CAT BA ISLAND INTRODUCTION:
CAT BA ARCHIPELAGO BIOSPHERE RESERVE OF THE WORLD
Cat Ba island is 45 km to the east of Hai Phong city, 20 km south of Ha Long City and located in the north of Vietnam. Cat Ba Island is part of the chain of 366 islands on Halong Bay. At over 200km, Cat Ba is the largest island in the Bay. The island is easily accessible and matches neighboring Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay for its stunning natural beauty. In April 2005, Cat Ba was officially recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Cat Ba is well known for many of its famous sites, such as: original tropical forests, mangrove forests, colorful coral reefs, deserted natural beaches, fishing life of fishermen on the sea, and its numerous limestone mountains. It is also famous for its wild life of animals: monkeys, squirrels, porcupines, cats, frogs, deer, snakes, birds, bats, butterflies and especially the golden–headed langur or Cat Ba langur. The Cat Ba langur is a rare and a precious animal and exists only in Cat Ba Island.
Cat Ba Island means ‘Women’s Island’. Legend tells that three women of the Tran Dynasty died and each drifted to a sandy beach on the island. Afterwards, the inhabitants built temples on each of the beaches and the island became an Island called Cat Ba (Women’s Island) and the temples called Women’s Temples.
Annually on the 1st of April, the Cat Ba people organize a traditional festival to celebrate the day when uncle Ho Chi Minh came to visit Cat Ba’s fishing village in 1959. This is also the day that Vietnam’s sea produce industry traditionally starts and the Cat Ba tourist season begins. At the festival visitors will enjoy an imperial boat race, water skiing and coracle boat races on the sea in Cat Ba Town.
CAT BA NATIONAL PARK:
Cat Ba National Park is located 15km away from the north – west of Cat Ba Town. It was established in 1986. It spans an area of 15,200ha, of which 9,800ha are forest, and contains lots of particularly interesting caves. The original tropical forest spans an area of 570 ha, with extremely varied wildlife and vegetation.
Cat Ba National Park is situated in Cat Ba Island and on several smaller islands nearby. The park currently comprises 98km2 of total land and 54km2 of inshore waters. The National Park was Vietnam’s first National Park. Including both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. It is recognized nationally and internationally for its importance in biodiversity conservation, as it contains many different types of ecosystems and habitats. The park has a vast variety of plant and animal species.
A special type of tree called “Cay Kim Giao” or Needle Tree is unique to Cat Ba. In ancient times, the Kings and Nobles would eat only with chopsticks made from this timber, as the light colored wood was reputed to turn to black when it touched anything poisonous. There are 745 species of plants recorded on Cat Ba, including 118 timber species and 160 plants with medicinal value. The national park is home to 32 types of mammals and more than 70 species of birds have been sighted. There is a beautiful lake inside the national park called Frog Lake, with a water forest and amazing landscape.
LAN HA BAY:
Lan Ha Bay is located in the Southeast of Cat Ba Island, looking out of Van sea mouth, sharing the border with Ha Long Bay. It covers an area of 7000ha, of which 5400ha are managed by Cat Ba National Park, the rest belongs to Ha Long’s government. The sceneries are not as beautiful as Ha Long Bay’s, but it has its original characteristics. The limestone mountain density here is crowded, neglected. Divided into little bays and gulfs of which many little bays, gulfs, and caves are yet to be discovered. There are hundreds of mountains with diverse shapes as Guoc islet (Clog Islet), and Roi Mountain (like a bat with widely opened wings). The difference from Ha Long Bay, and Lan Ha Bay consists of 139 small and clean sand banks of which lots of them are lying in the middle of two mountains and are sloping, long and quiet without rough waves. They are actually beautiful bathing beaches. In the very clear and green water remain colorful coral fields like Van Boi, Van Ha coral fields, and etc. They are good for developing the undersea tourism (like diving tourism). Using a small boat, you can cruise in the mountain creeks on the sea to visit the bay, lagoon, caves. Or to rest by bathing on the beaches near the sea such as, Vem gulf, Tung Gau cave, Cat Dua Beach. Lan Ha Bay is a lovely place for kayaking, snorkeling, swimming and rock climbing.
Monkey Island is a private island located 4 km from Cat Ba town. The beach here is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cat Ba Island. The sea water is so clean and emerald. The climate here is wonderful and its nature is so beautiful.
CAT BA BEACHES:
There are three popular beaches ( Cat Co 1, 2 and 3 ) in Cat Ba town. These beaches are not too large but are unobtrusive, and have clear water. The beaches are connected by a small road along the mountainside. Cat Co beach I, is quite extensive but often overcrowded, while the second and third grounds are narrower and more deserted. It should be noted that travelers should only go swimming at these places before 18h30, after this time one should not ensure safe bathing because after this time, the tide rises pretty fast.
