Category: Explore

cat ba island

Top things to do in Cat Ba Island

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Cat Ba Island is located in Hai Phong Province, about 2 hours driving from Hanoi City. There are numerous beaches around the side of the island which are clean and smooth with crystal-clear blue water. Cat Ba is home to the largest area of tropical forests in Vietnam with the diverse and rare fauna and flora. If you intend to visit the island, check out our suggestions for top things to do in Cat Ba Island below.


      1. About Cat Ba Island:

Cat Ba Island belongs to Cat Ba Archipelago in Hai Phong which consists of 367 small islands and is known as the most famous tourist attraction. With a fresh climate, an average temperature of only 25 Celsius degrees, many beautiful beaches and primeval forests, Cat Ba Island is both a great resort site and suitable for exploring lovers. Thus, when in the island, what are we going to do here? Keep on discovering with us:

cat ba island
Cat Ba Island – Photo from Toquoc

      2. Top things to do in Cat Ba Island:

      2.1. Swimming in the emerald water:

From the centre of Cat Ba Town, you can walk, rent a motorbike or take a taxi to Cat Co I, Cat Co II and Cat Co III beaches which are all beautiful with clear water. The beaches are connected by a small path along the mountainside. Cat Co I beach is quite large but often crowded, while beaches II and III are narrower and less touristy.


      2.2. Scuba diving to watch the coral:

coral watching in cat ba
Scuba diving and watching coral – Photo from Thao Minh Cat Ba Hotel

Under the reefs at the foot of the island, there is also a red coral cluster with a lot of valuable sea food such as abalone, pearls, dragon shrimp and the school of colorful fish giving this place a rare beauty. If you try diving into the ocean, you will go from this surprise to another surprise. In here, you will admire the stunning scenery of the sea that you normally see on TV or on the Discovery Channel.


      2.3. Wandering by the beach:

You can rent an electric car, bicycle or motorbike to run along the beach and enjoy the fresh air. However, the weekends are not allowed for all vehicles. Some tourists love walking along the mountain roads which connects the 3 main beaches to immerse into the chill of the night sea.


      2.4. Exploring the wonderful Lan Ha Bay:

lan ha bay
Lan Ha Bay – Photo from Arcady

Lan Ha Bay is a part of Cat Ba Island which owns hundreds of towering limestone islands and islets emerging from the jade-green water. The bay can allure any visitors thanks to its wild natural beauties and its enticing Lan Ha Bay floating villages. We have another article on what we can enjoy when in here on a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour.


      2.5. Visiting Monkey Island:

Your children will love this place. Monkey Island also has Cat Dua Beach which is the most beautiful satellite beach of Cat Ba Island. In front of the beach undulates mountains that make the bay extremely special. However, before going to the island, you must pass a lot of sea waves about 2 km long, calculated according to the birds fly.


      2.6. Visiting Cat Ba National Park:

cat ba national park
Cat Ba National Park – Photo from yeudulich

World Biosphere Reserve – Cat Ba National Park with its rich and pristine flora and fauna is a must-see attraction when travelling to Cat Ba Island. You can experience the feeling of walking in the forest, cycling the forest road, immersing in nature to unexpectedly encounter rare animals such as red-headed macaques, langurs, etc. Coming to Cat Ba National Forest you will also enjoy some special natural products such as forest honey, rose tea.


      2.7. Mountain hiking:

This travel type attracts a lot of adventure lovers to Cat Ba. Popular climbing locations include: Dau Be Island after 2 hours by boat from Cat Ba tourist port, cliffs at Beo Port (2 km from Cat Ba centre), Ba Trai Dao Island (from tourist port 22 km to the south).


      2.8. Visiting caves:

Hospital Cave
Hospital Cave – Photo from Arcady

Da Hoa Cave located in the northeast mountain range, in Gia Luan Commune, to the north of Cat Ba island is a famous sightseeing spot. As situated far from the residential area, Da Hoa Cave is almost intact and is a familiar place in the research tourism itineraries. Other attractive caves include: Trung Trang Cave (located in Trung Trang Valley, 15 km northwest of Cat Ba), Quan Y Cave owning charming stalactites of various shapes.


