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HomeSorted by levelB2 - Upper IntermediateCat Ba unveiled: a 48-hour escape to serenity

Cat Ba unveiled: a 48-hour escape to serenity

[Reading level: B2 – Upper Intermediate]

Cat Ba Island beckons not just in the summertime, but also in the embrace of autumn or the early whispers of winter, offering an enchanting escape for nature lovers.


This travel plan has been put together on recommendations from Son Nguyen, an officer at Cat Ba National Park. The plan is designed to meet the needs and preferences of individuals traveling from Hanoi or Hai Phong, especifically those looking for a weekend getaway with a touch of outdoor adventure.



Day 1

Cat Ba is about 124 kilometers from Hanoi, and about 33 kilometers from Hai Phong City. Visitors can start their journey from Hanoi and head towards the Dong Bai Ferry. For those starting their journey from the center of Hai Phong, it’s a 30-minute drive to Cat Ba.


Consider having breakfast either in central Hai Phong or at stops along the Hanoi-Hai Phong Highway, where you can discover several eateries offering banh da cua, a specialty crab noodle soup from Hai Phong. This dish includes flat, brown noodles cooked with crab meat, shrimp, pork wrapped in lolot leaves, and other veggies.


During the off-season, ferry crossings are fast and efficient. Once you’ve purchased your tickets, you can board a ferry promptly. Even when there’s a line, the average waiting time is only about 30 minutes.


Post-summer peak departures from Dong Bai Ferry on Cat Hai Island run from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Meanwhile, departures from Cai Vieng Wharf to Cat Ba Island run from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., departing every half-hour.


Once landing at the Cat Ba ferry terminal, travelers will traverse one of the most beautiful roads in Vietnam to reach the central part of the island.


A segment of the coastal road on Cat Ba Island. – Một đoạn đường ven biển trên đảo Cát Bà.

Morning of day 1

Visitors can embrace the cool weather with a trek through Cat Ba National Park, an experience tailored for the season. The entrance fee is VND80,000 ($3.30) per person, though package tours may include this cost.


The hike can commence at 8:30 or 9:00 a.m., and you can opt for either a 6-kilometer or 10-kilometer trek.


Embarking on the 10-kilometer hike provides a journey through diverse forest ecosystems and exposes visitors to precious tree species. The route encompasses a range of terrain, from flat forest stretches to steep climbs, primarily medium-height cliffs, with only a few short, steep segments. For a comfortable trek, it’s advisable to wear shoes with good grip, and bring snacks.


Noteworthy spots along the trek include May Bau Peak and Frog Pond, with the hike concluding at Viet Hai Village. The entire trek takes approximately 4 hours, allowing for a leisurely pace with breaks to rejuvenate.


There is also a shorter 2-kilometer route to Ngu Lam Peak, returning to the national park’s gate after visiting Trung Trang cave, which takes about 2 hours.


A relatively even and easy-to-walk hiking segment through the forest. – Đoạn đường đi bộ xuyên rừng tương đối bằng phẳng và dễ đi.
This and other locations along with the trekking path allows visitors to enjoy stunning scenery. – Địa điểm này và các địa điểm khác cùng với con đường đi bộ cho phép du khách thưởng thức phong cảnh tuyệt đẹp.
Travelers will come across notable locations, including Frog Pond, along the route. – Du khách sẽ đi qua những địa điểm đáng chú ý, bao gồm Ao Ếch, dọc theo tuyến đường.

Afternoon of day 1

In the early afternoon, travelers make their way back to Viet Hai Village. Nestled deep within Cat Ba National Park, this small fishing village is home to approximately 400 residents, offering essential services like accommodations, meals, and massages for post-trek relaxation.


The late lunch options predominantly feature locally grown food. Visitors can pre-order dishes, including seafood and vegetables.


Travelers can also indulge in a fish massage, a spa treatment where individuals place their feet into a tank of water containing small fish, priced at VND50,000 ($2) per person. These fish nibble on dead skin cells, creating an exfoliating and massaging effect on the person’s feet.


Following this, one should take the chance to explore the village via bicycle, or take a leisurely stroll while relishing the sunset. If you decide to stay overnight in the village, you’ll receive a complimentary bicycle to use anytime. For day visitors, the rental fee is VND50,000.


Evening of day 1

Guests have the option to dine in certain village residences that accommodate reservations for barbecue parties. These establishments are familiar with serving and preparing a variety of dishes, including Western cuisine.


Accommodations can be found in Viet Hai village. Long Phuong Bungalow stands out as one of the popular rental establishments, providing a variety of private rooms for 2-4 people at prices ranging from VND500,000 to VND700,000 (around $20.69 to $29) per room.


Additionally, numerous homestays in the village offer more economical alternatives, typically priced between VND200,000 to VND300,000.


Morning of day 2

You can start your day with a budget-friendly breakfast featuring dishes such as noodle soup or vermicelli noodles paired with seafood, priced between VND20,000 to VND25,000 per serving.


After having breakfast, one should head to the pier to explore Lan Ha Bay. During the boat tour, the cruise will pass by well-known locations like Cai Beo floating village, said to be the oldest of its kind in Vietnam. Cai Beo is considered a living museum of Vietnamese fishing culture. Rua and Mo islands are also great places to visit.