CAT BA TOWN:
The aptly named Cat Ba Town is the main settlement on the island with around 8,600 inhabitants. It features 3 beaches and a parade of restaurants, bars, hostels, hotels and resorts along the seafront.
Hospital cave is about 10 km north of Cat Ba Town on the road to the national park entrance. The cave was once used, as a secret bomb-proof hospital during the American War, and as a safe house for VC leaders. Built between 1963 and 1965 with assistance from China, this incredibly well-constructed three-story feat of engineering was in constant use until 1975. There are 17 rooms, including a cinema, and one small swimming pool.
CAT ONG ISLAND:
Cat Ong Island is a small beautiful island located 2 km from Cat Ba town. The beach here is one of the most beautiful and quite beaches in Cat Ba Island. The sea water is extremely clean and emerald. The climate here is wonderful and its nature makes it a beautiful island. It is a good place for relaxation and active sports such as kayaking excursions and volleyball.
VIET HAI FISHING VILLAGE:
Viet Hai Village is located approximately 18 km from Cat Ba Island. The small fishing village of Viet Hai stretches along the coastline. To reach the village one can embark on an 8km trek passing Frog Pond before arriving in Viet Hai. There are about 200 local people here.
CAI VIENG HARBOR (PHU LONG FERRY):
To get to Cat Ba Island from Hai Phong City, you have to cross Hai Phong and take the ferry from Ben Got (Got Ferry) in Cat Hai district. Arrive at Phu Long harbor, 30km away from Cat Ba Town.
BEN BEO HARBOR:
Ben Beo, about 2km from Cat Ba town, is the main route to Viet Hai village, Lan Ha bay, Ha Long Bay and Monkey Island. Ben Beo is 15km away from Cat Ba National Park. It was the first harbor built by French colonies.
GIA LUAN HARBOR:
Gia Luan Ferry is about 28km from Cat Ba town. Here is where most of the tourist and local ferries between Cat Ba Island and Halong City arrive and depart. This is the main harbor to travel from Halong Bay to Cat Ba Town. Cat Ba National Park can be found midway, approximately 10km from the harbor.
CAT BA ISLAND'S POPULATION (Present ):
20,726 people are living on the island in which: Cat Ba Town (8,600), six villages (12,126) and on boats and floating villages (4,000).
The ethnic Vietnamese, Kinh people, moved to Cat Ba after 1979. The second groups are the Viet-Chinese, who are descendents from fishing communities that have existed on Cat Ba for many generations. Fisherman and farmers live in Tran Chau (the oldest and largest village on the island). In Gia Luan, farmers, fishermen and some hunters can be found. Phu Long consists of fishermen and salt farmers. In Xuan Dam, the population is mostly farmers. In the smallest village of Viet Hai, 200 people live in simple houses made of bamboo, wood, leaves and a mixture made with mud for walls. It is fishing and farming village, where the people are sincere, simple minded and very hospitable.
CAT BA'S ECONOMY FISHERIES and CULTURE:
- Cat Ba is different in many ways from Hanoi and other places because of its Viet-Chinese Heritage, its fishing communities and fishermen culture.
- Agriculture (lychees, Gia Luan oranges and mandarins, honey)
- Aquaculture (Phu Long prawns, fish, crabs, Cat Hai salt, fish sauce)
CAT BA - WHY SHOULD I GO TO CAT BA?
Hiking in the National Park
Finest sea food in the north
Beaches and swimming
Motorbike tours (guided or independent)
Ha Long Bay tours
Rock climbing tours
Diving and snorkeling
CAT BA- HOW COULD WE HELP YOU?
Fantastic tours: Trekking Tours; Kayaking Tours; Fishing tours, Snorkeling tours and Boat tours (Sailing Boats & Junks and deluxe junks) to discover Lan Ha Bay – Ha Long Bay – Bai Tu Long Bay
Rock climbing - (need an experience captain) and camping areas
Motor bikes and kayak rentals (local guided or independent)
CAT BA → HAI PHONG →HA NOI
CAT BA → HAI PHONG → NINH BINH
CAT BA →HA LONG CITY → HA NOI
TRAIN AND OPEN BUSD TICKETS FROM HANOI/ NINH BINH TO SA PA, HUE, HOI AN, DA NANG, NHA TRANG, MUI NE, SAI GON….
Respectfully, We would like to build CAT BA VICTOR TOURS in order to bring deep discoveries of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba Island to you.
Catbavictortours – your friend on the island