Cat Ba Island would be an ideal place to hide away from the noisy and dusty days in cities. That’s why the latest recognised biosphere island, where tourism services just have a few years of development, is becoming overloaded during weekends.
It takes almost half a day to reach the island from Hanoi, as one has to take two hours’ bus drive to Hai Phong city and a ferry or motorized boat trip to the island. Tourists’ patience will, however, be rewarded by the fresh air and a 30 minutes traveling up and down the mountain road to get into the Cat Ba town. The town is the center of the island and the largest of 366 primitive islets and islands making up Cat Ba Archipelago. If you take your tour to Cat Ba during summer weekends, try to book a hotel before departure to avoid having to stay in locals’ houses as all 93 hotels and guest houses in the town are all often full these days.
In normal days, it costs between VND 150,000 (over US $9) to VND 200,000 for a room for two a day but the price can rocket almost ten times during weekends of the peak season, from July to September. Cat Ba Water Park Resort, overlooking the Cat Co 1 beach and the nearby Cat Ba Sunrise Resort in Cat Co 3 beach are now the two most luxurious places to stay with price ranging from US $80 to US $250 per day.
Cat Ba Water Park Resort, with a total investment of over VND 100 billion, opened for tourists two months ago and has a modern design with two swimming pools and a tennis court. If you go with a group of friends, it’s a nice and worthwhile destination.
However, if you want to take a more quiet and private venue to get away with stress or enjoy the romantic feeling with your partner, Cat Ba Sunrise Resort is a better choice. And if you stay here, don’t forget to spend a little time chatting with the owner of the resort, who used to be the commander of Hai Phong City’s Navy Force. This over 60-year old man, who still looks very strong in his sunburn skin and smiling eyes, will be very open to tell you many interesting stories.