The old name is Cac Ba. We would call it women’s island. The story isn’t pleasant. Three women or the Royal Tran Dynasty were killed many years ago. Their bodies were found floating around this island. The residents who witnessed and recognised the bodies had temples built in their name. The islands in that area became known for this story. Cat Ba Island has since lived on to become a part of many people’s stories.
Cat Ba is the largest island. There are around 387 islets or islands in the archipelago. Once a big fishing port with surrounding villages, the island is mostly natural and remains untouched. The island is now one departure point for cruises and trips around Lan Ha and Ha Long Bay. This has led to an increase in tourism.
The main town has all the comforts you need. Electricity is constant and there are a variety of restaurants, bars and other kinds of entertainment going on. Tour guides and travel agents are available and ready to offer some incredible tours around Halong Bay. The town isn’t that scenic but a good base to explore Halong Bay.
Half of the island is an unspoilt national park. The park is a memorable hike. There is some beautiful fauna. You’ll likely see the Langur Monkey, the local animal in the park. The island itself is a maze of huge green fauna and foliage. At times, you’ll be amazed how timeless the island feels. Some places feel like Jurassic Park. There are some spectacular lakes, such as Ech Lake. There are intricately woven caves and limestone hills to be explored across Cat Ba Island. The hospital cave is a must-see for anyone interested in emergency constructions created during the Vietnamese Civil War.
Cat Ba Island a place to been seen by motorbike. The hills are a bit too steep for bicycles and too narrow for cars. You can go independently or get a tour guide. A local can take you to some scenic spots. They can also introduce you to some delicious lunches in the villages around the island. Most of the coastline is made up of cliffs and rocky sides. Three beaches are available to the public. These can be used at any time.
Cat Ba has a port and an airport. These are usually departure points for people who embark on cruises around Lan Ha or Ha Long Bay. Mosquito spray is a must in this area, as the water provides an ideal breeding ground for these insects. Look to bring any essential equipment you may need for activities such as hiking, kayaking and rock climbing. Equipment is available for hire but at a cost and the quality isn’t always guaranteed. Come to women’s island and have a look around while around Halong Bay.
An entrance ticket is required to enter Cat Ba Island. This can be purchased for 50,000 VND at the port or on arrival at the airport. Lan Ha Bay cruise tours stop here.