Cat Ba Cruise New Information 2023 - A Complete Guide

Halong bay cruise

Despite not receiving much attention at first compared to other parts of Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island started to gain more recognition in recent years and has now elevated itself as one of the highest-peaked Vietnamese destinations during tourism seasons. Hence, Cat Ba cruise packages, transportation services, and more have gone through back-to-back updates to accommodate increasing international demands. The following guide will discuss critical information about Cat Ba Cruise Halong Bay in detail to guarantee a smoother traveling experience for you.

Cat Ba Island Overview

It is located in northeastern Vietnam.

1. Location

Located in Haiphong City (northeastern Vietnam) in the Gulf of Tonkin, Cat Ba Island is part of the 300-square-kilometer Cat Ba Archipelago. 

It surpasses all other 366 islands in the Archipelago to be titled the largest island of the entire Halong Bay in general, measuring 50 kilometers (32 miles) from Haiphong city. This number translates to an approximately 1-hour trip by regular speed boat.

Location map

Location map

2. Ecosystem

The island prides itself on an extremely diverse ecosystem that houses broad arrays of distinct fauna and flora. By 2023, Cat Ba has witnessed the growth of:

  • 1561 plants from 186 groups/families
  • 27 types of animals, among which 23 are endangered
  • 53 mammal species
  • 160 bird species
  • 66 reptiles and amphibians 
  • 274 types of insects




Its aquatic environments are no less impressive, boasting:

  • 900 fish species
  • 178 corals
  • 21 seaweed types
  • 7 sea snake categories
  • 4 sea turtle species

Due to its unique biodiversity, the island was titled Biosphere Reserve Zone by UNESCO and is regarded as one of the world’s natural wonders. 

3. What is Special About Cat Ba Island?

There are many things special about the island.

The Viet Hai Floating Village

Viet Hai is one of the most famous floating villages on Cat Ba Island, surrounded by thousands of rocks to give the day boat better anchors during heavy rainfalls and storms. As such, the fishing village drew in hundreds of residents living in 80 tightly-spaced households. 

During your visit to the village, you may learn the way around buffalos and farming, drop by ancient houses to engage in deep conversations about the local lives with the fisheries here. For those preferring sightseeing experiences, just walk through the village roads and vast rice fields to enjoy the refreshing mountain air here.

Dark and Bright Cave

Situated in Lan Ha Bay, the cave is about 20 km from Cat Ba Town’s center and extends around 100 meters. After millennia of tectonics, Dark and Bright Cave now possesses thousands of unique-shaped, natural stalactites that provoke visitors’ imagination in all the best ways. There are few better experiences than admiring the glistening stalactites under dim interlay of dark and bright (hence the name). 

Beautiful cave internals aside, there is also a vast ecosystem hidden in the darkness, dominated by hundreds of creatures such as insects, reptiles, bats, and birds. And once you reach the final legs of the great trip, Dark and Bright will reveal another lush green area of flowers, climbing vines, and ancient trees.

The best time is from April to October

View on the top of Cat Ba Island

Ngu Lam Peak

Ngu Lam Peak, one of the highest Cat Ba peaks, serves as another excellent highlight reserved for adventurous souls dying to see Halong Bay’s biggest island from a more elevated viewpoint. 

With a 225 m altitude, it easily captures the entire picture of Lan Ha Bay, Ha Long Bay, fishing village areas, forests, islands, and gentle seas in one frame. Better yet, the trekking routes from the foot of the mountain only take you one hour at best. 

Cat Co Beaches 1, 2, 3

Most Vietnamese locals have been familiar with these three beautiful beaches, which attract an incredible number of tourists during summer peaks. All three are moderate-sized, surrounded by clear water, little wind, gentle waves, and green mountains, connected by wooden bridges through mountainsides that make the accompanying scenery twice as romantic.

With wide sandy beaches and crystal water, Cat Co 1 remains the most crowded and bustling among the three. Meanwhile, people seeking quietness and solitude will settle well with Cat Co 2. 

Cat Co 3, deeper and less visited than its siblings, is a good match for seasoned swimmers. Nevertheless, due to the tides surging up fast during sunsets, it is advisable not to swim there after 6:30 PM.


