Cat Ba National Park – The Complete Travel Guide [Updated 2024]

Nestled on Cat Ba Island, Cat Ba National Park invites nature enthusiasts to explore its diverse landscapes and lively environments. With lush jungles, towering peaks, and scenic trails, the park offers an engaging experience in the heart of Vietnam’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast or simply seeking peace, Cat Ba National Park promises a captivating adventure. Follow the article below with VTJ to explore the beauty of this place!

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About Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park has incredibly breathtaking scenery

Cat Ba National Park is situated on Cat Ba Island, the largest of the 367 islands forming the Cat Ba Archipelago, near the northeastern coast of Vietnam. Covering an area of 102 square miles (263 sq km), the national park includes 35 square miles (90 sq km) of inshore water.

The majority of the island is inside the National Park, characterized by limestone-based rough hills with peaks reaching heights of around 1,600 feet (600 m). The valleys and hills are covered in primary, secondary, and mangrove forests. The narrow valleys are surrounded by jagged hills covered with vegetation, reaching heights of 1,600 feet (500 m) and sometimes shorter around 660 feet (200 m).

The park boasts a rich biological diversity with 1,500 plant species, including 118 tree species and 160 plants with medicinal properties. Wildlife includes 32 mammal species, 20 reptile and amphibian species, and 78 bird species, with deers, squirrels, macaque monkeys, and civets commonly spotted.

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Cat Ba National Park Trails

1. Kim Giao Forest – Ngu Lam Peak

The most popular trail is Ngu Lam Peak in Cat Ba National Park 

This trail is the most popular in the national park and is ideal if you have limited time. It takes you through beautiful forested areas before ascending to Ngu Lam Peak, offering a magnificent view of the island’s mountains. The trail is a three-kilometer round trip, and you can complete it in one and a half to two hours, including time for photos at the top.

2. Trung Trang

Trung Trang Cave in Cat Ba Island stands for nature's artistic prowess

Though labeled as a trail on the park’s official website, this is more of a walk along the street from the park headquarter to the cave entrance. Trung Trang Cave, a 300-meter-long cave with stunning stalactites, served as a medical center during the Vietnam War. 

3. Viet Hai Trek

Viet Hai Trek is the most challenging trek inside the national park

Considered the most challenging trek, this 14-kilometer trail leads through a flooded willow forest to the Viet Hai community, a small settlement within Cat Ba National Park. After the hike, you can boat back from the Viet Hai pier or stay overnight in one of the village homestays before returning to Cat Ba town the next day.

4. Ao Ech Trail

The Ao Ech Trail requires a bit of fitness

This trail guides you to the flooded willow forest in the island’s center. Completing this hike takes about four to five hours and requires a certain level of fitness.

Wildlife at Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park is a fascinating destination for wildlife enthusiasts

The park is home to 32 mammal species, 20 amphibian and reptile species, and 78 bird species, with deers, macaque monkeys, and civet cats being common. The critically endangered Cat Ba langur, with only about 70 individuals remaining, is a conservation focus. For a chance to see a Cat Ba langur, visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park.

Flora of Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park hosts over a thousand of flora and fauna species

Cat Ba National Park Tour boasts diverse ecosystems, including limestone mountains, mangroves, rainforests, and valleys. With 1,500 plant species, including 160 medicinal properties, the park is a heaven for plant lovers. Further information about the island’s biodiversity can be found on the Cat Ba National Park website.

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Things to Do in Cat Ba National Park

1. Hiking

Hiking is the best way to discover Cat Ba National Park

Explore Cat Ba National Park through its hiking trails, with the Ngu Lam Peak hike offering panoramic views. This challenging yet rewarding experience immerses you in the park’s natural wonders.

2. Wildlife Spotting

A captivating journey into one of Vietnam's most biodiverse areas

Spot diverse flora and fauna, including rare species like macaques and langurs, as well as various bird species.

3. Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing is one of the most adventurous sports on Cat Ba Island

For the adventurous, rock climbing is organized in areas like Moody Beach and Butterfly Valley. Contact Cat Ba Climbing for half-day or full-day trips, with prices ranging from $49 to $70.

4. Visiting the Caves of Cat Ba

There are numerous huge and tiny caves in Cat Ba National Park

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Exploring the natural marvels of Vietnam can be a fascinating experience when you visit the Caves of Cat Ba Island. The island is not only famous for its natural beauty but also for its biodiversity, including its caves. 

