Exploring Cat Ba Island in 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Hello adventurers! I’m Luffy Hoang Nguyen, your local guide from Catba Local. If you’re planning a trip to Cat Ba Island in 2024, you’re in for a treat. This comprehensive guide will help you prepare for an unforgettable experience on this stunning island. From how to get here, what to pack, current updates on attractions, and the best times to visit, I’ve got you covered.

Getting to Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island, located in the northern part of Vietnam, is accessible through several routes:

  1. From Hanoi: The most common way to get to Cat Ba Island is by bus and ferry from Hanoi. Companies like Good Morning Cat Ba offers direct bus services that include the ferry crossing (generally changing the bus and going through by speedboat so that you do not have to wait for the ferry), and on the bus will be a “bus guide” with you making the journey hassle-free.
  2. From Hai Phong: You can take a high-speed boat from Hai Phong City’s Binh Port or Got Pier to Cat Ba Island. This option is quicker and offers a scenic route through the waters of Lan Ha Bay.
  3. From Halong Bay: If you’re exploring Halong Bay, you can take a ferry or a speedboat from Tuan Chau Island to Gia Luan Pier on Cat Ba Island.

What to Pack for Your Cat Ba Adventure

To make the most of your trip to Cat Ba, here’s a list of essentials to pack:

  1. Sunscreen and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the strong tropical sun, Vietnam locate quite close to the equator so even during a cloudy day, the amount of UV reaching your skin could still exceed a sunny day in the west.
  2. Hat and Lightweight Clothing: To stay cool and comfortable during the day.
  3. Swimwear and Beach Towel: For swimming and lounging on the beaches.
  4. Goggles: Even though the waters are rich with algae, which isn’t ideal for scuba diving, they support the magical bioluminescent plankton. With goggles, you can dive in and experience a fairy-tale ocean in the middle of Lan Ha Bay.
  5. Insect Repellent: Especially useful for the evenings when mosquitoes are more active.
  6. Comfortable Walking Shoes: For hiking in the national park and exploring the island.Premium Vector | Cartoon summer beach stuff vector illustration Summertime  items Vacation accessory for sea holidays

Current Updates on Attractions

Cannon Fort: Historically, Cannon Fort offered stunning panoramic views of the island and the bay. However, as of 2024, it remains closed due to preservation efforts and safety concerns. The closure is aimed at restoring the fort and its surroundings, ensuring it remains a historical landmark for future generations.

Monkey Island: Also known as Cat Dua Island, Monkey Island is currently closed to the public. The closure is part of an environmental conservation effort to protect the island’s ecosystem and its resident monkeys. Flamingo Resort is developing sustainable tourism plans for the island, aiming to reopen it with a focus on eco-friendly practices.

Alternative Experiences

With some attractions closed, there are still plenty of exciting activities to enjoy on Cat Ba Island.

Plankton Tour: One of the most unique experiences offered by Catba Local is the night tour to see the glowing plankton. This magical phenomenon occurs when bioluminescent plankton light up the water, creating a surreal glow. Our local guides will take you to the best spots to witness this natural light show.

Deep Water Solo and Rock Climbing: For the adventure seekers, Langur’s Adventure offers thrilling deep water solo and rock climbing experiences. Cat Ba’s limestone cliffs provide perfect conditions for these activities, offering challenges for both beginners and experienced climbers.

Best Time to Visit Cat Ba Island

Summer (June to August): Summer is peak tourist season, especially with Vietnamese tourists flocking to the island. While this means higher accommodation prices and crowded transportation, it also offers unique experiences like watching fireflies at night and swimming with non-stinging jellyfish. The weather is hot, but the blue skies and lively atmosphere make it worth it.

Fall (September to December): This is one of the best times to visit Cat Ba Island. The weather is cooler, and the skies are still clear and blue. It’s less crowded compared to summer, making it perfect for those who prefer a more relaxed visit. The fall season is ideal for exploring the national park and enjoying outdoor activities.

