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What You Should Experience On Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island, often known as the "Pearl of Vietnam," provides a plethora of thrilling activities and stunning attractions for visitors of all interests. Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure seeker, Cat Ba has something special for everyone. Let's go on a journey to find the top things to do on this fascinating island.

Go hiking in Cat Ba National Park

Covering the majority of the island, Cat Ba National Park, established in 1986, is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with abundant biodiversity, from tropical rain forests to Limestone Mountains and mangroves. The park offers some hiking trails through jungles and vistas. Be prepared to encounter a diversity of flora and fauna, including the Cat Ba white-headed langur, one of the world's rarest primates. Here are two popular routes:

- Kim Giao-Ngu Lam Peak Route is popular among young adventurers. Ngu Lam Peak stands 220 meters tall, and the trail is approximately 1 kilometer long. Kim Giao Peak, at 300 meters, requires a climb of almost 700 meters.

- Frog Pond (Ao Ech) to Viet Hai Village is ideal for those seeking a challenge. It takes around 5 hours through shrubs, slippery rocks, and rugged trails-a true adventure.

It is worth noting that hiking through this park is only suitable for fit adults, as the journey might be short but strenuous. A guide is not mandatory but is highly recommended. You can arrange for guides at the park headquarters, and they are knowledgeable locals offering valuable information on the park's biodiversity and conservation initiatives.

Relax on unspoiled beaches

Cat Ba Island has a number of quiet and untouched beaches, making swimming an absolute must during your stay. Among these tranquil coastal spots, the three Cat Co beaches, Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2, and Cat Co 3, stand out as favorites among beachgoers. These places, located close to one another, have everything a beach enthusiast could desire, including comfy loungers for sunbathing, covered umbrellas for relaxing, and stalls selling refreshments to satisfy your thirst in the sun. There is also a cliffside walkway between Cat Co 1 and 3, with tropical views of Lan Ha Bay and rock formations.

On a hot summer day, the famed Cat Co beaches can get busy, but there are secluded areas for a more serene dip. Tourists can travel to the nearby Monkey Island or Tung Thu Beach and enjoy the tranquil ambiance and moderate waves. You can explore further into Lan Ha Bay as well and spend time on pristine beaches and hidden lagoons.

Take a cruise tour in Lan Ha Bay

A trip to Cat Ba wouldn't be complete without sailing the gorgeous Lan Ha Bay. You can take a day tour or overnight cruise traveling to and from Cat Ba Island or Hanoi. Some popular activities on a Lan Ha Bay cruise include visiting a pearl farm and floating village, swimming at Frog Pond, joining Taichi and cooking classes, and kayaking around the towering karsts at Dark and Bright Cave for an up-close experience. Of course, there are a lot of photo opportunities during the voyage.

Here are the highly recommended Lan Ha Bay Cruises for your reference: Paradise Grand Cruise, Ambassador Signature Cruise, Orchid Classic Cruise, Orchid Trendy Cruise, Capella Cruise, Elite of the Seas Cruise, Stellar of the Seas Cruise,…

Visit limestone caves on Cat Ba Island

Another experience you should not miss in Cat Ba is exploring a fascinating underground world of limestone caverns. Two notable caves, Hospital Cave and Trung Trang Cave, are the most renowned. Hospital Cave, or Quan Y Cave, was a military field hospital constructed between 1963 and 1965. Inside, you will find 17 rooms spread across three floors, featuring medical treatment and rehab sections.

Trung Trang Cave, situated in the same direction, spans approximately 300 meters throughout the karst mountain. You will be in wonder as you enter a world of sparkling stalactites and stalagmites formed over thousands of years. The cave's mystic charm is further enhanced by the presence of ancient Vietnamese remnants.

Watch the sunset at Cannon Fort

With underground tunnels and well-preserved gun emplacements, Cannon Fort offers a trip back in time into Cat Ba Island's wartime past for history buffs. This former military base, which dates back to the 1940s, was of great importance during several conflicts. Perched on a strategic hill, this fort offers expansive vistas of Cat Ba Island’s forested hills, the karst-punctuated sea, and the lively harbor. This also makes the fort an ideal vantage point for sunrise and sunset watching. There's even a café for astounding views and chilling time from its terrace.

Pedal through the rural charm of Viet Hai Village

Nestled in the heart of Cat Ba National Park, Viet Hai Village is a favorite attraction of many travelers, where they can explore a Vietnamese countryside village away from the mainland. To reach this area, you will need to hike about 8 kilometers through Cat Ba National Park, passing the Ao Ech Lake. An easier way is to take a 45-minute boat trip from Cai Beo Port in the island’s town center to Viet Hai Port. Cycle through rice fields, interact with friendly locals, and you will find a connection to the land and its people. Most villagers rely on farming, fishing, and breeding for a living. Some will provide tourism services like accommodations, catering, and sightseeing.

Meet playful langurs on Monkey Island

Known for its wild pineapples and a playful troop of monkeys, Monkey Island, or locally called Cat Dua Island, provides an opportunity to see langurs in their natural habitat. With a short boat ride from Cat Ba’s Cai Beo Port, travelers can visit this small island on a day tour or stay overnight at an on-site resort. Here, you can play, feed, and watch these clever animals, but always remember to follow the guidelines to keep yourself and the monkeys safe as well as respect their surroundings.

To sum up, Cat Ba Island provides a wealth of experiences and attractions for all travelers seeking adventure and relaxation. From spectacular natural seascapes to adventurous activities, Cat Ba has it all. Hopefully, the above suggestions of the best things to do in Cat Ba will help you plan your next journey to Halong Bay in Vietnam holiday.

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