There are plenty of things to do in Vietnam. You can get a Vietnam customised holiday to cover your special interests with an experienced Vietnam travel agent able to provide all the advice you might need and then to make all the necessary arrangements. Almost certainly, a good agency will say that when it comes to places to visit in Vietnam, Halong Bay on the north-east coast should be included in your itinerary. Cat Ba is the largest island of many in this Bay which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. When it comes to the best time to visit in Vietnam, its climate varies from region to region yet there is not a single month when it is not a country that can provide a lovely holiday.
It is certainly worth devoting some time to Cat Ba Island with a few places to visit if you have the time:
• Cannon Fort was built on the Island in 1942 for defensive purposes. It is just 2 kilometres from Cat Ba Town. Inevitably, defensive positions have great views and you will not be disappointed by the views you get from the Fort over Lan Ha Bay. They are especially impressive at sunset.
• There are a number ofcaves on the Island and how many you decide to visit may well depend upon what else has been included in your Vietnam tour itinerary over the next days. Perhaps if your time is limited, you should look at Hospital Cave which was indeed a hospital and a hideout during the Vietnam War.
• Cat Ba National Park occupies the eastern part of the Island, both land and sea. There is a watch tower worth a visit if the path is dry though it is no longer in good condition and climbing is prohibited. However, the views are great anyway. If you are really lucky, you may see the endangered Cat Ba (golden-tailed) langur of which there are only about 60 surviving today.
• Viet Hai fishing village is a great experience, especially if you are just beginning your holiday and have yet to meet locals. You will do so here, people living as generations have before them. The people are poor but their lives are rich. With increasing tourist numbers, there will be more money coming.
• Cua Van is a floating fishing village of wooden houses, the largest of four in Halong Bay and the only one with a primary school. It is another great place to observe daily life and learn more about how ordinary fishermen and their families live.
• Monkey Island gets its name because of the monkey population. It is near to Cat Ba and easily accessible by boat. The commonspecies is the long-tailed macaque which is not indigenous and was taken there to appeal to tourists. You should be careful because these macaques are used to being fed.
When you leave this coastal region, you are certain to have many fond memories, and hopefully plenty of good photographs to reinforce them.