Cat Ba is one of the largest and most beautiful islands in the World Natural Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay. Cat Ba Island is blessed with pristine beauty like limestone mountains, lush mangrove forests, and untouched sandy beaches.

There are a lot of Cat Ba Island things to do swimming at Cat Co Beach, kayaking to explore the amazing caves, visiting Floating Village, trying the incredible locals, and more.

If you have difficulty in deciding or are short on time doing all the above things, below is a list of the 10 Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Cat Ba Island Vietnam in Southeast Asia that you should try at least once while visiting this wonderful island.

1. Try Cat Ba Kayaking

Kayaking is on the top list of things you shouldn’t miss on Cat Ba Island. The most popular Cat Ba kayaking destination is Lan Ha Bay, which features the jaw-dropping landscape of towering karst, beautiful caves, and islets throughout the clear calm emerald waters lined with untouched white sandy beaches.

Kayaking is the best way to discover the beauty of Lan Ha bay where you can explore rock arch, hidden lagoons, water caves, and floating fishing villages.

Lan Ha Bay is less crowded compared to Halong Bay making it the perfect spot to spend your day paddling around.

You can self-organize your kayak or book a half-or full-day kayaking tour on Cat Ba Island. However, you are recommended to take a Cat Ba Island cruise which includes kayaking in its itinerary. There are different options for taking a Lan Ha Bay cruise.

You can choose to spend an overnights cruise to get the chance to enjoy the incredible sunrises and sunsets at Lan Ha Bay. Or you can just opt for a day trip Lan Ha Bay Cruise.

Some cruise tours will offer to take you to remote spots and make sure you experience its tranquility away from the crowds of other tourist boats. You can spend time lounging on the deck and having a quiet and peaceful time.

Suggestion: The Ultimate Guide to Jeju Island in South Korea

2. Rock Climbing

If you are real explorers who dedicate to exploring the areas in a different way, Cat Ba Island is surely a perfect choice. Cat Ba Island is one of the best sites for rock climbing.

Thousands of limestone karsts hanging over turquoise waters are just the dream of rock climbers, beginners, and professionals rock climbers.

This island is a spectacular place where you can do both sport climb and deep water solo. Some tours offer a vast range of tours suited to beginners through to experienced rock climbers.

The most beautiful cliffs on Cat Ba Island such as Dau Be, Van Boi Island, Fish Cave, Tien Ong Island.

3. Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park is at the heart of the UNESCO Cat Ba Archipelago Biosphere Reserve and is home to thousands of species including plants, unique animals, birds, and more.

It is one of the most famous tourist attractions on Cat Ba Island for both domestic and foreign visitors.

The national park is blessed with amazing vast landscapes, seascapes, and a variety of stunning marine ecosystems, it is definitely a paradise for those who love to explore nature and hiking.

It is highly recommended to take a short hike to the top of Ngu Lam Mountain for a panoramic island view.

The Cat Ba National Park consists of many unique ecosystems including a mangrove ecosystem, a tropical rainforest ecosystem on limestone hills, and a marine ecosystem with coral reefs.

One other unique feature about the Cat Ba National Park is that it is home to the Cat Ba Langur or the white-headed langur, which is known to be a critically endangered primate and one of the rarest as well.

4. Go Swimming and Sunbath at Cat Co Beaches

There are three gorgeous golden sand clear, turquoise color sea water beaches on Cat Ba Island which are named Cat Co 1, 2, and 3 which are located quite near the central town. Cat Co 1 Beach is the largest beach of all that is surrounded by cliffs.

You will see tourists relaxing and sunbath by the beach. Cat Co 2 is the most beautiful beach that is blessed with pristine white sand beach with turquoise blue waters and stunning limestone cliffs.

Cat Co 1 and 2 are also beaches where you can witness a magical natural phenomenon bioluminescent plankton.

Cat Co beach 3 is a quite beautiful building and modern tourist services here quite perfect from the beach, relax, eat and drink. These 3 main beaches offer plenty of local food and drinks as well as beachside activities.

5. Explore Hospital Cave and Trung Trang Cave

If you are interested in Vietnamese history, you should visit the Hospital Cave (Quan Y Cave) which is an underground bomb-proof hospital.

The cave served as a place for treating wounded soldiers, shelter, and a hideout for Viet Cong leaders during the American War from 1963 to 1965.

The cave is located about 10km from Cat Ba Town near the entrance to the national park. This incredibly well-constructed three-story cave hospital was abandoned after 1975 but its historical value remains. The cave hospital has become one of the popular tourist attractions on Cat Ba Island.

