Cat Ba island
Cat Ba island is a fantastic treasure off the Vietnamese coast. The island has plenty to offer from beaches to caves and we also got to enjoy cruising through the islands on a boat trip.
We found a sweeter local guesthouse (Nha Nghi) towards the western part of the main hotel strip. It was a lot cheaper than the high rise buildings along the front at only 150,000 a night. This was also a lot quieter so we could get to bed early and also to have a more genuine interaction with the local people.
There are three beaches only a few kilometres east from the town and this was our first time in salty water in a long time. The water is nice and warm and the view of pinnacles is spectacular.
Cat Ba is also a great alternative to all the touristic options visiting Halong Bay from Hanoi. From there you can easily visit two different bays; Halong and Bai Tu Long. We decided to use Cat Ba Venture Tours to visit the two beauties and it was good overall. We usually don't like going on organised tours, but sometimes there's no other option.
We rented a motorbike to visit to northern tip of the island, (30km north to south) and then returned on the western road, offering a change of scenery but a rougher road surface. This is all possible on a bicycle and we wish we would’ve done so, but the weather and time was against us on the few days we where there.