Cát Bà Island, Vietnam
Cát Bà is situated just off the coast of Hai Phong, Northern Vietnam’s biggest port city, and in very close proximity to Ha Long Bay. The island is a great way for visitors to avoid the touristic junks floating around Ha Long as well as the chaos of choosing the ‘best’ junk — great double meaning here. The photos of traditional junks floating in the bay are best taken from afar, meaning you can save yourself some trouble and visit the bay in a less harmful way (in addition to fitting in some great hikes).
- Sleep on the island and rent a boat leaving from the island for day trips. These tours will typically hit all the sites you need to see whilst avoiding the main groupings of cruises coming into Ha Long.
- Rent a scooter from your hotel or nearby hotels to explore the big national park on the island for the chance to see some amazing views and even monkeys.
- Eat the seafood.
Leaving from Hanoi, there is a public bus service running to Cat Ba. It consists of a bus ride to Hai Phong and a transfer onto a ferry that takes you to the island. This service is inexpensive and the details can be found online.