Cat Ba has an extremely diverse ecosystem

Cat Ba has an extremely diverse ecosystem

Van Boi Beach

Van Boi is located on small islands that face Lan Ha Bay’s Rua Island, attracting thousands of visitors due to its refreshing atmosphere and cool beaches. 

Better yet, unlike the bustling Cat Co beaches, Van Boi manages to retain most of its natural, wide charms by enclosing the cliff’s protruding part, revealing crystal seawater and pristine sand. Indeed, the waters are so clear you can even observe the sand bottom and coral reefs underneath, enjoying sunlight rays twinkling in gentle waves.

4. Is Cat Ba Touristy?

Cat Ba is among Vietnam’s major tourist attractions.

Yes. Belonging to the world-famous Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba is now one of Vietnam’s star attractions. 

The island shines through with large, green lushes (most belonging to the Cat Ba National Park) and thick forests of limestone karsts overlaid by dense leaves to echo the sounds of animals and insects. Meanwhile, the dramatic coastlines are dotted with hundreds of cliffs, coves, and bays, offering tons of kayaking and hiking opportunities for ambitious tourists.

Hence, despite a population of only 16,000, the island ends up attracting 2.5 million visitors per year. Popular tourism issues do arise as a result, such as noise, pollution, over-development, and peaked crowds; yet, they can hardly deter Cat Ba from being the country’s major hotspot.

When Is The Best Time to Visit Cat Ba Island?

Summer and autumn are the best time to visit the island. 

The most suitable timing for a Cat Ba Island visit mostly depends on your preferences. For instance, those adoring tropical summer heat should choose a departure point between June and August. Meanwhile, visitors who prefer milder weather will find the October-March period to be a more ideal option. 

Be mindful, however, that aside from the four main seasons, Cat Ba also has a dry season (November-March) and a rainy season (May-September). While each has its own ups and downs, most agree that the best traveling months are October, September, April, and March.

Below are the weather averages for each month in Halong Bay:


Rainfall (mm)

High and Low (°C)


12 mm

18° and 12°


19 mm

19° and 14°


28 mm

21° and 16°


86 mm

25° and 20°


183 mm

29° and  22°


230 mm

32° and 24°


270 mm

31° and 25°


310 mm

32° and 23°


250 mm

29° and 22°


110 mm

26° and 20°


36 mm

23° and 18°


18 mm

22° and 16°

Is Summer The Best Time to Visit Cat Ba?

Yes. As discussed above, summer is arguably the best times for an extended visit to Cat Ba. The island is filled with warm, golden sunlight in summer and fresh, cool bounds of refreshing air when autumn comes, creating a perfect scenery to relax, unwind, and sunbathe on the white sand.

From September to February is the festive time for foreign visitors with an array of holidays, like Christmas and New Year. Traditional Tet in Vietnam also draws in a significant number of international travelers.

How To Get To Cat Ba Island?

You can travel there by cruise.

1. From Hanoi to Cat Ba Island

By Bus

Tourist buses/shuttle buses are among the most common and affordable traveling solutions for travelers.

  • Bus fare: $13 to $18/person/one way
  • Duration: About 3.5 hours

By Private Cars

People seeking private transfers will find rental cars from Hanoi to check out most of their criterion boxes regarding flexibility and privacy.

  • Cost: $125 to $150/trip
  • Duration: 2 hours

As the quickest and most comfortable method, private cars allow you to customize the itinerary to your heart’s content. One downside,  however, is the pricing: the entire package of car fees, parking fees, highway tools, fuels, and drop-off/pick-up already costs at least 125 USD. Other personal expenses like ferry tickets and driver tips have not yet been included.

Car Type

Pricing range

4 seats

145 USD

7 seats

155 USD

12 seats

170 USD

By Motorbike

If venturesome journeys on two wheels suit both your taste and physiques, then motorbike rides (referred to as “Phuot” by Vietnamese youngsters) are the best option.

  • Rental fee: $8/day/bike
  • Duration: About 4 hours

Numerous bike centers in Hanoi are available, such as BonBon, Nguyen Tu, and Motogo, charging only $6 to $8 a day. Even when extra fees for fuel and ferry are counted, you only have to spend another $2 one way.


