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Cat Ba's great for exploring by motorbike. Motorbikes can be rented for around US$7 per day. There's nice cycling to be had close by Cat Ba town too. The island is hilly though, limiting more extensive cycling to the very fit. The main roads around the island are mostly in good condition and don't see much traffic.
Car hire and motorbike taxis can also be arranged in Cat Ba town. Motorbike taxis (xe om) can be a good way to explore the island since the riders usually know the best spots. Be sure to clearly agree your plans and price in advance.
You can easily rent a motorbike from any hotel for $5 (standard) per day or less if you look around or visit in the low season.
Don't pay more than 50,000 dong for a 1.5L bottle of petrol, which can be bought in some of the small towns as well as near the port area near the end of the town.
Anyone you hire a bike from should give you a photocopied map of the island which will help you with planning.
Local buses across the island leave from the western edge of Cat Ba town, on the water near the market intersection.
Minibuses (always with a driver) are easily arranged. Motorbike rentals (either with or without a driver) are available from most of the hotels. If you are heading out to beaches or national park, pay the 2000d parking fee to make sure your vehicle is still there when you return: there have been reports of thft and vandalism.
There are half a dozen places to rent bikes including tandems. A ride to the other side of the island for a view into Ha Long bay and then back along the coastal road is around 45km. It's worth getting a bike with gears as there are a few hills.
Rented bicyces are a great way to explore the island. Several of the hotels can find you a cheap chinese bike, or inquire at the Flighteless Bird Café about decent mountain-bkie rentals.
You’ll get plenty of offers to tour Cat Ba fishing harbor in s small rowboat (around 20,00d) , or hire a kayak form one of the hotels for around US$5 per hour.
Tours of the island and national park, boat trips around Halong Bay, and fishing trips are being peddled by nearly every hotel and restaurant in at Ba town. The cost depends on the number of people, but typical prices are US$8 for day trips and US$20 for two-day, one-night trips.