Photo: The view from Cannon Fort.


Cat Ba Harbour

Practically every place to stay in Cat Ba is located along the harbour road (1-4 Street) or the Nui Ngoc loop. For our purposes, we'll refer to the two branches as Nui Ngoc (east) and Nui Ngoc (west). It's rare for places to include breakfast – we've mentioned it if breakfast is included, otherwise assume it's not.

Nam Phuong Motel
Backpacker - Under US$10
188, 1/4 Street, Cat Ba Island
T: (01696) 941 996

We loved this hotel, despite the beds being as hard as boards – that's probably what they're made of – and the pillows not much softer. It's got three things going for it. Firstly, the staff are courteous and friendly (not always the case in Cat Ba); secondly, the rooms are bright and spacious with fantastic views of the bay through floor to ceiling windows and thirdly, it's cheap. If you... Read our full review of Nam Phuong Motel.

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Cat Ba Harbour Inn
Backpacker - Under US$10
309 Nui Ngoc Rd (East), Cat Ba Island
T: (031) 388 8324

We couldn't find the Cat Ba Harbour Inn at first but when we did we wondered how we'd missed it: it's a huge green building, although in our defence is set back off the road. It's also an odd place, with dining tables and chairs on the ground floor that would look more at home in a Vietnamese conference room and a large area upstairs furnished with just a couple of fake leather sofas we doubt... Read our full review of Cat Ba Harbour Inn.

Cat Ba Sea View
Flashpacker - US$10 to 20
220, 1/4 Street, Cat Ba Island
T: (031) 388 8210

Located on the junction of 1-4 Street and Nui Nuoc (West), from the outside Cat Ba Sea View looks more expensive than it actually is. For a large hotel with elevator, reasonably comfortable beds, good rain showers and sea views, it's a good deal if you want a slight upgrade from the usual $12 options. Rooms vary in style, size and bathrooms – some are wet rooms and some have cubicles – so try... Read our full review of Cat Ba Sea View.

Hoa Phuong Hotel
Flashpacker - US$10 to 20
1/4 Street, Cat Ba Island (towards beach end of main strip)
T: (031) 388 7735

We like Hoa Phuong Hotel. We're not sure if it was the smiley petite woman carrying around a toddler who showed us the room, or the rooms themselves that won us over, but either way the rooms are a solid choice. Those at the front have sea views – though not so great from the lowest floor – viewed through windows with wooden shutters adding character. Beds are firm and decor is nothing to... Read our full review of Hoa Phuong Hotel.

Sea Pearl Hotel
Midrange - US$20 to 50
219, 1/4 Street, Cat Ba
T: (031) 368 8567

You won't find many midrange hotels in Cat Ba, so it's just as well that Sea Pearl is a good one. Rated as three stars, it's a far better choice – in our opinion -- that the dreary Holiday View Hotel down the road. Rooms may not be jaw-dropping but are comfortable and well-furnished with wooden floors, good curtains, shower cubicles and safety deposit boxes – that may not seem like much but... Read our full review of Sea Pearl Hotel.

Ali BaBa's Hotel
Backpacker - Under US$10
175, 1/4 Street, Cat Ba Island
T: (01672) 409 416

Previously Ali Baba's Hotel was the Trang Anh. We're guessing they wanted to differentiate themselves from the wealth of other hotels with Vietnamese names, but Ali Baba still seems an odd choice. Anyway, it's a big building with a wide staircase – no elevator – and although it's seen better days rooms are spacious, clean and bright, and many boast sea views through slightly grimy windows.... Read our full review of Ali BaBa's Hotel.

Noble House
Flashpacker - US$10 to 20
1/4 Street, Cat Ba Island (opposite the entrance to the pier)
T: (031) 888 363

Slap bang in the heart of Cat Ba town, Noble House wins a spot in our listings for its location, not just directly opposite the pier but also above The Good Bar, which seems the place to be for foreign tourists right now. It's also in the same building as Asia Outdoors, so whether you want an easy stagger home after a few too many draft LaRues or a day of rock climbing it'll fit the bill. That... Read our full review of Noble House.

Sun and Sea Hotel
Flashpacker - US$10 to 20
26 - 28 Nui Ngoc Rd (West), Cat Ba Island
T: (031) 388 8315

This is classed as a two-star hotel – whatever that means – but rates are in the budget range, and these were some of the smartest rooms we saw on Cat Ba Island in this price bracket. The hotel has an elevator and rooms come with good furnishings and well maintained bathrooms. It's not on the harbour road, so doesn't have any views, but is central. It's also opposite a hotel that was pumping... Read our full review of Sun and Sea Hotel.

Princes Hotel
Midrange - US$20 to 50
Nui Ngoc Rd (East), Cat Ba Island
T: (031) 388 8899

While once Princes Hotel was the superior choice in Cat Ba Harbour, it's now been out-classed by both places in the same price range and cheaper options. That's not to say it's a bad choice: the suite room is a good option if you like some space, as it comes with a corner sofa and coffee table in a side room, and the bathrooms are smart with tubs. The overall set-up isn't bad either: the rooms... Read our full review of Princes Hotel.

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Away from the Harbour

There aren't many places to stay other than town, but a couple of pricier options are located on the nearby beaches and Monkey Island, and a so-called eco-resort is found inland.

Sunrise Resort
Toprange - US$50 to 100
Cat Co 3 Beach, Cat Ba Island
T: (031) 388 7360-3

Sunrise is a beautiful resort with a big pool and plenty of umbrellas and sun-loungers along the short, narrow strip of beach it rests upon. The beach is open to the public so gets busy, but you can always retreat to the peace and quiet of the resort and maybe indulge in a massage at the on-site spa. Staff are well-trained, as you'd expect for the price, and rooms are pretty much the best you'll... Read our full review of Sunrise Resort.

Cat Ba Eco-Lodge
Midrange - US$20 to 50
Xuan Dam Village, Cat Ba Island
T: (031) 368 8966

This place, around 13 kilometres from Cat Ba harbour, used to be called Suoi Goi Cat Ba Resort, and remnants of that time remain, such as the branded bed runners. In fact, we're not convinced much has changed with the name at all – we certainly didn't see any signs of eco-ness – but if you want to get out of town and stay somewhere in countryside, this is the place for you. The spacious rooms... Read our full review of Cat Ba Eco-Lodge.

Cat Co Beach Resort
Toprange - US$50 to 100
Cat Co 2, Cat Ba Island
T: (04) 3928 5786 (ext 227)

Sitting right on its own stretch of Cat Co 2 beach, we wouldn't call this a resort so much as a selection of huts scattered around a pretty garden. Although to call the “seafront bungalows “huts is perhaps a bit harsh: they are well built stone and wood affairs with outdoor bathrooms and sun loungers on shady patios a stone's throw from the beach. We still thought they were a bit on the... Read our full review of Cat Co Beach Resort.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Cat Ba Island? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

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