60 km from the center of Hai Phong

How to get to Cat Ba Island

By Train

Most international travelers have a strong desire to get as close to Vietnamese locals as possible, and few transportation solutions can achieve that goal better than train journeys. Affordable and authentic, it is the ultimate dream of every dedicated adventurer: 

  • Train tickets: $5 to $10/person/one-way
  • Duration: About 4 to 7 hours

The common route is to take joint train journeys from Hanoi to Haiphong, then take a taxi from Hai Phong to the ferry terminal and speed boat/ferry straight to Cat Ba. 

  • From Hanoi to Haiphong by train: 2.5 hours for about 102 kilometers
  • From Hai Phong to ferry terminals: 45 minutes, 30 kilometers
  • Ferry terminals to Cat Ba: 30 minutes to 1 hour 

How To Get To Cat Ba Island

By Day Cruise/Boat

By Day Cruise/Boat

Elites, couples, or large traveling groups should definitely opt for the best Cat Ba cruise tour.

For one, these packages allow your budgets to be well-spent on total group expenses rather than being paid separately for outdoor activities, sightseeing, meals, accommodations, and transportation, saving you quite a few bucks. Furthermore, most packages usually include limousine or shuttle buses straight to the ports, meaning you do not have to get in and out of transfers or seek a reliable transportation company.

2. How Long Does It Take to Get from Hanoi to Cat Ba?

It takes about 1 to 7 hours, depending on the type of transportation discussed above.

3. From Ha Long to Cat Ba Island


Continue to Cat Ba by road or by sea.

From Halong Bay, you can reach Cat Ba Island by road (with combinations of multiple transportation modes, such as speed boat, ferry, and Cat Ba Express bus) or by sea, which usually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.

For people taking bullet trains, make sure you have researched the pier locations properly to check in the most suitable schedules.

Cat Ba Cruise - Paradise Grand fully explores the natural beauty

Every accommodation aboard Paradise Grand Cruise is roomy and fully furnished with built-in wardrobes and private balconies to provide guests with a pleasurable and unforgettable vacation experience on the greatest Cat Ba Cruise. The exceptional service of Paradise Grand Cruise has been entirely carried over from previous Paradise Vietnam cruises, receiving praise and admiration from visitors worldwide. The world-famous chef's Michelin-starred Dinner Menu offers a unique dining experience. To further enhance your holiday in Cat Ba, Paradise Grand Cruise is the only cruise ship with a distinctive sundeck with an outdoor bar and live music from a top-tier international band.

Paradise Grand Cruise - Cat Ba Cruise 2023

Paradise Grand Cruise

The best leisure experience is provided by Paradise Grand, the first Paradise Vietnam ship to operate in Lan Ha Bay. With hundreds of islands and islets, immaculate beaches, and limestone mountains rising above the emerald waters, some of the world's most breathtaking bays await you. The first stop on the itinerary for the 2 days 1 night itinerary of the Paradise Grand will be Viet Hai Village which is surrounded by high peaks and jungles, around eighteen kilometers from Cat Ba island. Cat Ba. On day 2, you will be taken by locals in bamboo boats to the stunning Dark and Bright Cave, where you will spend the night wandering on the blue bay water. The site is lyrical and breathtaking, serving as a gateway to a serene lake encircled by walls of stones of varying sizes and shapes.

Paradise Vietnam Cruises - The Best Choice for Your Halong Bay Trips


Contact Paradise Vietnam Cruise right away for the best deal.

Paradise Vietnam is far from a branb-new cruise. With more than 16 years of expertise in hotel and yacht operations, it is lauded by both local and international tourists as one of the best luxury operators for a Cat Ba island cruise. Besides offering cruise exploration of Cat Ba, Paradise Vietnam also provides boat tours uncovering the beauty of Halong Bay and day trips aboard cruise, ensuring travelers a variety of choices in exploring the natural splendor of this destination.

Spacious decks, premium onboard bars/restaurants with fresh seafood, world-class spa treatments, private balcony spaces, and extra beds are only some of the highlighted amenities offered by the brand. They are further aided by a wide collection of 12 ships - with different Cat Ba cruise price options - to cater to varied preferences.