      3. Best time to visit Cat Ba Island:

The average temperature in Cat Ba goes around 25-28 Celsius degrees and can reach 30 Celsius degrees in summer or drop to below 10 Celsius degrees in winter. Domestic visitors love visiting the island in summer especially in June and July to avoid the heat. Foreign visitors wish to travel to Cat Ba in winter, from November to March.

As a top famous tourist spot in Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay recently is considered as a great alternative for Halong Bay when UNESCO bay is getting more and more crowded. If you don’t have much time, a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour is right fit for you. For more instant support, please contact us via our:

See you soon in a trip to the Wonderland with Arcady Cruise.

things to do in cat ba island
Cat Ba – Photo from truyenhinhdulich
cai beo floating village on lan ha bay

Lan Ha Bay floating villages

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Known as the sister of the wonderful Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay also owns the impressive karst landscape with hundreds of towering karst islands and islets emerging from the emerald water. Thanks to its peaceful view and more private atmosphere, Lan Ha Bay has become more famous to visitors who wish to spend their vacation in a quieter place. Besides the scenic bay view, the enticing local life here also attracts a lot of visitors to come and discover the bay. In this article, we would like to introduce to you the most famous and worth-visiting Lan Ha Bay floating villages. Keep on exploring!


      1. Cai Beo Floating Village – The oldest among Lan Ha Bay floating villages

cai beo floating village on lan ha bay
Stunning view of Cai Beo Village – Photo from Getty image

      a. Location:

Cai Beo Floating Village also known as Vung O Floating Village is located on Ngoc Island in Cat Ba Archipelago, Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City. The village used to be one of the largest ancient floating villages in the country in general and among Lan Ha Bay floating villages in particular in the prehistoric times. There are about 300 households living here whose life attaches closely with fish catching and farming activities. While cruising on a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour, you can also find many locals raising fish on the bay.

      b. What allures visitors when visiting Cai Beo Village:

From a distance, Cai Beo captivates visitors with its lush green water, undulating rocky mountains mixed with the blue sky creating a tranquil and picturesque picture. On the floating water, the fishing village consists of many boat houses linked together in groups. Not only the boats, there are floating houses on Cai Beo sitting close with each other by fish cages. From one house you can easily walk to other houses on a small bridge or on these cages.

cai beo floating village - lan ha bay floating villages
Raising fish in cages in Cai Beo – Photo from truyenhinhdulich

An interesting suggestion to discover the village is to rent a boat and roam on water to explore the life among households here. You can learn how they conduct their life and raise fish on the bay. Besides, visitors can freely admire the poetic scenery of Lan Ha Bay and sample many special dishes made from fish, shrimp raised on the village. Having meals with friendly people in their house can be an ideal suggestion for you to get closer to the enticing local life of the floating village on Lan Ha Bay.

Furthermore, Cai Beo is considered one of the most important archaeological vestige sites in the coastal area and northeastern island of Vietnam, with 4 times of surveying and excavation by research teams.


      2. Viet Hai Floating Village

Compared to other fishing villages, Viet Hai has a relatively small area of only about 141ha, with more than 70 households. However, the unique feature of Viet Hai is surrounded by four surfaces forests and limestone mountains creating a peaceful and poetic scenery here.

      a. Location:

Viet Hai Ancient Village is a small fishing village, located deep in Cat Ba National Park, in Cat Hai island district, Hai Phong. With an area of about 141ha, with about 70 households living, Viet Hai has a pristine landscape, almost without the influence of human.

viet hai floating village - lan ha bay floating villages
The peaceful Viet Hai Village – Photo from dulichvietnam

There are 2 ways to get to Viet Hai – one of Lan Ha Bay floating villages: take a boat through Lan Ha Bay to Viet Hai wharf or you can cross the pristine forest through Cat Ba National Park to enter the village.

      b. A rustic and tranquil village:

Compared to other fishing villages in Cat Ba, so far Viet Hai retains the typical culture of the villages in the Northern Delta. The unique feature is that Viet Hai is separated from the outside and surrounded by surface forests and limestone mountains.

