Cat Ba Island is the largest island in the National park, it located in northern Vietnam. The town itself is rathe touristy, with many karaoke bars attracting Vietnamese weekenders. But take a little ride out of town, and find the many golden beaches, boat ride options, dense jungles and lush green mountains offering plenty of treks with incredible views of the famous karst scenery of Cat Ba National Park.
Cat Ba Island is shaped like an upside down and poorly drawn triangle, with the national park filling most of its land area. Gia Luan Pier, where boats from Ha Long City and Tuan Chau dock, is on the northern coastline. From here a road runs through the centre to the southern point where the main town is located. The town doesn’t have a name as such, but it’s where most of the islanders live and where most of the accommodation, tourism services and dining options are located.
Most of the action is along the main thoroughfare (1-4 Street), which runs along the edge of the harbour, and along two roads that head inland, perpendicular to it. Both of these roads are named Nui Ngoc. It’s not easy to get lost.
Attractions near the town include Cannon Fort and the beaches, all of which are accessible by foot. The pier from where the day trips and boats to Monkey Island depart is just over one kilometre from the town. To reach the national park or Hospital Cave you will need to take a motorbike, taxi or motorbike taxi back up the central road — if you’re not going on an organised tour.