Cat Ba solo traveller guide – The complete guide 2024


Cat Ba solo traveller guide

Cat Ba  is known as the “Pearl Island”, a rising travel destination in the North of Vietnam. This Cat Ba Solo traveller guide by David from Hanoi Eco Tour is everything you need to know as a solo traveller in Cat Ba Vietnam, including things to do in Cat Ba for a solo traveller, where to eat, how to get around Cat Ba island. 

Cat Ba island is an ideal place to discover for solo traveller since it’s super safe and easy to get around Cat Ba island has interesting things that a solo traveller needs: Quiet, peaceful, lots of fun things to do and lots of natural landscapes.

Why is Cat Ba island good for solo travellers?

Cat Ba is a super safe

It’s super safe to get around Cat Ba island, walking in the evening on your own around Cat Ba town isn’t a big deal. There is a very few traffics on the road so it is much less crowded than Hanoi and you will never find any problem of crossing the street. 

Easy to get around

There are a lot of ways to get around Cat Ba. Riding your own motorbike to explore different parts of the island : The Northern side, the national park, some hidden valleys and more. It’s very safe to get around on a scooter since I have explained to you earlier. The traffic is almost empty except on the weekend. 

You can also hire a push bike or walk around the town. It’s a small town. From luxury accommodations in Cat Ba like

Hôtel Perle d’Orient Cat Ba – MGallery, Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort, which is the further point of the island,  only 20-minute walk to get to the heart of the town.

Read more : How to get to Cat Ba island from Hanoi

Less touristy, quiet, and off the beaten-track

Cat Ba island is way less touristy than Halong, unlike the overrated Halong Bay. You can find your own little beach, away from the crowded, find your own hidden valley that very few people know or there are homestays which is situated off the beaten track, not in the main tourist hubs area. 

Best time to visit Cat Ba – Cat Ba solo traveller guide

From late April to early November. But try to avoid weekend trip from middle May to Middle August since it is the high tourist season for Vietnamese travellers. 

Things to do in Cat Ba for solo traveller

For solo traveller who want to travel slowly, I recommend spending 3 days 2 nights exploring the island. The first day is to explore the national park with a short trek route to Ngu Lam Peak and visit one of the most beautiful limestone caves called Trung Trang. 

The second day is the boat cruise with hidden spots with very few tourists, including kayaking, swimming and sightseeing. If you are not a big fan of kayaking, an alternative route takes you to Viet Hai village for a push bike ride and exploring the island. 

The third day is to explore the local market in Cat Ba, with tons of fresh seafood, meat, vegetables and so on. It’s great to see that in the morning and discover the Canon fort with a great viewpoint to Cat Ba island and the Lan Ha bay

For nightlife in Cat Ba island, walk along the 1/4 street where locals walk and hang out at night. 

Things to do near Cat Ba town in one day for solo travellers

  • Cat Ba National Park: Ngu Lam Peak trekking route (two and a half hours trekking including sightseeing)
  • Long trekking route from the national park to Viet Hai village (four and a half hour trekking) – Daytime trekking is recommended
  • Viet Hai village day trip from Cat Ba
  • The hidden valleys: Blue butterfly and Ao Coi valley

Top tourist attractions for solo travellers in Cat Ba island

Here is the top travel destinations which is good for solo travellers

Canon fort

It’s a great place to enjoy the amazing panoramic view of Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island with a few tourists. You can also learn more about the history of the place during the French War and Vietnam War. 

Pro tips : Morning time is less busy than the afternoon time. The place is open around 9 am but it sometimes closes without prior notice since the place is not a TOURIST ATTRACTION and is managed by the military. 

Canon fort Cat Ba

Canon fort Cat Ba

Hidden valleys in Cat Ba

Ao Coi Valley

Ao Coi valley, Cat Ba

is an awesome place for solo travellers in Cat Ba . This valley is lesser-known by tourists since it’s pretty far from the town of Cat Ba but it’s super quiet, and peaceful and its beauty is amazing. I love it very much. 

