Cat Ba – A great alternative to the Halong Bay

Our second stop in Vietnam was at the seaside. Not far from Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island offers a cheaper alternative than cruises to enjoy the beautiful scenery formed by the hundreds of rocky islands that come out of the sea.

The trip by bus and ferry was a little stirring but not too long (about 5 hours). You have to drive  along the coast to the other side of the island to reach the city of Cat Ba. This allows to admire the breathtaking landscape. On arrival we see hotels, hostels, guesthouses, restaurants and tours organized every 10 meters. The city is quite ugly but the view from the city is amazing.

We sought to better know the history of the wars in Vietnam following our visit of the fort, first activity in Cat Ba. This island was in the forefront! The population has long lived hidden in caves … The comments that can sometimes be found are tough with the French and Americans: “imperialist”, “invaders” and “aggressors”. Not a lot of facts and explanations, it leaves everyone to make up their own mind. For our part, we were already very moved about what we saw in Laos in the small bomb museum. During the war, more than 270 million bombs were dropped on the country to cut the supply routes with the north of the neighboring country, the Vietnam. Even today, these explosives are wreaking havoc.

To move on to less serious and sad things, our next activities were much more futile.

We spent a day on a boat to see floating fishing villages, beautiful scenery, do canoeing, snorkeling, a walk (which looked like climbing) on ​​a small island where you can see monkeys (unfortunately often fed by tourists voluntarily or not …). Sacha loved swimming and play with the wood paddle that he had found on the beach.

In Cat Ba, there are three beaches very close to the city and the walk to go from one to the other was really beautiful. The wilderness of the island is starting to change as more and more buildings and resorts are being built. We were on these beautiful beaches without the crowds of the high season so it was super nice. We also enjoyed the cabins for change and showers (very rustic but it’s convenient)

Life in Vietnam is not expensive, a dish in the restaurant costs 1 to 5 euros. At Cat Ba we had a room at 12 euros / night but do not expect a European standard! In the resorts, the prices are very high.

To see more pictures :visit our Cat Ba photo gallery on Piwigo