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Hai Phong Attractions

Do Son Beach

Famous with sea food, fresh air, 45 minutes to Do Son by car or motorbike

Do Son Casino

Location: in Do Son, only the foreign passport holder are permitted

The Du Hang Pagoda

Since being established in the 17th century, worshippers at this pagoda reconstructed it many times. There is a 2 storey gate, statue of the Goddess of Mercy in the courtyard, many statues of Bodhisattvas, guardians and the wooden goddesses, and a lot of ancient furniture. The bells out the front are interesting.

The Hang Kenh Communal House

The boat shaped house has a beautiful facade, carved frames and pillars of precious wood. It was built in the 17th century. The central section is dedicated to King Ngo Quyen and his generals, who defeated the army of the great Kublai Khan no less, in the battle of the Bach Dang River in 938AD. This battle ended over 1,000 years of foreign rule in Vietnam.

Cat Ba island

A trip to Cat Ba island can be separated or combined with a visit to Halong Bay. This is the largest island in the Cat Ba Archipelago that consists of 350 limestone outcrops adjacent to Halong.

This is also an oasis where you can be apart for one or a few days during a long voyage. If starting from Halong Wharf it will take you 4 hours by a tourist boat, with stopovers for swimming, visiting spectacular karst and having fresh seafoods. In a single word, you can contemplate the beautiful scenery of Halong before reaching the island. You can also buy a ticket of the hydrofoil departing from Hai Phong Seaport to reach Cat Ba if your itinerary saves Halong for another visit.

With an area of 356 square km wide, Cat Ba encompasses forested zones, coastal mangrove and freshwater swamps, beaches, caves, and waterfalls. In 1986, the Northeast side of the island was designated a National Park, including a protected marine zone.

Cat Ba Island supports a population of over 20,000, most of whom live off fishing or farming in the South, in and around Cat Ba Town. The town is small and ancient, with clusters of fishing boats and inspiring sunsets across the harbor. You can check out the catch of the day in the early morning, see cuttlefish dried over hot charcoals, or stroll around the old town. It's a short hike from Cat Ba town through a tunnel to Cat Co Beach, whose mountains look like a throne holding a marvelous sandy coast, or if you hike further along, you will reach the rockier Cat Vang Beach.

As transportation on the town is not so well-developed, motorbikes is the most helpful means to get you to the larger Trung Trang Cave with many chambers, or to the National Park, or to discover other beaches around the island. A tourguide is necessary to help you communicate with the local drivers and introduce these viewpoints. The national park contains stringy trees, thick undergrowth and slippery vines. There is a great view that includes a French, now Vietnamese, farming village from the top of the mountain and a lake in the middle of the park that takes a half day to reach.

Cat Ba National Park

15,200 ha
20o44' – 20o51'N, 106o58' – 106o45'E
Trekking, Kayaking… Contact us for more information

Topography and hydrology

Cat Ba National Park is located in Cat Hai district, Hai Phong city. The national park is centred on Cat Ba island, a 28,500 ha island, which lies 20 km due east of Hai Phong city and immediately to the west of Halong bay. The national park also incorporates some of the small islands and marine waters situated to the east of Cat Ba island.
Like Halong bay, the landscape of Cat Ba National Park is dominated by karst limestone islands rising abruptly from the sea. The topography is rugged and marked by steep outcrops and areas of bare rock. The national park ranges in elevation from sea level to 331 m at the summit of Mount Cao Vong.

As is typical in well developed karst landscapes, drainage patterns are complicated by subterranean passages, which probably account for most of the drainage in the national park. The centre of Cat Ba island is no more than 5 km from the coast, and surface drainage is poorly developed and seasonal.

Biodiversity values

Cat Ba National Park supports a diversity of natural habitats, including forested hills, small freshwater lakes, freshwater swamp forest, mangroves, sandy beaches and coral reefs. The main natural vegetation type on Cat Ba island is limestone forest. To date, 839 vascular plant species have been recorded at the national park, including 25 species listed in the Red Data Book of Vietnam.

Due to the isolated nature of the island and high levels of hunting, the diversity and abundance of mammals at Cat Ba are low compared to other national parks in Vietnam. Scientists report that the only ungulates on the island are Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis, Eurasian Wild Pig Sus scrofa and Red Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak but that only the former is common.

Of highest importance from a conservation perspective, Cat Ba National Park supports the only known population of Cat Ba Leaf Monkey Trachypithecus poliocephalus in the world. The results of a detailed survey of this endemic primate in 1999 and 2000 indicate that the total population of Cat Ba Leaf Monkey is only between 104 and 135 individuals, including only 50 to 75 adults.

The limestone habitats at Cat Ba National Park are important for a number of invertebrate taxa. A survey in 1998, for instance, revealed that, because of an abundance of suitable moist niches within the limestone forest, the national park had a rich and diverse snail fauna.

Other documented values

Each year, Cat Ba island receives large numbers of domestic and overseas tourists. A significant proportion of these tourists visit the national park, either on foot, along one of the hiking trails, or by boat, through the marine component. The national park can, therefore, be considered to be making an important contribution to the island's economy.