CAT BA NATIONAL PARK VIETNAM: A DETAILED GUIDE

     

Frequently listed as one of Vietnam’s most famous national parks, cát Bà should be on the itinerary of any traveler visiting Ha Long Bay. The park is an important biosphere in Northern Vietnam, and it has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in an effort khổng lồ further protect cát Bà Island’s unique plants and wildlife.

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Since the 1990s, cat Bà National Park has been a frequent destination for nationals và Chinese tourists. Today, with the influx of international tourists, the park has seen its popularity boom as visitors rush khổng lồ explore Vietnam’s biodiversity in Ha Long Bay.

Location

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Stay the night in cát Bà. Photo by: Shawn Harquail.

Cát Bà National Park is an incredibly chất lượng destination due to lớn its location in Lan Ha Bay, which is close to lớn the more popular Ha Long Bay. The park lies in the heart of the 100 square mile cat Bà Island.

On the shores of the island is cát Bà Town, which has become a major tourist destination. With waterfront restaurants, hotels, và shops, the town has become an anchor for visitors who want to experience both sides of Vietnam.

Officially, mèo Bà Island is 90 miles (145 kilometers) away from Hanoi, spanning both land & sea, the journey will take about 5 hours. The close proximity to the capital city allows travelers to lớn take a day trip to the national park or spend a few days exploring the island and surrounding bay.

History

Thousands of years before cát Bà became a thriving tourist destination & national park, it was home to the Cai Beo people. First inhabited over 6,000 years ago, the island has seen its population grow & develop over the centuries.

During the Tran Dynasty, the island’s name was Cac Ba. Translated as “Women’s Island”, historical accounts state that the bodies of three women washed up on the shores of cát Bà Island where they were found by the local fishermen. Three temples were constructed, one for each of the women, và the name was changed to cat Bà.

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The Viet hai Village. Photo by: Sitoo.

During the French và American Wars, the island’s strategic location made it a target. Inhabited by Viet-Chinese fishermen, remains from the war include the Hospital Cave và Cannon Fort. Both attractions have been opened to lớn the public and are just a short distance away from cat Bà Town.

By 1986, the importance of the island’s biodiversity was recognized và protected. Cát Bà was declared a national park and took over space that was once used for timber. In 2004, the national park gained further protection from UNESCO after it was named a World Heritage Site. The last modifications occurred in 2006, which is when it was resized to lớn protect more land & water space.

What khổng lồ Do

Ha Long cất cánh has become Vietnam’s famed tourist hotspot where guests can cruise past the islands, relax at the resort, or venture through the jungle. Endless adventure awaits visitors to lớn Ha Long và Cát Bà National Park happens to lớn be one of the most popular attractions in the area.

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Take a river cruise through the national park. Photo by: rapidacid.

Consisting of mostly tropical rainforest và in-shore tide pools, cát Bà National Park is a refuge for a diverse array of plants and animals. Spread across rainforests, và caves, and harbored in tide pools, the chances of seeing one of the park’s rare inhabitants are high. Visitors can take a cruise, hike, or swim in the park as they visit ngốc Lam Mountain, Trung Trang Cave, or Frog Lake.

Solo Adventure or Guided Tour

While trails are clearly marked & the park can be navigated without hiring a guide, depending on your needs, you might want khổng lồ consider one. For guests who want to explore more than just the national park, going solo might be the best choice to maintain a flexible schedule. Travelers can rent a motorbike in cat Bà Town khổng lồ travel lớn the park’s main entrance.

Those interested in visiting remote areas or wanting to partake in a homestay in the Viet hai fishing village would be better off hiring a guide. A few of the hikes in cát Bà, including the trails to lớn the Viet nhị Village, are quite strenuous & a guide would be able to lớn assist trekkers, ensuring that they stay on the correct path. Guides can be hired in town or at the park’s main headquarters.

Hiking

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Explore the jungle. Photo by: Gavin White.

The best activity for visitors who want to lớn get an intimate view of cat Bà is khổng lồ take a hike. The park covers a little less than half of cát Bà Island and that leaves hundreds of miles of Vietnam’s jungle to lớn explore. One of the most popular hikes is the short climb khổng lồ the summit of ngớ ngẩn Lam Mountain. Ideal for solo travelers, this short hike takes less than an hour for most people.

Longer hikes khổng lồ more remote areas of the park are better than a guided tour. The hike to lớn the Viet nhị fishing villages is the park’s longest trail at 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) và will take the better part of one day to lớn complete.

The hikes khổng lồ Viet Hai & Ngu Lam are the most popular trails in the park, but they aren’t the only options. There are dozens of clearly marked paths that range in length & difficulty. Though guests should take caution if they choose khổng lồ hike after a rainstorm. Some of the harder trails can be near impossible khổng lồ pass if there has recently been a heavy rainstorm.

Hospital Cave

Ideally, travelers will avoid having khổng lồ visit a hospital while on vacation, but the Hospital Cave in mèo Bà is one destination that visitors might find interesting. No longer functioning và minutes away from cát Bà Town, this three-story hospital was built underground and features a cinema and swimming pool.

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Looking out from the Hospital Cave. Photo: Julie Watkinson

During the Vietnam War, the Hospital Cave was essential for treating wounded soldiers. The concrete structure isn’t the most cheerful place to lớn be, but, for many, the historical significance of the hospital is enough to warrant a visit. Visitors can self-tour the hospital after purchasing their entrance ticket or hire a guide if they want lớn learn more about the structure’s history.

Trung Trang Cave

In addition lớn the Hospital Cave, Trung Trang Cave has become a prominent attraction amongst the island’s guests. Massive stalactite formations, endless caverns, & cave-dwelling species make Trung Trang Cave ideal for visitors who have a limited amount of time in cat Bà. The cave is easy lớn access and with well-maintained paths, it is easy to navigate.

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A grandiose entrance leads visitors through small chambers, narrow passageways, & roomy caverns. The walk from the beginning khổng lồ the end is about 984 feet (300 meters). Before entering the cave, visitors will have to lớn traverse an elevated bridge & climb numerous stairs. The bridge provides the easiest path khổng lồ the cave entrance without having lớn navigate through overgrown vegetation.