Highly recommended to hire a tour guide as it will help you to know the know deeper history of Hospital Cave and you can grab some local food at the onsite restaurant.

Trung Trang cave is known as one of the typical and largest caves in the cave complex in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve. The cave is located about 1km from the center of Cat Ba National Park and 15km to Cat Ba town. Trung Trang cave not only attracts thousands of foreign tourists but also domestic tourists each year.

Trung Trang Cave is one of the most interesting with limited and sensitive lighting designed to enhance rather than detract from the natural characteristics of the formations.

Locals remark on the cave’s spectacular stalactites, which have earned the natural wonder the name “golden treasure” or “princess’s treasure”. If you visit Cat Ba Island you should not miss visiting this breathtaking cave.

6. Visit Viet Hai Village in Cat Ba Island

Viet Hai village is a hidden paradise that you must not miss when visiting Cat Ba Island. The village is covered by high mountains, in the midst of jungles, and a vast ocean.

The village is located in the heart of Cat Ba National Park, which belongs to the Cat Hai district of Hai Phong city.

To visit the village, you can either trek through the forest through Cat Ba National Park or book a boat from Cat Ba to Viet Hai Harbor to enter the village.

The beauty and unique experience you will get from visiting the village is definitely worth it even though entering this hidden paradise will cost you lots of effort.

You will find there are around 80 houses that are made of bamboo, wood, leaves, and mud. The villagers make a living by fishing, farming, and breeding. You will feel the tranquil and peaceful atmosphere and forget the busy city life.

7. Visiting Cai Beo Fishing Villages

Cai Beo fishing village is only about 2km from Cat Ba town, also 2 km to Monkey Island. On the way to Cat Ba Monkey Island, you can stop by to visit the Cai Beo fishing village.

Cai Beo fishing village is the largest and oldest floating village in Vietnam, which is well known for its beautiful scenery, friendly villagers, and wooden house rafts floating houses.

This village is blessed with poetic natural beauty, and when combined with the dynamic life of the fishing village, it brings a rare beauty.

Take this precious opportunity to witness the fishing and fish farming activities of Vietnam from experienced fishermen.

You can experience the exciting activities of hiring a boat and exploring the village also enjoy the local specialties made from fish, shrimp, geoduck that are raised by the people here.

Visiting a fishing village is a pretty good choice for those who enjoy a peaceful life and want to escape from the noisy urban life.

8. Monkey Island (Cat Dua Island)

Monkey Island is one of the tourist attractions shouldn’t miss on Cat Ba Island. The untouched nature and beautiful scenery on the island make it become a hot spot for nature lovers to explore when visiting Cat Ba Island.

The island was previously known as Cat Dua (Sandy-Pineapple) because there are many wild pineapple trees on the island, even the pineapple looks delicious but inedible. The local people use them to make traditional medicine.

Later the island was called Monkey Island because of the large number of monkeys inhabiting this island. Most of them were brought to the island by forest rangers.

The crystal clear blue water and soft sand make the Monkey Island beach the ideal place to swim or sunbathe while enjoying the sea breeze.

9. Cannon Fort

Visiting Cat Ba island, you should not miss a trip to the historical site which is located on the top of a hill with an elevation of 177m above sea level known as Cannon Fort. The Cannon Fort was founded by French colonists, it was completed by the Japanese who occupied the island during World War II.

The fort was used by the French, Japanese, and Viet Cong until about the end of the Vietnam War. At Cannon Fort where you can find tunnels, cannons, observatories, and other historical tools from the wars.

You get the opportunity to admire the beauty of the Cat Ba archipelago from many angles. The Cannon Fort on Cat Ba Island has long been a famous spot to enjoy the sunset with a view directly to the surrounding islands and Lan Ha Bay.

10. Local seafood, nightlife & Getting around

It will be a big mistake to not try local seafood in Cat Ba. Cat Ba Island offers the freshest and best quality seafood. If you are a seafood lover, Cat Ba is the best option.

The restaurants not only offer the best food but also a great seaside view. Geoduck clam (Tu Hai)is truly a specialty of Cat Ba Island that you should not miss. Geoducks are rich in flavors, and they are juicy and chewy at the same time.

When it comes to any local restaurants or eateries, make sure you try Horseshoe Crab, Lobster, Sea Serpent, Red Snapper, Cobia, and a shrimp noodle.

Although nightlife on Cat Ba Island is limited compared to other islands. However, you will definitely get to experience a relaxing yet memorable by enjoying drinks and live music at bistros.

You can rent a motorbike and explore the island. You stop by at the sidewalk stalls and restaurants to dig in a bowl of Hai Phong which is a local famous rice noodle soup with crab meat this would be a wonderful experience to do in Cat Ba town at night.

