Cat Ba Island is situated in Ha Long Bay, 50 km to the east of Hai Phong City, in Northern Vietnam. Of 366 islands in the Cat Ba Archipelago, it is the largest one covering the surface area of about 140 square km, approximately half of which is covered by a National Park, which is the home of plant and animal species. Cat Ba National Park is Vietnam’s first national park to include both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
It was established in 1986 with a view to protecting the island’s diverse ecosystem. The park is the great place to explore as it includes many kinds of forests such as subtropical evergreen forests, freshwater swamp forests, coastal mangrove forests, etc. Besides, it possesses a great variety of precious plant and animal species that are in danger. The typical example is the golden-headed langur which is officially the world’s most endangered primate with 60 left in the park.
In the islands, there are also many caves containing abundant stalactites and stalagmites of various sizes and shapes that make visitors feel as if they are entering the dream-land. Some popular caves that can be named are Trung Trang cave, Quan Y cave, Thien Long cave, etc. There are also few nice sandy beaches here that may help tourists take a rest comfortably.
Cat Ba Island, its national park and the surrounding area are of great value in biodiversity, exemplified through the recognition of the Cat Ba Archipelago as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, in 2004. Spectacular scenery and high diversity of landscapes make Cat Ba be overrun by streams of national and international tourists year round.