Cat Bais the largest of the 366 islands spanning 260km2 that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago, which makes up the southeastern edge ofHa Long Bayin NorthernVietnam. Cat Ba island has a surface area of 285 km2 and maintains the dramatic and rugged features of Ha Long Bay. The island has a wide variety of natural ecosystems, both marine and terrestrial, leading to incredibly high rates of biodiversity. Types of natural habitats found on Cat Ba Archipelago include limestone karsts, tropical limestone forests, coral reefs, mangrove and sea grass beds, lagoons, beaches, caves, and willow swamp forests. Cat Ba Island is one of the only populated islands in Ha Long Bay, with roughly 13,000 inhabitants living in six different communes, and 4,000 more inhabitants living on floating fishing villages off the coast. The large majority of the population can be found inCat Ba town, which is located at the southern tip of the Island (15km south of the national park) and is the commercial center on the Island. Since 1997, Cat Ba town has grown rapidly and has become a tourist hub for both the Island and greater Ha Long Bay.
Sightseeing in Cat Ba Island
Beaches - A 15minute walk southeast from Cat Ba Town, the three beautiful Cat Co cove beaches boast white sand and good swimming. Cat Co 2, backed by limestone cliffs, is the beach to head for; here you’ll find a lovely sheltered sandy bay, a snack bar and some simple thatched beach huts. However, as developers have been eyeing up this beach for some time, check first to see if it remains a haven of tranquility. Cat Co 1 and 3 were once equally as attractive, but both have now been developed as resorts. On weekends in summer they get packed with Vietnamese tourists and litter becomes a real blight. The wooden cliffside walkway that once connected Cat Co 1 and 2 is broken.
Lan Ha Bay - The 300 or so karst islands of Lan Ha Bay are directly south and east of Cat Ba Town. Geologically they are very much an extension of Ha Long Bay, but geographically these islands lie in a different province of Vietnam. They share the same emerald sea, and the limestone pinnacles and scenery are every bit as beautiful as Ha Long Bay, but these islands have the additional attraction of numerous white sand beaches. Around 200 species of fish, 500 species of mollusk, 400 species of arthropod and numerous hard and soft coral live in Lan Ha Bay. Larger marine animals in the areas include seals and three species of dolphin. Sailing and kayak trips here are best organized in Cat Ba Town. Lan Ha Bay also offers superb rock climbing and is the main destination for adventurous tourists.
Hospital Cave - Built between 1963 and 1965, this incredibly well-constructed three-story feat of engineering was in constant use until 1975. It has historical significance, as it served both as a secret, bomb-proof hospital during the American War and as a safe house for Viet Cong leaders. Visitors will be shown around 17 rooms, the old operating theatre and take you to the huge natural cavern which was used as a cinema. The cave is about 10km north of Cat Ba Town on the road to the national park entrance.
Cat Ba National Park - Founded in 1986, it covers 16.196,8 ha including 10.931,7 ha of karst island and 5.256,1 ha of marine ecosystems.The park is located on Cat Ba archipelago (consists 366 islands) and is the heart of Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve, about 150km southeast of Hanoi,50 km east from Hai Phong city and next door with well-known Ha Long Bay. Cat Ba National Park differs from other national parks in Vietnam because of the great variety of landscapes and ecosystems, including tropical evergreen forests, mangrove, freshwater lake and streams, isolated sandy beaches, coral reefs, caves and grottos.The Park is a tourist attraction to millions of domestic and overseas visitors. Come to Cat Ba, travelers not only can worship the beauty of landscapes, seascapes, relax on isolated beaches in Lan Ha Bay or visit primeval forest but also have chances to discover many unique, precious species of fauna, flora and local culture.
A trip to Cat Ba Island can be done separately or in combination with a visit to Halong Bay. This is an oasis where you can relax for one or for several days.
In order to save your budget, you should combine your cruise trip to Halong Bay with a visit to Cat Ba Island. Cat Ba is easily accessible and matches neighbouring Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay for stunning natural beauty. After a day discovering Halong Bay, cruise will take you to Cat Ba. Please contact our Travel Consultants to get more details and best offers!