Located in Northern Vietnam in Southeast Asia, Cat Ba Island is the largest of the 365 islands spanning 100 square miles that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago. The island has a surface area of 110 square miles and maintains the dramatic and rugged features of Ha Long Bay.

Cat Ba Island means “Women’s Island”. According to the legend many centuries ago, three women of the Tran Dynasty got killed and their bodies floated to Cat Ba Island. Each body washed up on a different beach where the locals built a temple for each woman, and the island soon became known as Cat Ba.

Cat Ba Island has experienced a tourism surge in recent years. Along with its lovely bay, the central hub of Cat Ba Town is now framed by a chain of low-rise concrete hotels along its beaches, but the rest of the island is largely untouched. This is one of the reasons why the island is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Are you ready for the next island adventure in Vietnam? Here is the Cat Ba Island Travel Guide to help you plan.

The best time to visit Cat Ba Island

The hot summer season on the island is from June to August when you can enjoy most water sports. The milder weather starts from October until March. Cat Ba Island has four seasons, the rainy season is from May to September and the dry season is from November to March. Most travelers from different parts of the world suggest that the very best months to visit the island are March, April, September, and October.

Cat Ba Island Map

How to get to Cat Ba Island

From Hanoi

Take a bus from Hanoi highways going to Cat Ba Island (3-5 hours)

Common Bus Operators

  • Good Morning Cat Ba
  • Orient Travel
  • Daiichi Travel
  • Cát Bà Express

From Halong Bay

From Halong Bay, the best way to get to the island is to take a ferry going to the northern side of the island (an hour)
Take a taxi to Cat Ba town
From there you can take a speedboat or ferry going to the island

Things you don’t wanna miss

  • Enjoy native dishes
  • Going on a cruise
  • Visit some caves
  • Visit Monkey Island
  • Enjoy the sunset in Cannon Fort
  • Visit Viet Hai village
  • Enjoy the beach

Where to Eat

Seafood is very popular on Cat Ba Island. Some recommended restaurants offer great food that will bring the flavor of delicious meals from native to international cuisines including vegetarian dishes. Here are the top restaurants to enjoy the food in Cat Ba Island.

Where to stay

Cat Ba Island offers plenty of hotels and hostels to make your stay more comfortable. Most of them are located on the waterfront even though some hotels have recently opened a bit more inland. There are a lot of hotels that offer a luxurious experience on the island. Here are some of the best on the island.

  • Cat Ba Island Resort & Spa
  • Hotel Perle d’Orient Cat Ba
  • Nam Cat Island Resort
  • Sea Pearl Cat Ba Hotel
  • Cat Ba Violet Hotel
  • Cat Ba Thailand Hotel
  • Monkey Island Resort

Where to eat?

  • Nhà Hàng VQG Cát Bà
  • Quang Anh Restaurant
  • Catba Green
  • Cat Ba Sweet Potato Homestay & Restaurant
  • Yummy 2 Restaurant
  • Quan Cat Ba
  • Phoung Nhung Restaurant

10 of the Most Beautiful Islands in Asia

Asia is a continent that is home to beautiful natural landscapes, unique cultures, ancient architecture, and food. If you are looking for an island getaway, Asia is the perfect choice for you. Here is our list of the Top 10 Beautiful Islands in Asia.

  • Sipadan Island
  • Siargao Island
  • Jeju Island
  • Cat Ba Island
  • Similan Islands
  • Bangka Belitung Island
  • Orchid Island
  • Ubin Island
  • Koh Rong Island
  • Macleod Island


Asia is a continent that is home to beautiful natural landscapes, unique cultures, ancient architecture, and food. If you are looking for an island getaway, Asia is the perfect choice for you. Here is our list of the Best Islands in Asia.


Top 10  Most Beautiful Islands in Asia

Top 10 Beautiful Islands in Asia



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1. Sipadan Island, Malaysia


Sipadan Island is located on the northeast coast of Malaysia Borneo, Sabah. When you visit Sipadan Island, scuba diving is one of the things that you must not miss. It is described as one of the ideal and top rankings for scuba diving spots. Sipadan Island is well-known for its incredible marine life.

In 1933, this island was declared as a bird sanctuary by the government of North Borneo. You simply should not miss spotting amazing birds, such as Sunbirds, Sea Eagles, colorful Kingfishers, and many other exotic birds. You will find it fun to enjoy a snorkeling experience in the fascinating deep-sea waters of this amazing island. 

Best Time To Visit: March to October
Activities: Snorkeling, scuba diving, bird-watching.



