As in Halong City, it’s easy enough to book a boat trip out of Cat Ba Island to explore the Bay, either with a travel agent or direct at Beo harbour, 2 km from the centre of town.
It’s probably a better option than Halong: you’re much closer to the action on Cat Ba so there’s less time spent getting to the pretty bit. Also, tours explore beautiful Lan Ha Bay, which you won’t get to if travelling from Halong City, unless you’re out for three days.
You can also book two- or three-day trips around the bay or get a boat out to Monkey Island – for some beach time – or with a stop to cycle to Viet Hai Village.
Travel agent prices range from $10 to $25 for a day trip, depending on route. You won’t save anything if you buy your Monkey Island trip at the harbour, and times are inconsistent, so you’re best off booking with an agent, but if you want a short tour of the bay it could be a bit cheaper. You’ll pay 750,000 VND for a two-hour tour plus 20,000 to 30,000 VND entry, but don’t forget you also need to get to the pier.