We, Hanoi Eco Tour, offer kayaking trekking in this hidden valley, truly off the beaten track, ZERO Tourists. You will be the only one in the area. 

Blue Butterfly valley

Blue Butterfly Valley, Cat Ba

An isolated, peaceful and off-the-beaten-track valley. There is only a road to get to the valley. In the morning, you can see free-ran chickens, water buffaloes and more. 

Sit in a cafe in a hidden corner and enjoying the rustic view of the valley is an amazing experience. 

Cat Ba National Park

There are two trekking routes to choose from : One long and one short. 

Ngu Lam peak (The short option)

It takes 45 minutes to reach Ngu Lam Peak. The trek is easy; you first start with a flat concrete path, then hike up for about 15 minutes to reach the peak. The view is absolutely amazing with limestone outcrops, lush green jungles, and more. 

Please be aware of steep steps, which can be dangerous when it comes to rainy days which makes it slippery and wet. 

Total duration including the hike, taking photos, rest, it may takes 2 hours.

The longer route : The national park – Frog Lake – Viet Hai village

It isn’t for everyone. This trekking route requires a good health condition. Since some part of the trek with tough terrain, you may have to climb the rock which is dangerous without support from the park ranger who know every single rock.

Please bring your cellphone with you and take a note just in case you lose the way or you don’t see the guide. The trekking route which starts from the national park center to Frog lake, then onto Viet Hai village. 

The trek takes around four and a half hours to five hours depending on your physical level.  I did this trek before, its quiet heard but worth doing it if you like outdoor activities. 

Lan ha Bay

swimming lan ha bay

Lan Ha Bay is a must-do on your visit to Cat Ba Island. If you have a better budget, take a private boat tour which takes you cruise off the beaten track to less touristy areas with deserted white sand beaches

The private boat costs around 150 USD, including transfer from/to your hotel in Cat Ba, private wooden boat, tour guide, lunch with seafood menu, entrance fee etc while a seat in coach tour costs around 30 to 50 USD. 

The good thing I like the bay is pretty much the same as Halong Bay but way less touristy. If you are lucky enough, you can find your beach, just for you. 

Beaches in Cat Ba

There are four beaches to choose from: Cat Co 1,2,3 and Tung Thu beach. I think Tung Thu Beach is a bit less touristy since it’s away from the main town so fewer people

I saw big tourist buses that took Asian tourists in this spot so it can be busy in the afternoon but still fewer people than beaches in the town area.

For beaches in the town area, Cat Co 2 might be the best choices 

Where to eat for solo travellers in Cat Ba 

There is a mix of local eateries and tourist restaurants in Cat Ba. Based on your budget and preference, there are options to choose from 

Local eateries in Cat Ba island

Viet Hai restaurant with morning dish called Banh Da Cua (Fresh water crab meat soup with brown noodle)

Mai Lieu local restaurant in Ha Sen street for a buffet rice meal for both lunch and dinner

Banh Mi Hoian in Ha Sen street for Banh Mi sandwich

Tourist standard restaurants in Cat Ba 

  • Quan Cat Ba family restaurants for Vietnamese food and seafood. Good location, located in 1/4 street which is the heart of town
  • Oasis bar and restaurant: They serve both Vietnamese and Western food. There are also good cocktails to choose from. I would say it’s a party-friendly restaurant
  • Yummy restaurant: Good for local cuisine and seafood. Located in Nui Ngoc Street which is very close to the heart of Cat Ba town. 
  • Casa Bonita: One of the best restaurants in Cat Ba for solo travellers with good services and great food. They serve both Western and Vietnamese food
  • Celery Vegan Restaurant: Vegan-friendly food 
  • Quang Anh Floating Restaurant: A great place to enjoy the sunset and enjoy yummy fresh seafood dinner. 
  • Ganesh Indian Restaurant: Top choice for Indian food.

