Cát Bà Island

2 Days on Cat Ba Island

One day cruise on Lan Ha Bay - One day Scooter Trip

Hanoi to Cat Ba Island

The transfer from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island was about 5 hours. Bus - Ferry - Bus. I and several other bus passengers were surprised to see the somewhat sketchy ferry pier in Hai Phong. The pier was in close proximity to the container terminal. Everywhere you looked, there was construction. Dust, cranes, trucks and industrial equipment abound. The gravel road was bumpy and challenging for bus travel. The old well-worn speedboat type ferry carried about 50 people. Once on the other side, it was evident we were in for a quieter experience far away from the city.

We settled on a simple two-day itinerary. Day one: Lan Ha Bay Cruise.
Day two: Scooter trip around the island.

Where to Stay at Cat Ba Island?

We booked a deluxe room for a couple of nights at the Sea Pearl Hotel. This is a large conference-style hotel located waterfront in Cat Ba Town. The room was huge and very comfortable and was a reasonable $CAD 55.00 per night, breakfast buffet included. We were overall happy with this choice. It was a good central location with other restaurants and coffee shops only a few steps away.

Cat Ba National Park, Scooter Day trip

We window shopped in at few scooter rental places before picking one that looked reputable. The rental process was easy. One day rental $5, no paperwork, no waivers to sign. You just pay and go. This will not be the last time we rent a scooter. It gives you a tremendous freedom feeling and you can stop and go as you please. We probably pushed the smaller engine to the limit. We do not have a motorcycle license, which is what you needed to rent the larger 125cc scooters.

Our scooter day trip took us through Cat Ba National Park, to Cannon Point, the Hospital Cave, North of the Island, and back to Cat Ba Town. Please see the captions below the photos from our scooter trip.


Our scooter trip started with a quick detour to Cannon Point. The hill to Cannon Point was especially hard on the scooter but it was plenty fast on the straightaways. Cannon Point was an interesting first stop with bunkers, tunnels, and signs telling the history from the Vietnam War.


Bumpy roads but great scenery.


Located about mid-island we stopped to visit the Hospital Cave. This was an eery experience, probably due to the fact we were almost entirely alone wandering the long empty hallways and rooms used as an underground hidden hospital during the Vietnam War. On a lighter note, we also paid a visit to the restaurant across the road and struck a wonderful conversation with the owner. Similar age as us, similar family setup. We had lots to talk about.


Approaching Bến tàu Du lịch Đảo Cát Bà on the north shore of the island. Yes, I copied and pasted that :)


The obligatory: Look, we are on a scooter selfie :)


We hit a full-blown road construction zone with rough patches for about 5 kilometers. Not the best terrain for a scooter.


Cat Ba is preparing for the future. There is no doubt in our minds this destination will gain in popularity.


It seems every available lot is being utilized or re-developed. The terraces around Cat Ba City have construction crews milling about. Dirty, dusty work. Can you see four workmen?


These skilled foot badminton players let me photograph them in action.


Using hand and body language I asked a couple of boxers if it would be okay if I took a few shots.


The bay of Cat Ba Town


We had a wonderful time on Cat Bat Island. The Lan Ha Bay Cruise was amazing and something we will never forget. We enjoyed good meals, had excellent service, got to know the island better from our day trip on the scooter, and from walking the back alleys of Cat Ba Town. We could easily have stayed here longer but it was time to head back to Hanoi where we would spend another couple of days.

The photos in this post are captured using a Fujifilm X-Pro2
Lenses -
XF 35mm f/1.4 R and XF 14mm f/2.8 R

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