2. Similan Islands, Thailand


Similan Islands are also known as Koh Similan is one of the largest archipelago islands in Asia. Similan Islands are made up of 9 granite islands located Northwest of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. The islands were declared as Mu Ko Similan National Park in 1982 and ranked as one of the best scuba diving destinations in Asia.

It is a paradise for scuba divers and beach lovers with its turquoise clear water, fine white sand, breathtaking marine life, and impressive rock formations. You may spot various amazing marine species like small sharks, sea turtles, Nemo fishes, or sea snakes. If you wish to stay longer in Similan Islands, you can book an overnight liveaboard trip.

You can also hike various nature trails that lead you to a stunning view over the island, bay, and sea. Relaxing on the fine white sand beach while observing the wildlife like monkeys, bats, squirrels, and a large variety of birds.

Best time to visit: October to May
Activities: Snorkelling, deep-sea diving, trekking, liveaboard, relaxing on the beach.



3. Cat Ba Island, Vietnam


Cat Ba Island is the largest of the 367 islands of the Cat Ba Archipelago in Hai Phong city. Lan Ha Bay is still less popular among tourists, you can go kayak or hop on the public ferry while enjoying the unspoiled nature and exploring the breathtaking landscape.

Another favorite thing to do is make a stop at the Monkey Island or known as Cat Dua Island. Cat Ba National Park is a must-visit place when traveling to Cat Ba Island, the home to a wide range of flora and fauna. You can also enjoy the beauty of the vast landscapes and seascapes.

If you are interested in Vietnamese history, you should visit the Hospital Cave which is the underground bomb-proof hospital, and as a hideout during the war.

Cannon Fort was built as a naval defense and has now become the best place to witness the view of Lan Ha Bay. Viet Hai fishing village and Cai Beo Floating Village it’s definitely a must-see spot to see around Cat Ba.

Best time to visit: February to April
Activities: Rock climbing, trekking, kayak, visit the national park, explore floating villages, enjoy eating seafood.



4. Siargao Island, the Philippines


Siargao Island is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines and is well-known for being the Philippiness’ surfing destination. Cloud 9 is the most famous spot and is considered one of the best surf spots in the world.

The boardwalk is the perfect place to watch pro surfers and to watch the sunset. You should not miss out on the island hopping tours to Naked Island, Guyam Island, and Daku Island. Siargao Island is home to many unspoiled islands that has powdery white sand beaches, stunning islands, and crystal clear water.

Sugba Lagoon’s crystal clear water became a popular spot for diving, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and cliff jumping. Magpupungko Rock Pools is another attraction you shouldn’t leave out of your Siargao trip.

Best time to visit: March to May / July and November (surfing season).
Activities: Surfing, island hopping, diving, paddle boarding, snorkeling, cliff jumping.



5. Bangka Belitung Island, Indonesia


Belitung island is located east coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It’s surrounded by lots of tiny islands and granite rock formations. The islands are blessed with beautiful white sand beaches, crystal clear water, incredible marine life, and colorful coral reefs.

Danau Kaolin is an abandoned kaoline or white clay mine with bright blue water with white sandy dunes that have become a photogenic hotspot for travelers and photographers. Spend your time relaxing on yachts or cruise ships while enjoying local cuisine and drinks at Tanjung Kelayang.

There is an iconic ancient Dutch lighthouse on Lengkuas Island, you can climb up to the tower to enjoy the panoramic view of the island or go for a snorkeling swim alongside all kinds of fish. Hop onto the next island, Batu Berlayar Island known for its granite rocks which can be reached by boat in just 10 minutes from Lengkuas Island.

It is well known for its resembled sailing ship granite rocks. When you visit Belitung, do not miss to try their famous Manggar Coffee that is not only loved by tourists but also locals.

Best time to visit: April to October
Activities: Snorkelling, diving, islands hopping, enjoy local cuisines, hop on yacht or cruise ship, enjoy Manggar Coffee.



6. Orchid Island, Taiwan


Orchid Island is also known as Lanyu is located off the southeastern coast of the main island of Taiwan. The island is the home of the Yami people which are also known as Tao indigenous tribes. For those interested in seeing the indigenous tribes’ culture of Taiwan, there’s no better place than Orchid Island where the Tao has lived for hundreds of years.

If you visit at the right time, you can witness the Flying Fish Festival, the Millet Harvest Festival, or the Boat Launching Festival. The underwater beauty of corals and marine life have made Orchid Island the best scuba diving spot.