Where to drink in Cat Ba

Here is some of the best cafes in Cat Ba for solo travellers

Lepont Bar sunset view

Highly recommend enjoying the sunset and it’s quiet since it is far away from the heart of the town

Kayak Coffee

 Rooftop view and more. The drinks are served quick. 

Guna Tea Coffee 

A great place to try out Milk tea and Egg coffee

Where to stay in Cat Ba

There is lots of choices for accommodation in Cat Ba, based on your budget. This is a list of top choices hotels in Cat Ba which is good for travelling solo in Cat Ba 

Deluxe hotels in Cat Ba

Room rate : $50 to 70 USD per room per night

  • Cat Ba Paradise hotel 
  • Hung Long Habour hotel
  • Cong Khanh Boutique Inn (new place – highly recommend

Superior hotels in Cat Ba

Room rate : $30 to $55 USD per room per night 

  • Quiri hotel 
  • Whisper nature bungalow
  • Cat Ba View Hotel
  • Cat Ba Eco Lodge
  • Roza Palace
  • The Moon boutique hotel (new Place)
  • Cat Ba Spring homestay
  • Sadu Garden Inn

Standard accommodation in Cat Ba 

  • Sweet potato homestay
  • Cat Ba Violet Hotel 
  • Cat Ba mountain view

Travel budget for Cat Ba of a solo traveller

Items Expenses in American Dollar
Food (restaurant food) 12 (Lunch + Dinner)
Drink (restaurant) 4 (Restaurant)
Activities (Entrance fee)  10
Transport (Taxi, Grab or motorbike) 10
Accommodation (Budget hotel) 20
Total amount  56

Rate for tours in and around Cat Ba(All rate in American Dollar)

Item Seat in coach tour  Private tour
Lan Ha Bay full day tour 30 to 50 150
Food tour 27 40
Half day trekking tour (The national park) 25 70
Cat Ba 2 days 1 night 80 250
Cycling tour full-day 35 75
Sunset on Lan Ha Bay 25 86

Included: English speaking guide, lunch, transfer, entrance fee

Good tour companies for a private tour

  • Cat Ba Venture
  • Smile Tour
  • Hanoi Eco Tour
  • Cat Ba express
  • Cat Ba Vision

Local advice: Contact a private local guide in Cat Ba to show you around, which will help you save time, and money with a flexible schedule.

Cat Ba itinerary  for Solo travellers– How to spend 3 days in Cat Ba 

A local guide in Cat Ba suggests this Cat Ba itinerary  

Day 1 : Cat Ba for nature lover (DIY or guided tour)

  • Trekking the national park
  • Trung Trang Cave
  • Hidden valleys

Day 2 : Lan Ha Bay boat tour (DIY or guided tour)

  • Dark and Light cave or the Three Peaches beach area
  • Viet Hai village or Tai Keo area
  • Monkey island
  • Chill out at Lepont after the tour to enjoy sunset

Day 3 : Half-day sightseeing Cat Ba

  • Canon fort
  • Cat Ba local market

If you are looking for tours in Cat Ba , Hanoi Eco is happy to help!

Top cool things to do for first-time travelling solo in Cat Ba island

  1. Having a beer of a drink to enjoy the sunset at Lepont bar
  2. Enjoying fresh seafood in a floating restaurant
  3. Admire the great panoramic view at the submit of Canon fort
  4. Taking a private boat tour on Lan Ha Bay
  5. Riding the motorbike to explore the Northern side of the islands and hidden valleys

8. Top frequently asked questions about travelling solo in Cat Ba island

Private guided Tours for solo travellers from Cat Ba

1.Private Lan Ha bay private day cruise from Cat Ba 

Private Lan ha Bay day tour from Cat ba/Hai Phong

We hope this Cat Ba solo traveller guide by Hanoi Eco Tour will help you some ways to plan a trip when travelling solo in Hanoi. 

Other travel guides about travelling solo in other destinations in Vietnam

Hanoi Solo traveller guide

Ninh Binh Solo Traveller guide


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