Winter (January to March): Winter is chillier, but it’s also a great time to experience the island’s cultural side. The Lunar New Year (Tet) brings traditional festivals and celebrations, offering a glimpse into Vietnamese culture. The island is less crowded, and the weather is still pleasant for exploring and sightseeing.

Highlights of Cat Ba Island

Viet Hai Village: This remote village is nestled in the heart of Cat Ba National Park. Accessible by boat or a hike through the park, Viet Hai offers a glimpse into traditional Vietnamese village life. The villagers are welcoming, and you can experience their way of life, from farming to fishing.

Cat Ba National Park: Spanning over 150 square kilometers, the national park is a haven for nature lovers. It’s home to diverse flora and fauna, including the endangered Cat Ba langur. The park offers numerous hiking trails, leading to viewpoints with stunning vistas of the island and the bay

Lan Ha Bay: Often overshadowed by its famous neighbor, Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is equally beautiful but less crowded. The bay is dotted with limestone karsts and islands, offering numerous opportunities for kayaking, swimming, and exploring hidden lagoons and caves.

Aerial view of Floating fishing village in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Near Ha Long bay

Tips for a Great Visit

  1. Book in Advance: Especially during peak seasons, it’s wise to book your accommodation and tours in advance to secure the best options.
  2. Respect Local Customs: Cat Ba is home to traditional fishing communities. Be respectful of their customs and way of life.
  3. Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate can be dehydrating. Carry water with you, especially during outdoor activities.
  4. Get a Local Guide: To get the most out of your visit, consider for a tour that provides you a local guide. They can provide insights into the island’s history, culture, and natural wonders.

Weather and Off-Season Insights

Summer Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: Unique firefly sightings at night, clear blue skies, warm weather perfect for swimming, and the presence of beautiful, non-stinging jellyfish.
  • Cons: Hot temperatures, crowded with Vietnamese tourists, higher accommodation prices, and overwhelmed transportation systems.

Winter Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: Cooler temperatures, less crowded, vibrant cultural festivals, and clear blue skies from September to December.
  • Cons: Chilly weather in January to March, fewer water activities.

Visiting during the off-season (March to May) can also be a great choice, as you’ll experience mild weather, fewer tourists, and more affordable accommodations.

Discovering Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay is the crown jewel of Cat Ba Island. It offers a serene alternative to the bustling Halong Bay, with its own unique charm and natural beauty. Here are some highlights:

Kayaking: Exploring Lan Ha Bay by kayak is a must-do activity. Paddle through tranquil waters, navigate through limestone arches, and discover hidden beaches and lagoons.

Swimming and Snorkeling: The bay’s clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. While the waters are rich with algae, they also support vibrant marine life. Snorkeling in the bay is not ideal during the day but at night there will be the magical glowing plankton, for this you should consider going on a tour that will bring you to the heart of the Lan Ha bay in the evening so that it will provide you the best chance to emerge into the glowing plankton


Boat Tours: Join a boat tour to explore the bay’s many islands and karsts. These tours often include stops at secluded beaches, caves, and floating fishing villages.

A Final Note

Cat Ba Island is a gem in the north of Vietnam, offering a mix of adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re kayaking through the serene waters of Lan Ha Bay, hiking in the national park, or simply relaxing on a beach, there’s something here for everyone.

As your local guide, I’m here to ensure you have an unforgettable experience. See you soon on the beautiful Cat Ba Island!

Book your tour now and embark on an adventure that blends natural wonder with local culture. Visit our website at catbalocal.com for more details and to reserve your spot. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Quick booking process

Talk to an expert

(+84) 325 979 229


Ready to adventure and enjoy natural

Team members

Meet Our Team


What our travelers say about us

[trustindex no-registration=tripadvisor]
Our Partners

Most frequent asked questions

By choosing Cat Ba Local, you are not just booking a tour; you are investing in an authentic, hassle-free, and enriching travel experience led by locals who are passionate about sharing the beauty and culture of their homeland. Here are the key reasons:

1. Authentic experience
Our tour guides possess a unique understanding of indigenous cultures and the local history. Their deep knowledge and passion for the region ensure that you get an authentic and immersive experience. By booking with Cat Ba Local, you gain access to hidden gems and local secrets that typical tours might miss. Our guides are locals themselves, offering the warm of a family and and sincerity that make you feel at home while discover new perspectives of life.