There are numerous huge and tiny caves on the Island, of which Trung Trang Cave and Quan Y Cave are the most visited by tourists thanks to their natural beauty without human impact. In addition, Hoa Cuong Cave and Thien Long Cave are equally attractive with their own charms.

The caves here have a simple but different appeal and they are definitely worth a visit.

5. Cycling

Cycling through Cat Ba National Park to delve into its rustic beauty

Cycle through Cat Ba National Park on well-maintained roads, or explore Viet Hai Village for a rural experience.

6. Visit Viet Hai Village

Viet Hai Village nestles within the wilderness of Cat Ba National Park

Experience traditional rural life in the picturesque Viet Hai Village, a remote gem within Cat Ba National Park.

7. Boat Cruise

Exploring Cat Ba National Park via a boat cruise is a must-experience 

Choose a sustainable boat cruise operator, such as Blue Swimmers, for a scenic tour. Blue Swimmers also offers kayaking adventures.

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Cat Ba National Park Timings

The closing time of Cat Ba National Park is crucial for long treks

Cat Ba National Park closes at 5 p.m. The closing time is crucial, especially for longer treks like the fishing village, which requires an early start. Be mindful that the park does not provide maps, so rely on the park’s signboards for guidance. The entrance fee is 40,000 VND per person, along with a 5,000 VND parking fee.

Cat Ba National Park Entrance Fee

It's essential to know the Cat Ba National Park entrance fee policy

While a substantial part of Cat Ba island is within the national park, there are free-access areas for walking or cycling. For specific hikes at the park, the entrance fee for Trung Trang Cave and the Hospital Cave is 80,000 VND each. Exploring the waters with tours from Blue Swimmers.

How to Get to Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba is accessible from various locations via diverse transportation

Cat Ba from Hanoi (150 km)

  • Getting to Cat Ba National Park from Hanoi by private car or taxi: Drive or hire a taxi via the Hanoi-Hai Phong expressway, passing the Dinh Vu – Cat Hai bridge to Got Pier. Consider ferry options to Cai Vieng pier to avoid traffic jams. From there, take public transport to the park.
  • Getting to Cat Ba National Park from Hanoi by tourist bus: Book a tourist bus from Hanoi Old Quarter to get a ferry, then a ferry to Cai Vieng Pier. The journey takes around 4 hours, with a ticket cost of approximately 300,000 VND.

Cat Ba from Hai Phong (26 km)

Take a taxi or motorbike taxi to Got Pier, then use a speedboat or hydrofoil to the island. Cat Ba Island Resort & Spa Hydrofoil offers shuttle bus services.

Cat Ba from Halong Bay (20 km)

Use Tuan Chau Ferry, costing 860,000 VND for pedestrians or 1080,000 VND with a motorbike. The journey takes about 50 minutes.

Cat Ba National Park from Cat Ba Town

Take a taxi, or public bus, rent a bike, or hire a private car to reach the park.

Cat Ba National Park from Xuan Dam Village

Follow the road between the two main roads, but be aware that the indicated road on Google Maps turns into a jungle trail at a certain point. Walk towards Cat Ba Eco-lodge, and from there, follow the jungle trail until you reach an asphalted road. You can walk the remaining distance or hitchhike.

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Tips When Visiting Cat Ba National Park

Prepare thrilling tips for a safe, enjoyable Cat Ba adventure

Before embarking on your journey to Cat Ba National Park, consider the following tips:

  • Dress comfortably and wear sports shoes.
  • Bring necessary medications and mosquito repellent.
  • Carry mineral water and light snacks for treks.
  • Avoid littering, tree cutting, flower picking, or branch breaking.
  • Be friendly and respectful of the environment.

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In conclusion, Cat Ba National Park stands as a captivating destination, showcasing the diverse beauty of Vietnam’s natural landscapes. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or an adventure seeker, the park offers a range of activities and trails that promise an unforgettable experience in the heart of this picturesque scenery. Don’t forget to follow more articles from VTJ to explore many other beautiful landscapes in Vietnam!

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Vietnam Teaching Jobs (VTJ), which was founded in 2012 is a well-established platform for teachers to find their dream teaching job in Vietnam. Covering the entirety of the country, we have successfully paired thousands of happy teachers and schools. Be part of the thousands of happy teachers working in Vietnam, register and apply for your dream job today!