What is the highlight for your past summer? If you had to pick one place for the comeback list in the future, what would it be? When I was asked that question, I had my answer already in my head - Cat Ba Island.
 

 
What is the highlight for your past summer? If you had to pick one place for the comeback list in the future, what would it be? When I was asked that question, I had my answer already in my head - Cat Ba Island. 
 
Cat Ba isn’t like anywhere else on the planet. It’s raw and rugged. Cat Ba is the neighborhood of Ha Long Bay; therefore, not so many people have chosen Cat Ba as a destination to reach instead. It’s the same as when you are so charming and beautiful but you live next to a Miss World. No one would spend time to glance at you when they come across the neighbor. They are too busy looking for the Miss World.

I decided to go to Cat Ba as I was invited by my ‘friend’ which later was changed with a pre-fix ‘boy’. He’s my boyfriend now but it is another story though which we can talk in a bar. I would love to share about some tips and tricks you could use when travelling through Cat Ba Island to transform your friend into your boyfriend.
Lots of people visit Cat Ba by motorbike but I highly recommend you to take a bus. Save the energy buddies! The motorbike trip would definitely tire you and take you a huge amount of time to lie down and recover instead of discovering the alluring island. With the endless list of newest bus and tour services from Hanoi to Cat Ba or even from way further points like Sapa to Cat Ba, you can relax on a bus with snack, Wi-Fi, free water and go wild on the place which is worth it.

I took a bus operated by Cat Ba Express with just $10 (It was the promotion nevertheless and the recent price is about $16. You’d better be up to date with the information about promotions – there are a lot! Seriously.)
 
 

Here’s the newest schedule of the bus to travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba:

Economic bus ($16)
   PICK UP TIME  HA NOI - DINH VU DINH VU - CAI VIENG  CAI VIENG - CAT BA  PRICE USD/ PAX
 TRANSPORTATION    BUS  SPEED BOAT  BUS  
 TIME    2 hours  30 minutes  45 minutes  
 DEPART - ARRIVE  7.45 - 8.15  8.15 - 10.15  10.15 - 10.45  10.45 - 11.30 16
 DEPART - ARRIVE  11.15 - 11.45  11.45 - 13.45  13.45 - 14.15  14.15 - 15.00  16
 DEPART - ARRIVE  14.15 - 14.45  14.45 - 16.45  16.45 - 17.15  17.15 - 18.00  16

Luxury bus ($25)
 DURATION  PICK UP TIME  HANOI - DINH VU  DINH VU - CAI VIENG  CAI VIENG - CAT BA  PRICE USD/PAX
 TRANSPORTATION    Open Bus  Speed Boat  Open Bus  
 TIME    2 hours  30 minutes  45 minutes  
 DEPART - ARRIVE  11.15 - 11.45  11.45 - 13.45  13.45 - 14.15  14.15 - 15.00  25
 

From Cat Ba to Hanoi:

Economic bus ($16)
 DURATION  PICK UP TIME  CAT BA - CAI VIENG  CAI VIENG - DINH VU  DINH VU - HANOI  PRICE USD/ PAX
 TRANSPORTATION    Open bus  Speed Boat  Open bus  
 TIME    45 minutes  30 minutes  2 hours  
 DEPART - ARRIVE  8.30 - 9.00  9.00 - 9.45  9.45 - 10.15  10.15 - 12.15  16
 DEPART - ARRIVE   12.00 - 12.30  12.30 - 13.15  13.15 - 13.45  13.45 - 15.45  16
 DEPART - ARRIVE  15.00 - 15.30  15.30 - 16.15  16.15 - 17.00  17.00 - 19.99 16

Luxury bus ($25)
 DURATION  PICK UP TIME  CAT BA - CAI VIENG  CAI VIENG - DINH VU  DINH VU - HA NOI  PRICE (USD/ PAX)
 TRANSPORTATION    Open bus  Speed Boat  Open bus  
 TIME    45 minutes  30 minutes  2 hours  
 DEPART - ARRIVE  12.00 - 12.30  12.30 - 13.15  13.15 - 13.45  13.45 - 15.45  25
 

For more information, you can have a look at Cat Ba Bus.

 
Taking a nap on the pier at Beo Port 
 
Perfect beach scene in Cat Ba
The National Park was the part I was keenest to visit. It offers a beautiful and diverse range of ecosystems to explore and indulge in the tranquility.
We visited some homestays in the area near Beo Port because I wanted to live and hang out with the locals. There would be few chances to do that once you enter the town of Cat Ba which has become urban clusters with a lot of touristic services such as hotel, restaurants and bars. That should not be taken as a demerit though. For those who are accustomed with the organized chaos and bustling streets of big cities, reconnecting with the nature may after a while make you feel hampered sometimes in your plans to order food or buy stuffs at short notice, let alone it would possibly evoke a terrible sense of being left out of the party. The town of Cat Ba is located there, several miles from the absolute nature site, acting as a salvation of such moment.
 
For a more authentic experience, we visited a few nearby islands. We hung out with the locals on Monkey Island and fed tropical monkey!  
Then when we visited the Viet Hai village, we received an epic welcome from the locals. A friendly islander chopped a coconut off the tree for me and gave me a straw, and I realized how beautifully simple life here was.

 
Looking around, people didn’t have hundreds of possessions, clothing or technology, but they seemed at peace with their surroundings. But right now, they seemed happy to welcome us, keen to share their world. It was special to see, and I think for me, reminded me of what’s important. When I feel stressed, I often think back to that island and those kids. It brings a smile to my face.

My travels to Cat Ba were magical, beautiful and above all – inspirational. It’s a place I dream about and would love to return to one day. I just pray it’s as special the second time around as it was the first
 
 
Perfect sunset in Cat Ba
British Airways Holidays has teamed up with HuffPost Travel to celebrate those amazing little moments that make your holiday unforgettable. Share your favourite holiday moment and you’ll be entered into a draw to win a city break to Rome.

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