Cat Ba island
Cat Ba Island ©
For most, a trip in Halong Bay means at least a night on Cat Ba
Island. Many enlist for a package tour of one night on the island
and one on a boat, but Cat Ba is worth extra time to discover. This
54 sq mile (140 sq km) island houses equally impressive beach
relaxation and hardcore outdoor activities including kayaking,
trekking, and world class rock climbing. For those wishing to
relax, three beaches, within walking distance of town, are spacious
and each are protected inlets with views of Halong islands. Beaches
one and three are the most secluded and their short walk along
cliff lines provide beautiful views.
For those looking for something more rugged, the many limestone cliffs dotting the island make dream rock climbing. Hotels located on the town's main strip offer guides and gear. Various treks range in length but most are fairly steep and a give bird's-eye-view of the island's national park which is also home to the rare Cat Ba Langur. All hotels can arrange excellent boat tours of the surrounding islands which include visits to deep caves with stalagmites and stalactites, secluded swimming holes, floating fish farms and kayaking. The tour is the same no-matter whom it's booked through so the cheaper the better. For relaxers or adventurers alike the day must end at the bay's floating restaurant for the best seafood in Vietnam.