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Cat Ba island travel information

Cat Ba island is in the South of Ha Long bay heritage. It includes 367 islands staying in unique beautiful Lan Ha bay. Cat Ba is only 30 km from Hai Phong city center and 25 km from Ha Long city. Not at all is it a random thing when Cat Ba is also called Pearl Island (Dao Ngoc in Vietnamese). With a 70m altitude, and the post to overlook Lan Ha lagoon, Cat Ba lures tourists by its heavenly captivation. With an area of 140 km2 and population of 9000 people, it is proud to be the biggest island among the 1,969 islands in Ha Long bay. If you are considering a fresh-air and beautiful place to travel, just pack your stuff, stand up and fly to this magic land of blue Sky and Sea!


The National Park and Biodiversity Conservation

Cat Ba National Park was established in 1986. After a re-arrangement of the park boundaries in 2006, the park now comprises of 109 square km of land area and an additional 52 square km of inshore waters and mangrove covered tidal zones. Cat Ba National Park was Vietnam’s first national park to include both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Cat Ba Island, its national park and the surrounding area are nationally and internationally recognized for their importance to biodiversity conservation, exemplified through the recognition of the Cat Ba Archipelago as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, in 2004.This is not only because the area has a high number of different ecosystem and habitat types, but also because it possesses a great variety of plant and animal species, many of which, like the Cat Ba languor, are now rare and endangered.

About 1400 vascular plants, including 23 Endangered and Critically Endangered species (Red Data Book of Vietnam; IUCN Red List) have so far been recorded. Large and partly endangered mammals include the Cat Ba langur, the Southern Serow (Naemorhaedus sumatraensis), Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), black giant squirrel (Ratufa bicolor), and civet cats (Viverricula indica, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). The cave, land snail and butterfly fauna is rich including the most northerly cave-adapted crab species, plus four species of true cave snails. The region is considered a hotspot for land snail diversity and might also be conserving a considerable number of bat species including rare ones.

In 2007 a reptile survey was conducted in Cat Ba National Park by Dr. Thomas Ziegler, from Cologne Zoo and Nguyen Quang Truong, from the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, in cooperation with the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project. It led to the discovery of the Cat Ba Tiger Gecko (Goniurosaurus catbaensis), endemic to Cat Ba Island, adding to the list of endemic and rare species and once more emphasizing the need for nature conservation on the island.

The archipelago has a global significance thanks to its plentiful species found nowhere else. It is home to the golden-headed languor (Trachypithecus poliocephalus), one of the top ten rare primates in the world due. Besides, visitors can find several precious habitat types here, including fringing coral reefs, mangrove forest, sea grass beds, willow swamp forest and tropical limestone forest. Many of those are fiercely endangered. With a major coastal fishing zone, and a karst seascape of outstanding beauty, a tremendous potential for agri-aqua culture and tourism is open to the area. Thanks to the special values, Cat Ba was acknowledged as the World Biosphere Reserve in 2004. So, are you curious to go?


The People

Cat Ba Island is currently inhabited by about 13500 people, living in 6 communes, of which Cat Ba Town is the largest. Archaeological remains suggest that people have inhabited the Cat Ba area for at least 6000 years. Local livelihoods in the villages are built on subsistence agriculture and fishing. Comparatively new sources of employment and income at the local level are shrimp and fish-farming, and tourism.


How to reach Cat Ba Island

Visitors can reach Cat Ba Island by two ways. Option 1: by ferry from Hai Phong city, Binh ferry station or Dinh Vu ferry station. Option 2: from Ha Long bay. After visiting this Natural World Heritage Site, visitors can keep staying on boat and getting to the Island.

If tourists in Vietnam Travel have chance to visit Hai Phong City, Cat Ba Island is a must-see place that should not be missed!


Things to do in Cat Ba islands

We would like to recommend you things to do when you come to travel in Cat Ba islands. This may help you to arrange your schedule for wonderful time staying here.

Most tourist come to Cat Ba island stay about 01 or 02 nights. Hotels concentrate in the center of Cat Ba town and there are some eco bungalows on some island like Monkey Island, Nam Cat Island, Thap Nghieng island, Cat Ong island...