2. A seamless experience
We keep our high standard for all of your touchpoints. We partner with the best service possible for any need of yours, from transportation, accommodations , and best restaurant for all destinaions. This guarantees a reliable and seamless experience for you.

3. Convenience and Time Saving
We handle all the arrangements, from flights and hotels to transfers and activities. This saves you significant time and effort, allowing you to relax and enjoy your vacation without the stress of planning. With everything pre-arranged, you can avoid the hassle of contacting multiple service providers. Our streamlined process ensures a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.

4. Socialize Opportunities
Our tours are designed to foster social interaction, allowing you to meet and connect with people who share your interests. Whether you prefer family-friendly tours or adult-only experiences, we have options that cater to your social preferences.

5. Best Price Guarantees
By having an excellent logistic chain, we deliver you the best experience in a price that
We offer competitive pricing due to our ability to bulk buy package deals, passing the savings onto you. This allows you to enjoy a cost-effective travel experience without compromising on quality. Our packages often include all meals and trips, reducing uncertainty about additional costs. This helps you budget accurately for your trip, avoiding any unexpected expenses.

Travel with Local Experts” it is about the authentic local experience that make us different.

Our tour guides are natives with an intimate knowledge of the local culture, history, and landscapes. This local insight ensures that you experience the true essence of Cat Ba, beyond the typical tourist spots.
They also share unique perspectives; personal stories and cultural nuances that you won’t find in guidebooks, offering a deeper understanding of the region. One more thing, you will have a playful local friend after the trip.

Yes, we always trike towards to give you the best possible exprience contact us to design your vacation together for free

Yes, our tours are designed to be suitable for both children and older adults. We have several special offers for children as follows:
– Infants (under 2 years old): Free
– Kids (From 2 to 4 years old): just must to pay 25% tour value
– Child (From 5 to 9 years old): just must to pay 50% tour value
– Teenagers (From 10 to 13 years old): just must to pay 75% tour value

We are ready to provide special diets that suit your needs if you inform us when booking your tour. Most of our meals include seafood and local cuisine, so if you are vegetarian or have any allergies, please let us know in advance. This way, we can ensure your dietary requirements are met throughout your journey.

You have 2 options to pay: Online & Offline
For your convenience, we offer multiple payment options. You can pay in cash or by credit card (with a 3% service charge). Alternatively, you can use applications like PayPal or WISE, and we will cover the service fees for these apps – less fees transfer.
Please let us know your preferred payment method. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out.

In the event of weather-related issues, such as storms or heavy rain preventing boats from setting sail, we have the following policies:

– If the tour needs to be rescheduled due to adverse weather conditions and you’re still on Cat Ba Island during the rescheduled period, we will postpone the tour to the following day. If you’re no longer on Cat Ba Island during the rescheduled period, we will provide a full refund of the tour cost if you’ve already made payment.

– In the case of unexpected events originating from guests: If you cancel before 7 days prior to the tour, you are eligible for a refund. If you cancel 5 days before the tour, we will refund 80% of the deposit; if you cancel within 3 days, a 50% refund will be provided. Cancellations made after this period will result in forfeiture of the deposit.

In other special cases, our customer service department will provide individualized support to guests.

No, accommodations are not included in the experiential tours. However, our sales staff will assist you in booking accommodations if you provide them with clear descriptions of your room preferences, budget, and other requirements. Additionally, you will receive a discount voucher for accommodations when booking our experiential tours.

No, international flights are not part of the experiential tour package. However, our sales team will aid you in arranging international flights upon receiving clear descriptions from you.