If you are lucky, you will encounter humpback whales and green sea turtles. You can rent and ride a scooter around the island to check out the amazing rock formations sights and caves along the coast. It definitely offers a unique experience in Taiwan.

Best time to visit: April to October
Activities: Snorkelling, diving, riding around the island, admiring rock formations and caves, exploring caves, enjoying local cuisines, seeing and experiencing the indigenous tribe culture.



7. Jeju Island, South Korea


Jeju Island, Korea’s favorite domestic holiday destination for local and international travelers. Jeju is a place full of stunning nature, scenic landscapes, museums, parks, and great food. A trip to Jeju isn’t complete without hiking up to Seongsan Ilchulbong or “Sunrise Peak” to watch the sunrise over the sea. Hiking Hallasan Mountain is an experience that adventure lovers won’t regret.

The UNESCO-listed Manjanggul Lava-Tube Cave is one of the most visited landmarks. You can watch the Haeneyo (female free-diver who mostly are over 60) that make a living by catching abalone, sea urchin, sea cucumber, or octopus.

Jeju Loveland is a sex-themed sculpture outdoor park that provides a proper approach to sex culture and it is decorated with a lot of beautiful artworks. You are recommended to visit the park when the weather is good. Jeju Natural Stone Art Museum is one of the must-visit museums in Jeju Island. If you are a foodie, you must try the authentic food and local specialties when you visit Jeju Island.

Best time to visit: November to May
Activities: Snorkelling, diving, trekking, watching sunrise or sunset, exploring caves, enjoying local cuisines, visiting museums and parks, enjoying local food.



8. Havelock Island, India


White sands, crystal clear waters, serene mangroves – these are words that one would often associate with beaches in Havelock Island. Havelock Island or Swaraj Dweep is located about 70 km north of the capital city, Port Blair.

The rich and diverse marine life of Havelock Island has always been one of the major factors to attract people who love snorkeling, scuba diving, and beach lovers. Paddle through a mangrove forest in a kayak to observe local flora and fauna.

You can hop on a seaplane or ferry to witness the only active volcano in India at Barren Island. For those who are looking for rest and relaxation, the trip must not miss visiting Neil Island which is known as the “Vegetable Bowl” of Andamans because the rich ecosystem has numerous species of fishes, sea creatures, and coral reefs, and pristine beaches.

Long Island is a perfect destination for nature lovers who might love to do forest camping, beach camping, trekking, and exploring the local art and culture. Visit the beaches on Havelock Island to watch the magnificent sunrise or sunset views be an ideal choice for newlyweds or couples.

Best time to visit: March to May
Activities: Snorkelling, scuba diving, kayak, witnessing the active volcano, exploring and relaxing on beaches, watching sunrise or sunset, camping, trekking.


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9. Ubin Island, Singapore


Ubin Island or Pulau Ubin is a hotspot for those who want to escape from the bustle of urban life in Singapore. Pulau Ubin is one of the last remaining villages or kampung and an abandoned quarry that offer lush greenery and abundant wildlife.

You will spot some wild animals like monkeys, hornbills, bats, owls, wild boars when going on a bike tour around the island. If you love kayaking, go on a kayak tour to explore the mangrove forest. If you are lucky, you will get to spot some wild animals such as otters, monitor lizards, kingfishers, and even dolphins.

Chek Jawa is one of Singapore’s richest natural ecosystems, filled with all kinds of flora and fauna across six different habitats. You can walk through the boardwalk and explore the marine wildlife along the trails. Climb up the 20-meter tall Jejawi Tower for panoramic views. There’re plenty of other things to do in the area as well

Best time to visit: January to October
Activities: Kayak, go for a bike tour, explore the marine animals, camping, trekking.



10. Koh Rong Island, Cambodia


Koh Rong Island is the largest in Ream National Park, Cambodia. The national park is a biodiversity hotspot, there are thousands of species of flora and fauna. The iconic Koh Rong is home to many species of marine life making it an ideal destination for all marine lovers.

You can go to the Koh Rong Dive Center where you can either learn fun dives or PADI training courses. Kayaking over to the Koh Toch is another highlight on the island. Those adventure lovers can go jungle trekking, wildlife spotting, and test their nerves at the High Point Rope Park.

In Koh Rong, you can see the amazing natural phenomenon is the bioluminescent plankton on the beach at night. You can either relax on the beach while enjoying the sea breeze and views or try on the Blob Jump at the Tree House Bungalow. Koh Rong Island also offers an exciting nightlife scene that will enhance your night-outs when here.

Best time to visit: May to November
Activities: Snorkeling, scuba diving, kayak, jungle trekking, exploring the marine life, camping, trekking, nightlife.