In recent years, Viet Hai has become an attractive community-based eco-tourist destination, especially for foreign tourists. Coming here, visitors can stay away from the daily bustling life, immerse in the peaceful, untouched space of nature and the forest.

farmwork in viet hai village
Farm work in Viet Hai Village – Photo from dulichvietnam

More interestingly, visitors here can leisurely walk or rent bicycles to experience sightseeing, explore and learn about the life of indigenous people. Especially, you can join a trekking trip through Cat Ba National Park. For foreign tourists, you can try to cook rice with firewood, grow vegetables, harvest rice guided by local people.

lan ha bay floating villages
Lan Ha Bay view – Photo from baomoi

A day staying with locals will help you understand more about the peaceful life on Lan Ha. If you are looking for somewhere off the beaten track, then Lan Ha Bay is the right destination for you. And don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further information:

Lan Ha Bay - Photo from Arcady Cruise

Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay, where should we go?

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You may have heard of Ha Long Bay – our famous world heritage site. Sometimes when talking about most famous bays in the northern Vietnam, you may hear a lot of names like Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay. These names may make you confused a bit. In this article, we will help you differentiate these bays. Let’s see what’s in their names.


bai tu long bay - lan ha bay or halong bay
Map of Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay – Photo from wyndhamhalong. com

1. Where are these bays – Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay?

1.1. Halong Bay:

halong bay
Halong Bay – Photo from vietnamtourism

The well-known bay is in the northeast Vietnam and is well-known for its emerald water and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Administratively, the bay belongs to Halong City, Cam Pha City, a part of Van Don District, Quang Ninh Province. In 2011, Halong Bay has been claimed as one of 7 new wonders of the world.


1.2. Bai Tu Long Bay:

bai tu long bay - lan ha bay or halong bay
Bai Tu Long Bay – Photo from quangmuoi.nhaxe. vn

The bay is in the Gulf of Tonkin in the northeast of Vietnam. Bai Tu Long consists of a sea area of Halong City, Cam Pha City and Van Don Island District. The southwest side of Bai Tu Long borders Halong Bay, the east borders the sea, the west borders the mainland to Cam Pha City and the northeast borders Co To Island District. The bay is home to hundreds of large and small islands and many of which are large and inhabited.


1.3. Lan Ha Bay:

cai beo floating village on lan ha bay - lan ha bay or halong bay
Cai Beo Floating Village on Lan Ha Bay – Photo from Getty images

Lan Ha Bay is located to the south of Halong Bay and to the east of Cat Ba Island. The total area of the bay is more than 7,000 ha, with outstanding beauty of about 400 islands, large and small, with many unique shapes. Different from Halong Bay in Quang Ninh, all islands in Lan Ha Bay are covered with green trees, even though they are very small islands.

To learn more about the bay, keep on reading another article we have on Lan Ha Bay here.


2. What are the differences between these bays – Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay?

To help you differentiate these bays and book a good and proper trip, let’s make some comparisons between these bays.

2.1. Halong Bay:

a. The pros:

cua van floating village - lan ha bay or halong bay
Cua Van Floating Village – Photo from luciano mortula – Fotolia

The UNESCO bay owns an immense natural beauty with more than 1,900 towering karst islands and islets emerging from the lush green water. Halong also has the largest and most impressive caves among all these bays with the largest selection of white-sandy beaches. Moreover, Halong is the only bay having a fully inhabited floating village with some famous names of Cua Van, Vung Vieng, Ba Hang, Cong Dam. As it covers a vast area so if visitors want to explore the bay view, it is advisable that you should spend at least a day overnight on the bay.

b. The cons:

Bai Chay Beach
Bai Chay Beach – Photo from vanhien. vn

Thanks to its worldwide fame, Halong Bay attracts plenty of visitors to come and visit the bay throughout the year. In recent years, Halong Bay is facing the risk of overcrowding when the bay receives a flock of tourists coming. If you visit the bay especially in its high season, it is hard for us to find a kinda private or less crowded beach to swim or do kayaking activity. Besides, most beaches in Halong Bay is artificially made with its most famous of Tuan Chau and Bai Chay beaches which has now become one of the most attractive entertaining places for both foreign and domestic visitors. Its large area also requires a longest travel time to reach and discover the bay to the fullest. That means, if you are limited to just one day to visit the bay, a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour can be a great alternative.