The journey wouldn’t be complete without at least a brief stop at Tay Keo Beach for 1-2 hours of serene relaxation. While swimming is recommended during the summer, kayaking is considered ideal for the autumn and winter seasons.


A route from Viet Hai village to the pier. – Tuyến đường từ làng Việt Hải tới bến tàu.
Scenery observed during the cruise in Lan Ha Bay. – Phong cảnh quan sát được khi du thuyền trên vịnh Lan Hạ.
A small island within Lan Ha Bay – Một hòn đảo nhỏ trong vịnh Lan Hạ

Noon and afternoon of day 2

It is noted that floating houses serving food and drinks in Lan Ha Bay are no longer allowed. After a bay trip, tourists arrive at Ben Beo Harbor around noon for lunch on the island. Recommended restaurants include Hai Yen, Huyen Beo, Vien Duong, and Lang Chai. The food options are diverse, featuring seafood, beef, pork, and hot pots.


Before leaving the island, visitors should take a car journey across Cat Ba Island to appreciate its beauty and tranquility.



To return to the mainland, they should arrive at Cai Vieng ferry terminal by 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. Son advises avoiding late arrivals, especially close to the last ferry trip, to prevent potential disruptions to tourists’ schedules.


The backdrop behind Ben Beo Harbour is characterized by lush greenery. – Phông nền phía sau Cảng Bến Bèo đặc trưng bởi cây xanh tươi tốt.

For those looking for a relaxing experience, the suggestion is to stay in town, where resorts like Perle d’Orient Cat Ba-MGallery or Flamingo Cat Ba, located in the Cat Co beach area, provide hot mineral baths. Another option is for tourists to spend the night on a cruise ship in Lan Ha Bay.




beckon /ˈbek.ən/ (v): mời gọi

embrace /ɪmˈbreɪs/ [C1] (v): cái ôm

whisper /ˈwɪs.pɚ/ [B2] (n): lời thì thầm

enchanting /ɪnˈtʃæn.t̬ɪŋ/ (adj): đầy mê hoặc

escape /ɪˈskeɪp/ (n): lối thoát

getaway /ˈɡet̬.ə.weɪ/ (n – informal): kỳ nghỉ (tránh xa ồn ào, áp lực cuộc sống)

adventure /ədˈven.tʃɚ/ (n): chuyến phiêu lưu

ferry /ˈfer.i/ [B1] (n): phà

eatery /ˈiː.t̬ɚ.ri/ (n – informal): quán ăn

lolot leave (n): lá lốt

veggie /ˈvedʒ.i/ (n): rau

off-season /ˈɑːf.siː.zən/ (n): mùa thấp điểm

peak /piːk/ (n): đỉnh điểm, đỉnh núi

departure /dɪˈpɑːr.tʃɚ/ (n): khởi hành

depart /dɪˈpɑːrt/ [B1] (v): khởi hành

wharf /wɔːrf/ (n): bến tàu

traverse /trəˈvɝːs/ (v – formal): băng qua

trek /trek/ (n): chuyến đi bộ

tailored /ˈteɪ·lərd/ (adj): dành riêng cho cái gì

hike /haɪk/ (n): chuyến đi bộ

commence /kəˈmens/ [C2] (v): bắt đầu

embark on sth /ɪmˈbɑːrk/ (v): bắt đầu làm gì đó

encompass /ɪnˈkʌm.pəs/ (v – formal): bao gồm

terrain /təˈreɪn/ (n): địa hình

cliff /klɪf/ (n): vách đá

segment /ˈseɡ.mənt/ (n): đoạn

grip /ɡrɪp/ (n): độ bám

leisurely /ˈliː.ʒɚ.li/ (adj): nhàn nhã

pace /peɪs/ [B2] (n): tốc độ

rejuvenate /rɪˈdʒuː.vən.eɪt/ (v): lấy lại sức

nestle /ˈnes.əl/ (v): ẩn mình

predominantly /prɪˈdɑː.mə.nə [C2] (adv): chủ yếu

indulge in sth /ɪnˈdʌldʒ/ [C2] (v): tận hưởng cái gì

nibble /ˈnɪb.əl/ (v): gặm nhấm

exfoliate /eksˈfoʊ.li.eɪt/ (v): tẩy tế bào chết

stroll /stroʊl/ [C1] (v): đi dạo

relish /ˈrel.ɪʃ/ [C2] (v): ngắm, thưởng thức

reservation /ˌrez.ɚˈveɪ.ʃən/ (n): đặt chỗ

establishment /ɪˈstæb.lɪʃ.mənt/ [C1] (n): cơ sở

stand out [B2] (v): nổi bật

economical /ˌiː.kəˈnɑː.mɪ.kəl/ [B2] (adj): tiết kiệm

alternative /ɑːlˈtɝː.nə.t̬ɪv/ [B2] (n): lựa chọn thay thế

budget-friendly (adj): giá rẻ, bình dân

pier /pɪr/ (n): bến tàu

serene /səˈriːn/ [C2] (adj): thanh thản

diverse /dɪˈvɝːs/ [B2] (adj): đa dạng

tranquility /træŋˈkwɪl.ə.ti/ (n): sự yên bình

disruption /dɪsˈrʌp.ʃən/ (n): gián đoạn

mineral bath /ˈmɪn.ər.əl bæθ/ (n): tắm khoáng


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