak trips here are best organised in Cat Ba Town.

Geologically, Lan Ha is an extension of Halong Bay but sits in a different province of Vietnam. Around 200 species of fish, 500 species of mollusc, 400 species of arthropod, and numerous hard and soft coral live in the waters here, while larger marine animals in the area include seals and three species of dolphin.

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