2.2. Bai Tu Long Bay:

a. The pros:

bai tu long bay
Bai Tu Long Bay – Photo from zing. vn

Originally, Bai Tu Long Bay was made accessible to ease the traffic flood into Halong Bay. The waters are calmer here with fewer tourist boats giving the bay a more relaxing atmosphere than in Halong Bay. Talking about beaches, Bai Tu Long can boast some of the best and most isolated of the three bays. Some famous beaches here include Ngoc Vung, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, Tra Gioi and Ban Chan bringing about the closest representation of undiscovered sands in the region. However, many of these beaches are difficult to reach and suitable for cruise itineraries. The more privacy of Bai Tu Long gives visitors more relaxation for kayaking activities with less disturb from other cruises.

b. The cons:

thien long son cave
Thien Long Son Cave – Photo from cam nang du lich

Unlike Halong Bay which possesses the most impressive cave system, Bai Tu Long has fewer interesting caves in which the impressive Thien Canh Son Cave is the most accessible to cruises. Compared to the other bays, Bai Tu Long is the most distant from Hanoi. Therefore, for those who are short on time should consider visiting Lan Ha Bay instead. Cruises leaving for Bai Tu Long Bay from a nearby port to that of Halong, the time it takes to the reach the first of the limestone mountains is quite considerable. Due to that, the day cruise here often finishes at around 18:00 and when you come back to Hanoi, the clock may strike 21:00.


2.3. Lan Ha Bay:

a. The pros:

The newcomer has current cruises appeared in 2018 and 2019, therefore, visitors can enjoy a wonderfully tranquil time while cruising on the bay. Traveling to Lan Ha Bay requires the shortest time compared to Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay. Possibly, the biggest advantage to choosing Lan Ha Bay over Halong and Bai Tu Long bays is Cat Ba Island. Cat Ba is by far the largest island in the Halong Archipelago and is vast enough to explore over a few days. It contains some of Halong’s best beaches: Cat Co 3, Tung Thu and Woodstock, a wealth of historical attractions: Hospital Cave, Canon Fort, Viet Hai Village.

Arcady Cruise on Lan Ha Bay
Arcady Cruise on Lan Ha Bay – Photo from Arcady Cruise

Moreover, Lan Ha Bay is easily the most accessible and it takes about 2.5 hours from Hanoi to Got Pier in Hai Phong City. In order to reduce the transfer time and maximize the travel time to explore the majestic bay, a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour is such a right option for you. Another plus point for Lan Ha is that the bay still can preserve the calm atmosphere. That offers a great area for visitors to swim, join kayaking or sit on a bamboo boat and roam on the lush bay water to discover the spectacular limestone islands.

b. The cons:

When cruising on the bay, visitors can see some floating houses. They are fisherman who farm fish on the bay. Cai Beo is the famous floating village on Lan Ha but the it lacks permanent residents and doesn’t convey much about the old way of life existing here for centuries.

Objectively, we have introduced to you the differences between these three bays. It is now time for you to choose whether Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay or Halong Bay is suitable for your travelling time and purposes. For more instant support, please contact us via our:

See you soon in a trip to the Wonderland with Arcady Cruise.

Lan Ha Bay - Photo from Arcady Cruise
Lan Ha Bay – Photo from Arcady Cruise
lan ha bay 1 day tour

Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour – A journey to the Wonderland

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Home to the breathtaking limestone landscape like its world-famous sister – Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is going to get more attention of international and domestic visitors thanks to its scenic bay view, the fresh air plus with the clear and lush green water. If you prefer somewhere less touristy then Lan Ha is such an ideal place where you can immerse yourself into the cool atmosphere, the giant nature. Spend your day with us in a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour.


      1. What awaits you on a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour with Arcady Cruise?

      1.1. The mind-blowing karst landscape of Lan Ha Bay:

lan ha bay 1 day tour
Lan Ha Bay view – Photo from Arcady Cruise

Lan Ha owns a unique beauty with blue sea, clean water, imposing karst islands and islets. There are more than 400 islands and islets on the bay and most of them have been given names by the locals like the Sandal Islet, the Bat Islet, the Candle Islet, etc. With 139 wild sandy beaches with crystal clear water, the stunning bay can delight any swimming lovers. With the sand banks between two blocks of mountains, the gentle slopes of sand along with clear blue sea to the bottom like the “blue straits” will be safe beaches and extremely ideal for the passionate travelers. Lan Ha also houses a lot of stunning beaches like Ang Vem, Monkey Beach (Cat Dua Beach), Van Boi Beach, etc.

Learn more about the charming Lan Ha Bay with us.