+ Visit Cat Ba national park: it is about 20 km from Cat Ba town. You can rent a car, a motorbike or go by bicycle if you love biking. Come to the main gate, you will have to buy a entrance ticket about 50.000 vnd then hike up about 45 minutes to go to the mountain top named Ngu Lam mountain.

+ Visit Lan Ha bay: you can rent a boat or join a group tour to come to visit Lan Ha bay. Monkey Island Resort has small boat for small group of 02 people up and price is reasonable. Most of tourists come to Lan Ha bay say that they love this place as it is not crowded and nature here is so beautiful with sandy beaches and thousands of islets around. Time to visit Lan Ha bay is about 3 - 4 hours is all right.

+ Visit Viet Hai fishing village: the village is in the middle of Cat Ba national park. There are two ways to come; one is going on foot with hard trekking through forest about 6 km. This is often for adventure tourists. Other way tourists often do is going by boat from Ben Beo harbor to Viet Hai harbor by going through Lan Ha bay. You can go by motorbike; bicycle or now they have electric taxi to travel around the village.

+ Visit caves: Trung Trang cave, Hospital cave... the two caves are on the main road of Cat Ba national park. You can call in when you are on the way to visit Cat Ba national park.

+ Visit Cannon Fort: this place is just neaby Cat Ba town; you can go by moto bike to come in about 15 minutes. Here, there is cannon fort and some soldiers are staying.

+ Visit Monkey Island: Monkey Island is an ideal place for swimming for those tourists comes to Cat Ba Island. The water here is so clean and there are monkeys on the island for tourists to come to take pictures. There are two beaches here. The big one is crowded in summer holiday with hundreds of Vietnamese Tourists, the small one has Monkey Island Resort bungalow for tourists to stay overnight.

+ Visit Cai Beo floating village: this floating village is just closed to Cat Ba town; it is located at Ben Beo harbour which is about 2 km from Cat Ba center. You can rent a small boat to travel around the village or go by kayaking around in about 1 hour.

+ Join a trip to go rock climbing: you can book a trip to go rock climbing at Monkey Island Resort. There is half day trip or full day trip for you. Place to go rock climbing is in some islets in Lan Ha bay or at a private beach in Lan Ha bay. This program is for both experienced rock climber and inexperienced person who never have done that.


Things you should bring going to the beach

Its beach weather at last! Don't screw it up. There's nothing like arriving at the beach and realizing you forgot something important -- that can ruin your whole day. Here are ten things that must go into your beach bag, or, you know, in the bag of whoever you're making carry your stuff.


1. Sunscreen

At the risk of oversimplifying: Duh, you need sunscreen. Also, don't forget to bring something a little nicer for the sensitive skin on your face, too.

2. Bug spray.

You never know when you're going to be eaten alive. Oh wait, yes you do -- it's when you spend any length of time outside. Pack bug spray.

3. A pail and shovel.

Or something can be used as a pail and shovel (coffee cups, butter knives, spoons, mixing bowls, etc.). You'll be so bummed if you get there and realize you are going to have to make a sandcastle freehand.


4. Snacks.

You can pay a lot of money at the beach, or you can pack a picnic and save your cash for ice cream cones and tipping people who offer to take your picture while you're holding a monkey (true story). I choose the latter.

5. Beverages.

Water, water & water, also, depending on your level of beach sophistication, you may need a bottle of something a little stronger. If you're big into water sports, Gatorade or another electrolyte-balancing drink may also be helpful.

6. Music.

Whether it's your boom box from 1983 that still works (sort of) or your iPod and a pair of ear buds make sure you have your ideal music selection picked out and ready to play.

7. A book or magazine.

The beach is the one place you can read anything from US Weekly to chick lit and comic books, and no one will judge you. Beach reading is a genre sans snobbery.

8. Sunglasses and hat.

Got a great pair of sunglasses? Don't forget them! Have you been waiting all winter to use that beach hat you got for Christmas? Don't forget that, either!

9. Flip flops.

Changing when you get there? Never go in public without heels? Hate driving with naked feet? Don't forget your flip flops, or some shoes you can wear in the water and rough up.

10. Beach games.

Take a mental inventory of your game closet. Do you have paddleball? Badminton racquets? A soccer ball? A surfboard? Consider what you have and hit a Target or Walgreens on your way if necessary to complete your game set. Beach games are fun and healthy.

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