1. Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba is the largest island in the vicinity of Ha Long Bay . The island has a few fishing and farming villages as well as a fast growing town. Lan Ha Bay, off the eastern side of the island, is especially scenic and offers numerous beaches to explore. About 1km southeast from Cat Ba, two white sand beaches named Cat Co 1 and 2 are also attractive to make a great pace to lounge around for the day
1.1 What to do?
Hilights of visits at Cat Ba are boat trips to outlying islands and enjoy deserted beach set in turquoise-blue sea water, swimming at nice beaches within walking distance from the town and hiking at Cat Ba National Park, Viet Hai fishing village, Rock climbing – Deep water soloing, Sailing around Lan Ha Bay, snorkeling combine cruise around Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay , caving, Kayaking, visiting Hospital Cave. Motor bike – independent, enjoy fresh local vilage…
1.2 When to go?
The best weather to visit Cat Ba is from late September until November, when the air and temperature is mild and skies are mostly clear. December to February is cooler but still pleasant. The period from March to April, rain is common while from June through August, it is hot and humid.
1.3 What kind of accommodation in Cat Ba?
Hotels range from budget to five-star and bungalow on the beach. Deluxe rooms are only in the 3 star hotel and resort on the beach. Cat Ba Ventures will help you have a nice place to stay in Cat Ba with a good price, good value.
1.4 What’s the difference between a Double room, a Twin Room and Triple room?
A double room has one double bed. A twin room has two single beds. Triple room has one double bed and 1 extra bed or two single bed + 1 extra bed. Extra bed is not available in all types of room. Some hotels and resorts do not arrange extra beds in Run Of House room.
1.5 How can I request an early check-in or late check-out time ?
Early check-in or late check-out should be requested directly with the hotel. Extra charges might be applied.
1.6 Can I use a credit card and visa card to get cash in Cat Ba?
Yes, There are some Gold Shop in Cat Ba where you can get cash by Visa card, credit card, American express. But the gold shop will charge you 5% commission.
There are two ATM (one from Agribank and one from Sai Gon Bank) in Cat Ba town.
2. Ha Long Bay
2.1 When is the best time to visit Halong Bay?
Summer and from September – November is a good time to cruise on Halong Bay but the best time of year is during the spring or fall. Because the bay is situated in the northern part of the country, it can get colder in the fall and winter, and though you won’t see extremes such as blizzards, it’s still a lousy place to be when it gets cold.
Tip: You should bring a swim suit with you, night’s swim in the phosphorescent water is also very nice (must be before your drinks)
2.2 How far is that from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
HaLong Bay is located 170 km away from Hanoi, this would take you about 3 – 3.5 hours on bus transfer to Halong city, bus trip normally leaves Hanoi by 8.30 am.
We will be hitting the road for Halong Bay through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life.
2.3 Can we travel from Hai Phong to Halong Bay?
Yes, you can! If you are already there in Hai Phong, you can call iExplore Travel to have a car and guide pick you up from there and drive to , which should be less than 1,5 hours.
Or you can plan a trip with iExplore Travel from Hanoi to Hai Phong city, do the sightseeing, spend the night there then move onto Halong on the next morning.
Tip: The best way to explore Ha Long Bay is from Cat Ba island (South of Halong Bay). We start boat trip from Cat Ba is more beautiful and less touristy than from Ha Long city.
2.4 What about seasick on boat?
If you look on Vietnam map, you will see Halong lies on the Tonkin Gulf with lots of island that made up Halong Bay. With its calm water, Halong Bay really acts as a shield that stops all the violent wave, so it’s hard to get sea sick in Halong Bay.
Only some of the routes that the junks cruise can be close to open sea that the junk was swinging up and down. But once the junk was surrounded by Halong Bay unique limestone islands, it became stable again.
Tip: When the junk gets swinging, do not walk around on boat to avoid seasick.
2.5 What if the weather turns very bad?
Cat Ba Ventures often see the weather forecast, if the weather turns bad, we have to call our clients to inform the situation whether it’s safe to go. Same with Halong Bay, we work closely with our captains and will inform you before you leave Hanoi to Halong Bay so that you do not waste the day traveling on road.
If the weather turns bad while you are cruising, we could anchor our junk at the hidden places, this is normally safe and Cat Ba Ventures has not witnessed any bad weather that we have to hide in a cave.
2.6 Do you have life jackets on boat?
Yes, that is one requirement for any boat/junk in Halong Bay.
Tip: If you do not see this when boarding the junk, please ask for the instruction from the crew member or our captain.
2.7 Is one day trip to Halong Bay worth to visit?
Halong Bay is so beautiful that one could not miss; though 3 hours drive each way is a bit long for somebody. You will get about 6-8 hours on the boat with Cat Ba Ventures, which is just enough for you to get an overview of what is Halong. We suggest that you drive to Halong city and sleep in the hotel the night before, so you would have a longer time on the Bay, more cruise, more caves, and more swimming.
Tip: To see Halong and its all, you should plan a 2 day trip with iExplore Travel . Please contact Mr Tung: + 84912467016 or via email to know more about this.
2.8 How many caves in Halong Bay will we visit?
We will embark on the boat for a cruise amongst the islands and islets of this stunning Halong bay. We will visit ONE cave on our 1 or 2 day trip, however, if you wish to visit more than one cave, we have to plan this well prior to departure so that our captain know where to go and please be informed an extra fee for each additional cave you plan to see.
Note: If the weather turns bad, we all have to follow the captain’s instruction, cave visit or extra cruise can be canceled without prior notice.
2.9 What kind of boat do you use?
There are many types of boats we often use the small Vietnamese wooden sailing boat and small junks for your private tours that combine classic beauty with modern comfort. These junks for overnight trip is often with very fine cabins, one restaurant and a very spacious top deck area with reclining chairs for you to enjoy Halong and the sound of silence.
Tip: Halong Bay is beautiful so enjoy it with our sailing boat and Junks since our attention to detail has been put into all aspects of comfort and viewing pleasure.
3.0 Can we sleep outside on the top deck of the boat?
Yes, it is very nice to sleep outside there on the top-deck but please check this with our tour guide or the junk’s captain if the weather is fine to sleep outside. To note that we have very fine cabins designed with comforts of everything needed for a good sleep: natural rubber mattress, blanket, feather pillows and mosquito net and we can not bring this outside for you.
Tip: That night we all stayed up drinking talking about home and watching the shooting stars from the top deck. It was a wonderful time!
3.1 Where does the boat anchor at night time?
Afternoon cruise to see the hidden wonders of Halong Bay, Cat Ba Ventures captain will find a quiet place in a private lagoon, no boat around or near by our boat to anchor for the night, this place is normally inside the very calm bay.
Tip: Before we drop the anchor for the night, you will probably see the sunset so get your camera ready to take these wonderful moments.
3.2 Do we have to bring passport for sleeping aboard?
Yes you do have to bring it with you on boat and please provide us your full names, gender, passport number, visa expire date before your departure to Halong Bay.
Tip: Each boat/junk has it own safety box, please do leave your valuable belongings in this safety box so that you can have more fun visiting cave, swimming…
3.3 What do we have to bring with us to the boat?
Sun cream, insect repellent
Small changes for buying drinks on boat
Swim-suit and changes
Your own towels (though we have towels available)
Good camera with lots of films or memory space
A sense of adventures
3.4 What kind of food on boat in Halong Bay?
Most of the meals offered with seafood as Halong Bay specialty is seafood; there is lots of sea dishes combined with traditional Vietnamese food, I’m sure you will like the food on boat, if you are allergic with seafood, please inform your meal preference to our tour operator before your departure to Halong Bay.