      1.2. Delectable Vietnamese cuisine served by our friendly and skillful staff:

While you are cruising through hundreds of limestone cliffs standing on the bay, our chiefs are preparing for lunch with traditional and yummy Vietnam food. Let’s see some highlights we have for lunch.

      Seafood spring rolls:

seafood spring rolls with arcady
Seafood spring rolls with Arcady Cruise

The golden yellow color of these seafood spring rolls will attract you at the first sight. When eating, dip these rolls into the sour and sweet fish sauce dotted with some chili and garlic pieces.


      Vietnamese grilled chopped squid:

Vietnam grilled chopped squid

Seafood lovers can’t miss out the chance to enjoy this tasty food. This food requires a careful cooking so let’s enjoy it until the last part.


      Grilled oysters with onion:

Grilled oysters with onion
Grilled oysters with onion

The fresh grilled oysters are grilled and added with some onion to boost the taste. Very easy yet tasty.


fried croaker fish - lan ha bay 1 day tour
Fried Croaker Fish

Other yummy food in the menu: fried croaker fish and sautéed beef in hot pot.


      Vegetables stew:

Vegetables stew with Arcady cruise
Vegetables stew

While enjoying these scrumptious seafood dishes, let’s try some vegetable stew to balance the taste. Remember that if you are vegetarian or halal eater, please let us know when booking a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour with us. And now enjoy your meal!


      1.3. The enticing history of Hospital Cave:

After having lunch, we are about to get on a bus and depart for Hospital Cave. On the way, our experienced tour guide will introduce to you plenty of information about our country – Vietnam, some interesting fun facts and about the diverse Cat Ba Island. Get off the bus, you will climb about 70 steps to get to the cave gate. Now follow our guide and let’s explore the enticing Hospital Cave.

Hospital Cave

Built between 1963 and 1965, Hospital Cave was both a secret bomb-proof hospital during Vietnam War and a safe house for Viet Cong leaders. The cave has 17 rooms, including an old operating theater, a huge natural cavern, a kitchen and many functional rooms.


      1.4. Exciting kayaking, swimming and bamboo boat experiences:

And now it’s time for some water activities. There are two options for you. You can choose whether to join kayaking or bamboo boat to explore the surrounding of Lan Ha Bay. Which one do you prefer?

After kayaking and bamboo boat experience, let’s come back to Arcady Cruise, head on the 2nd deck and jump into the fresh bay. Ready? 1 2 3, let’s go.


      1.5. Tea break:

tea break with Arcady Cruise
Tea break

How do you feel after some time soaking in the cool bay water? Let’s dry yourself and enjoy some hot coffee, fruits and cookies prepared by our staff. Take this time to talk and share with your friends about your today experiences or just simply watch the green limestone islets passing by.


      1.6. Summer rolls in cooking class:

summer rolls making with Arcady cruise
Summer rolls – Cooking demonstration

While you are roaming on Lan Ha Bay, our staff are preparing ingredients for cooking class. The lesson is how to make summer rolls. Let’s see how fast you can make one and how beautiful it looks. The ingredients for making summer rolls are rice papers, thin rice noodles, butter lettuce, red cabbage or green cabbage, bean spouts, carrot, cucumber, green onion, cilantro and mint. Don’t overlook these ingredients as when they are wrapped into rice papers and dipped the roll into tasty fish sauce, we bet that you can’t say no to the 2nd roll.


      1.7. Stunning sunset on the bay:

sunset view on lan ha bay
Sunset view on Lan Ha Bay

Sunset on Lan Ha Bay is peaceful and spectacular. The giant orange sun seems gradually sink into the bay creating such a vivid sunset view. Take up your phone or camera to capture this stunning moment.


2. What should I choose: a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour, 2 day tour or 3 day tour?

If you are wondering whether a Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour is enough to discovering the bay. Our answer is totally yes. With the well-organized itinerary planned by our experienced travel consultants, you will have a worthy and memorable Lan Ha – Halong Bay trip. For those who don’t have much time in Vietnam and you still have a lot of attractions on your travelling list, spending a day on the bay can perfectly fit your schedule. For more instant support, please contact us via our:

See you soon in a trip to the Wonderland with Arcady Cruise.

lan ha bay 1 day tour with Arcady Cruise
Lan Ha Bay 1 day tour with Arcady Cruise