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Halong Bay City or Cat Ba Island?

Vilnius, Lithuania
Level Contributor
882 posts
17 reviews
9 helpful votes
Halong Bay City or Cat Ba Island?
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Hello,

Next week, I'm planning my trip to Halong Bay. I'll stay there for 7 nights. As I'm a digital nomad, I'll be working most of the time. I'll have some time to explore the Bay only at the weekend.

I have read my articles regarding the best place to stay in Halong Bay. However, most of them are for holiday makers, which doesn't apply to me. This is the reason why I've decided to post my questions here:

1. Which place is easier to reach from Hanoi (coming from there) and go to Haiphong (flying from there to Saigon)? I'm planning to use public transport or, if possible, cheaper shared transportation options.

2. Which place offers more possibilities to book day cruises from? Due to my work, I'm not planning to stay on the boat for 7 days, but I'd like to go on a cruise for a day or two so while there, I'd look for possible options.

3. Which place has more places to see around? I won't travel too much during my working days but if possible, I'd like to explore a bit after work.

4. Which place is more budget-friendly in terms of restaurants, accommodation, and day cruises/tourist attractions?

Thanks for your help :)

6 replies to this topic
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
12,384 posts
275 reviews
799 helpful votes
1. Re: Halong Bay City or Cat Ba Island?
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Hanoi to Cat Ba

https://catbaexpress.com/bus-hanoi-to-cat-ba.html

Things To Do In Cat Ba

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g737051-Activities-Cat_Ba.html

Booking.com Cat BA

Set your parameters and see for yourself.

https://www.booking.com/city/vn/cat-ba.en-gb.html?auth_success=1

Vilnius, Lithuania
Level Contributor
882 posts
17 reviews
9 helpful votes
2. Re: Halong Bay City or Cat Ba Island?
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Hi there,

Thanks for the reply, but I found all those things thay you mentioned myself. I was more interested in those specific questions that I wrote.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
15,314 posts
40 reviews
31 helpful votes
3. Re: Halong Bay City or Cat Ba Island?
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1, Cát Bà / Hải Phòng combination.

2. Same

3. Same

4. Same

Be aware that it's a bit chilly at this time of the year on the bay, though you may be used to the cold weather.

Cheers,

John

Vilnius, Lithuania
Level Contributor
882 posts
17 reviews
9 helpful votes
4. Re: Halong Bay City or Cat Ba Island?
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Yes, I was considering combining both but due to work, I won't have too much time. Therefore, it's important for me to figure out which is easier to reach by public transport, better for daily cruises and explorations, and more budget-friendly.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
15,314 posts
40 reviews
31 helpful votes
5. Re: Halong Bay City or Cat Ba Island?
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There are always give and take.

Overall, Hạ Long is quitr more expensive. They've been trying to prove themselves as an international hub.

What do you think that means?

Hạ Long is now a tourist center.

Nothing wrong with that as it's what they (the authority+ the people) mostly agreed on that.

Hải Phòng would have much more local characters remaining.

You can always base in Hải Phòng and take a drive to Hạ Long.

You'll see a vast difference; which is better is up to one personal's view.

I think, as a digital nomad, Hải Phòng would give you more of an overall experience of a northern coastal city before it becomes too much a tourist hub as Hạ Long City.

Come before it loses its unique character.

Cheers,

John

Edited: 23 January 2023, 11:15
Vilnius, Lithuania
Level Contributor
882 posts
17 reviews
9 helpful votes
6. Re: Halong Bay City or Cat Ba Island?
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Thanks, John, that's a solid argument👍

Yet, how easy is it to book day tours around the bay if staying in Haiphong? As it's less touristy, I guess it might be more complicated to find a reasonably priced day tour from there as most of them depart either from Halong, Hanoi, or Cat Ba... 🤔

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