CAT BA’S BEACHES
One of the things that really sets Cat Ba and Lan Ha bay apart from Ha Long bay is its beautiful beaches. While Tuan Chau — the island and entertainment complex in the north of Halong bay is trying to set up artificial beaches for their own customers to enjoy, Cat Ba is blessed with natural beaches stretching from the town’s three connecting ones to idyllic castaway islands in the bay where adventurers come to chill and lovers enjoy honeymoon, while the distinctive rock formations make them perfect places to enjoy one of the most impressive form of DWS (Deep Water Soloing) in the world.
Cat Dua beach & Monkey Island
Located 2 kilometer away from Cat Ba center, Cat Dua beach is the left side of Monkey Island. The island can be approached by either kayaks or boats, turning it into a favorite place for both groups and independent travelers. The beach is around 500 meter long with amazingly white sand and a good collection of sea shells washed ashore by strong waves.
Kayaking around the island may take you around 45 minutes. For strong kayakers, the open sea on the back is an ideal place to test their skills, while the ones who opt for relaxing may just chill by paddling to the neighboring beach just 200 meter away.
A good drink in the ocean front café in the island, a satisfactory walk up to the top and savor the wind, numerous spots to hunt sunrise and sunset, Monkey Island is definitely the one that stands out.
For people that come here and can’t hold their temptation to stay longer, climb over: a lovely set of bungalows with different sizes and shapes called Monkey Island Resort on the right side is just there, waiting to accommodate the lost travelers.
CAT CO BEACH
Cat Co literally means “sand and stork” in local language, yet coming here you may tempt to rename it with “waves and eagles”. Walking along the harbor way 200 meters south of Cat Ba town, up along an uphill road full of white and pink “paper flowers”, soon enough the smell of the salt and the sound of wind and waves start to excite your senses.
Cat Co is a line of three beaches in Cat Ba island connected by a 800 meter-long mountain road. Backed by rugged mountain and facing an open sea with out-of-the-world rock cliffs, it is the kind of route that you want to be with “the one” to share your first kiss. To me, it’s the familiar spot for walking and reading, to immerse myself in nature, deeply inhale and reflect.
The beaches themselves are well facilitated with benches and cafes of beautiful luxurious resorts who are smart enough to make the most out of the place in an elegant way.
While the rest of beaches are named by locals, this recently discovered beach is named by two expats coming here with no first intention to live that long. Slo and Erik, the pioneer founders of Slo Pony (now known as Asia Outdoors) came to Cat Ba in 2006 and soon fell in love with this land.
They kayaked out to Lan Ha bay on a rainy day to be lost in a beach: it is small, can be accessed from two sides only when the tide is right, the rock formations are just perfectly fit for climbers to top up and turn their back just to be astonished at the panorama view setting in front of their eyes.
And yes, the beach is like a beautiful girl who is just discovered: shy, unexpected.
She is moody and yet people love her. Not an easy girl. Some climbing or kayaking packages may help you knock her door
Tiger beach is named as such for a clear reason: it is located right opposite of Moody beach, yet instead of being secluded, Tiger beach proudly shows up himself with straight and long white sand line, like an arrogant yet irresistible guy. He knows he is cool. Tiger accommodates people with some rusty bungalows that young travelers get strongly excited, hence the name for the island: Castaway.
A summer afternoon with water tubing around Tiger, Moody and if you dare to get to Monkey island in the vicinity will be one of the most memorable moments of youth.
Tiger beach also offers climbing to its mountain on the right side, which is a thrilling test for beginners.
BA TRAI DAO BEACH
Okay so what about swimming? What if you don’t look for climbing , kayaking or tubing? You say: Forget about thrilling experiences, I just want to find a beach, “the beach”, really secluded, clean, and a worthy swim.
Then Ba Trai Dao is the perfect answer. In the middle of Lan Ha bay, Ba Trai Dao looks like it just emerges out of the group not so long ago. An egg-shaped beach, Ba Trai Dao sets a name for itself with nearly 360 degree access.
In summer day, the water is perfectly crystal clear, which makes snorkeling possible.
For your curiosity: “Ba Trai Dao” means “three peaches”, and three peaches are synonym for? It’s your turn to come there and check them out ;).