We we're lucky. Good weather, warm enough for swimming both days, once just off the boat, another time to a little beach at the foot of a cliff. We kayaked through a cave where ladies were hunting shellfish to an inlet surrounded by mountains. Our boat was small, 5 cabins. We lucked out again, assigned the biggest cabin with windows on three sides. Meals were fantastic. We anchored overnight at some distance from other boats. Quiet. Our guide, Guyen, explained the area history, guided us through a fish farm, talked a little about the war, and was very pleasant. We had good transport to and from Hanoi.
Our family of 3 did the 2D/1N tour of Halong bay, leaving from Cat Ba. Everything was superbly well organised for us, from our hotel pick up in Hanoi, to our bus trip back to Hanoi and drop off right near the hotel. There were about 10 other people on our trip, they were all so lovely. We had a huge room on the boat, very comfy beds. The cruising around the bay was really extensive, we covered a lot of ground, the scenery absolutely stunning. We loved the kayaking, going through caves and finding beautiful lagoons. We spotted squirrels and golden monkeys surrounding one lagoon., very exciting. Although it was quite cool, many of us went swimming, I'm so pleased we did. The places they took us were not crowded at all, in some places our was the only boat there. The food was plentiful and delicious. Finally, our guides Ben and Tomas were lovely, full of information and enthusiastic. I would highly recommend this trip. Thank you Ben and Tomas!
Starting from Cat Ba we were far from main Halong bay trip and had enjoy a very peaceful boating. It's a good solution to avoid the "classical" trip into Halong bay.
The 2 kayak courses were amazing with beautiful lagoon and animals (monkey, squirrel, birds, etc.), even with 3 young children (6 to 10).
We have also enjoy the food on the boat with multiple local dishes.
I went on a 2D/1N boat trip in the beginning of january.
The scenery is beautiful and the places to kayak were great. The atmosphere on the boat was very nice and everyone had a good time together. Our group were small, which probably made the experience even better. The rooms were nice and the vegetarian food was good.
The night was spent in a bay close to other boats, but with no noise from them.
The guide, Cong, was very friendly, spoke very good English and told a lot of interesting things about Vietnamese culture and history. If you can, ask to get him as your guide.
I would recommend going on this trip!
However, I drove with the CatBa ventures bus from Cat Ba to Ninh Binh. The bus was good and the staff friendly, but driver drove very bad and were in the other side of the road most of the time to overtake. He made the cars in the opposite direction stop completely, because they would otherwise crash. So I cannot recommend the busses.
We visited Cat Ba Island with Cat Ba Ventures for 3 days. We spent most of the time on the water, swimming, kayaking, exploring caves by kayak, or just lazing around. Staff was very well organized and professional. They were responsive to requests or problem resolution. They made sure we arrived and departed safely with very clear and explicit directions about what to do and what not to do. It was a safe, very enjoyable, and educational 3 days.