Cat Ba is the largest island within Halong Bay on the norther coast of Vietnam. The Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is included in many Vietnam tour packages. Vietnam beach holidays are becoming increasingly popular and when it comes to taking such a holiday in the north, Cat Ba is certainly a place to do it. There are many things to do in Cat Ba rather than just lie on the beach so visitors have plenty of variety as well as the chance to relax.
The best time to visit Cat Ba depends on what you want. The hottest time starts in May for a few months but that is also the rainy season. That does not mean it rains all day every day. There are certainly plenty of hours of sunshine if you go to the beach. There are actually 3 Cat Ba beaches, simply named Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 3. Each of them has umbrellas, sun loungers and chairs that you can rent and there are refreshments with a small restaurant on Cat Co 2 and drinks available elsewhere.
Cat Co 1 is west along the harbour road then left before the Harbour View Hotel. You can surf all year round. Cat Co 2 is left before the Cat Co Beach Resort and is probably the quietest of the three. There is a small bridge connecting 1 and 2. You can actually walk between 1 and 3 and you will be rewarded by some great views over the bay and down to the beach from the cliff path above. Cat 3 is the most recently developed and the busiest of the beaches as a result.
There are alternatives to these beaches if you want to go a little further. Tung Thu beach is 2 kilometres away on the road to the jungle. In addition, there is a tiny island, Monkey Island, minutes away with a kilometre-long beach.
Vietnam has an extensive coastline and there are many fine beaches in the country. If you are simply taking a Vietnam holiday in the north of the country then Cat Ba is a must. You will find tourists, local and overseas, at any time of the year. Halong Bay with its many islands leaves a lasting impression on all of them with Cat Ba a stopping point for everyone cruising its waters.