Vietnam Travel Guide

Cat Ba Island


Cat Ba Island belong to Cat Hai district, Hai Phong city. The center is the Cat Ba town about 30 km away from the east of  Hai Phong City  and  25 km from the southeast of Ha Long City.

Cat Ba archipelago consists of 367 islands including the biggest island – Cat Ba located in the south of Halong Bay . Cat Ba Island is also known as the Jade Island, the largest island of the 1,969 islands of Halong Bay island system.

Cat Ba island is the blended area between jungle and sea, creating a unique landscape. Come to this beautiful island, visitors not only get bathing under green beaches but also explore the mysterious nature through primeval forests on the island. Cat Ba National Forest  spread on 15,200 hectares wide with 570 hectares of tropical primeval forests rich of flora and fauna, characterized by whitehead langurs and Kim Giao trees.

Cat Ba Island is a giant green carpet contains many mysteries, compelling. Cat Ba deserves to be the 3rd national biosphere reserve of Vietnam and now also recognized as a world biosphere reserve by the UNESCO. The total area of Cat Ba biosphere reserve contains 26,000 hectares wide, with 2 core zone (strict conservation with no human impact), 2 buffers (that allows economic growth but in conjunction with restrictions conservation) and two transition zones (economic development). The Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve is full convergence regions include tropical rain forest on limestone islands, mangroves, coral reefs, seaweed beds and especially the cave system. Cat Ba also has Cai Beo relic  belong to Ha Long culture where got population lived 6475 – 4200 year ago.

With charmed nature endowed , the biodiversity, and the tremendous value of national history, Cat Ba has and will become an attractive destination for local and foreign tourists.

Cat Ba island accompanies with Ha Long Bay as natural wonders of the new world created a population of islands and sea caves fascinating all visitors.

cat ba city in the morning


Cat Ba National Park is located on Cat Ba Island, Cat Hai District – Hai Phong City ( 60 km from the city center). Was established on 08/01/1991 by the Chairman of Ministers Council of Vietnam. With a total area of 16.196,8 hectares featuring the character of the 3 typical ecosystems of Vietnam: terrestrial ecosystem, wetland ecosystem, and marine ecosystem. These ecosystems are highly representative of biodiversity and genetic resources of rare, many species of high economic value, including endemic species have outstanding universal value.

Geographical coordinates: From 20,41′ degrees to  20,51′ north latitude and 106,58′ degrees to 107,05 degrees east longitude.

Acreage: 15,200 ha (included an area of 9,800 hectares of forests and mountains and 5,400 ha of water area). Buffer zone: A strip of land and water surface around 1 -3 km wide from the boundary of the garden.

Objectives and tasks: Preserving relatively intact natural ecosystems. Conservation of genetic resources of rare plants, endemic species of the park such as Kim Giao trees, white-headed langur, snout, dolphins, Cao Catbird…etc. Protecting the natural landscape,the archaeological value and historical culture. Restoration of forest ecosystems at the affected point and restoration of native plant and species animals. Perform scientific research services, communication, education combined with ecotourism services. Coordinate with local governments to build and manage the buffers zone.

Cat Ba national Park

The value of biodiversity:

The Cat Ba island got an ample and varied fauna and flora. According to initial investigations, there are 620 species of vascular plants belonging to 438 genera and distribution of 123 families. With typical of the evergreen tropical rainy seasonal forest  at the lower belt and many subtypes forest belts as forest on limestone slopes, atop forest, needle leaf forests, flooded forests and mangroves on the mountain.


The floral:

The main jungle type is evergreen tropical rainforest forest, but due to the terrain, soil and water regimes there are some type of subsidiarity forests as limestone forest, mangrove forest island , freshwater wetland forests in the mountains. The forest is also full of the ecological type with plants including Thổ phục linh (Smilax glabrate), Lát hoa ( Chukrasia tabular), Kim Giao (Podocarpus fleury Yi), Sến mật (Madhuca daiquiri), Trai lý (Garcinia fag aerides), Nghiến (Excentrodendron tonkinense). The medicinal plants have 661 species . Especially in the Trung Trang area, there is  Kim Giao tree an endemic species living in groups over an area of tens of hectares in the forest center.

cat ba national park

The Fauna :

For wild animals, has recorded 338 species of terrestrial vertebrates exist in Cat Ba. Among them: 53 species of mammals in 7 orders, 17 families. 205 species of birds belonging to 17 orders, 51 families.  55 species of reptiles layer 2 orders, 14 families. 25 species of amphibian class belong to 1 order, 7 families… Despite the animals are very abundant, but there are 36 species of endangered, rare and must be conservation priorities, including 26 species in the Red Data Book of Vietnam … Particularly sea fauna discovered 1,313 species of which have been identified: 196 species of marine fish, 538 species of bottom-dwelling animals, 89 species of zooplankton,

Especially Cat Ba Island has 60 species of rare endemic  in the Red Data Book of Vietnam such as whitehead langurs (Trachypithecus Francois), White-collared crow (Corvus torques), black squirrel (Ratufa bicolor),  wild cat (Felis bengalensis), civet (Viverricula indica) … According to a recent survey ,the whitehead langurs in Cat Ba just remain over 60 individuals , this is not only endemic in Vietnam but also around the world.


Tourist activities:

 As the biosphere reserves in the world – Cat Ba National Park with pristine flora and  fauna should be the not to be missed destination when traveling to Cat Ba Island. You can try to experience the feeling of walking in the wild forest, biking through the forest on the trail, immersed in nature and suddenly encounter wild rare animals such as the red head monkey, white head langur … Come to Cat Ba National Park you will also be tasting natural products like the honey of forests,rose tea .

monkey island

Beside that come to Cat Ba island you will have chang to join many interesting activities both on the beach and in the forest.  Swimming at the really nice beaches as Cat Co 1 , 2 ,3  Cat Dua beach. Driving to see the amazing coral reef with colorful coral and sea fauna. Rock climbing at the mountain cliff and limestone island . Visit Lan Ha bay by tourist boat . Explore the cave inside the national park or visit monkey island.

beach in Cat ba island

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