My first impression of Cat Ba Island was of a ghost city. I was there in October in the shoulder season. Streets were empty with nobody to see in restaurants/shops, and if you add a grey sky to that, you can easily see how it looked a dark place. Although my first impression wasn’t far for the truth, I realized that I arrived in mid-afternoon where most of the tourists are on various tours or activities offered from Cat Ba Island. Later in the night, the town was suddenly live.
I was starving, thus looking for a spot to eat. While walking in the main street, fronting the sea, there were only two restaurants with few people inside. I decided to check-in at one of the two, the Oasis Bar. I tried the spaghetti Carbonara; the dish was good especially since I previously only had rice my entire time in Vietnam.
After eating, I had to look for a place to sleep. Since it was the low season, there was an abundance of free room; I negotiated the price down quite easily. I stayed at a hotel for 6 USD a night which included a private room with double bed, a TV, a shower, and as a little bonus a Sea view. Don’t get excited the room was just ok, few stains on the sheets, the TV signal was shaky, internet wasn’t working, but well, I didn’t care about those things. In any case, when it comes to accommodation in Cat Ba Island there is everything for everyone, from Luxury resorts with private beach to backpacking/guesthouse hotel. Just keep in mind to Negotiate!
After eating, finding a place to sleep, I was looking on what to do for the next few days in the island. In Cat Ba Island itself there is not much to do, people come here as a cheaper alternative to the various Halong Bay boat cruise tours.
I found a day tour that included Halong Bay, Monkey Island, snorkeling, kayaking, etc. Stay Tunes to hear more about the tour.