Relax on cruise ship

Furthermore, what sets Paradise Vietnam Cruise apart from other Halong Bay operators is the fact that it has its own port. While same-sector rivals have to use a tender day boat to transfer passengers to the cruises from the mainland, tourists on Paradise Vietnam Cruise will get straight onto the docked yachts to start their journey. 

Cat Ba Cruise 2023: The Best Interesting Activities for Outdoor Enthusiasts

1. Kayaking



No boat cruisers should skim over the opportunity to kayak through Cat Ba’s thick labyrinth of limestone and karst formations. You can navigate through the famous bright cave destinations on the island, such as Ba Qua Dao, Trang Trang, and Dark And Bright Cave, and witness how nature plays with intricate rock shapes to create a breathtaking interplay of lights and shadows.

2. Swimming


The water is perfect for swimming

A good swimming lap around the sea waves is one of the best ways to escape Cat Ba’s scorching summer heat while reconnecting with the nature around you. Do not forget to pack swimwear, sunglasses, and sun protection for the occasion.

3. Trekking

There is no better ideal destination to embark on a good trekking trip than Bai Tu Long Bay, where hidden wonders unfurl the further you travel. It would be even greater to have an experienced tour guide or local from Viet Hai village/Monkey Island by your side, as they will have abundant backstories to enlighten you along the itinerary.

4. Squid Fishing

With a bait and fishing rod, you are ready to settle into the calm water of Cat Ba Island under the night sky. Squid fishing requires keen attention and boundless patience, but the rewards are satisfying: you may use the fresh squids as side dishes during dinners in Viet Hai village or onboard sea food cooking classes at the private balcony. Exploring the fishing village offers an immersive glimpse into the traditional techniques and vibrant culture of the local fishermen, fostering a deeper connection to the rich maritime heritage of Cat Ba Island. 

5. Overnight Cruise Ships


Stay overnight to enjoy the island’s nighttime atmosphere.

While a day cruise from Cat Ba Island certainly has its perks, extended luxury cruises for more than one night will allow you better chances to discover Cat Ba Island’s nature and local culture. The high-quality on-deck amenities also blend relaxation and adventure seamlessly to cater to varied itinerary preferences, ensuring each and every member of your traveling group has the best memories with the Halong Bay complex.

Read More: Experience Lan Ha Bay Cruise - A Hidden Gem of Vietnam

Common Questions about Cat Ba Cruise

1. What are the standout features or unique experiences offered by the Cat Ba cruises compared to others in the region?
When choosing the Cat Ba cruise, visitors will not need to worry about travel or transportation, all they have to do is sit on the luxury cruise, and enjoy the meals served and the picturesque scenery in the bay.
The Cat Ba cruise by Paradise Vietnam stands out for its seamless blend of luxurious amenities and an intimate connection with the natural wonders of Halong Bay. With top-notch service, unique activities, and an eco-friendly environment, it crafts a distinct travel experience compared to other cruises in the region.

2. How does the itinerary differ between various Cat Ba cruise packages? Are there customizable options?
Visitors have access to a wide selection of customizable trip packages, including 3-day 2-night and 2-day 1-night cruises. Depending on the type of traveler they are, each of these packages offers a thoughtful selection of services.

3. What dining options are available on board? Can dietary restrictions or preferences be accommodated?
Visitors can enjoy the world's finest Eurasian cuisine, which is made by the Chef, here after seeing Cat Ba's natural beauty. We can accommodate various dietary restrictions and preferences. Please let us know your specific needs, and we'll ensure your dining experience meets your requirements.

4. What activities or excursions are included during the cruise? Are there additional charges for certain experiences?
Included in the package of your choice are a cooking demonstration, a Tai Chi class, and kayaking on the first day. Additional expenses such as airfare, airport transfers, hotel accommodations, transportation, beverages, kayaking on the second day, massages, spa treatments, tips, and other items not covered in the package are the responsibility of the tourists.

No hassles and no troubles; your traveling demands are 100% guaranteed. Contact Paradise Vietnam’s helpful staff for further itinerary support on Cat Ba/Lan Ha Bay cruise and full day tours!

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