Cat Ba National Park is located in Cat Hai district, Hai Phong city in the northeast Vietnam. The national park is centered on Cat Ba island, a 28,500 ha island, which lies 20 km due east of Hai Phong city and immediately to the west of Halong bay. The national park also incorporates some of the small islands and marine waters situated to the east of Cat Ba island.
Like Halong bay, the landscape of Cat Ba National Park is dominated by karst limestone islands rising abruptly from the sea. The topography is rugged and marked by steep outcrops and areas of bare rock. The national park ranges in elevation from sea level to 331 m at the summit of Mount Cao Vong.
As is typical in well-developed karst landscapes, drainage patterns are complicated by subterranean passages, which probably account for most of the drainage in the national park. The center of Cat Ba Island is no more than 5 km from the coast, and surface drainage is poorly developed and seasonal.
Each year, Cat Ba island receives large numbers of domestic and overseas tourists. A significant proportion of these tourists visit the national park, either on foot, along one of the hiking trails, or by boat, through the marine component.
Map of Cat Ba national park
Cat Ba national park wildlife
Cat Ba National Park supports a diversity of natural habitats, including forested hills, small freshwater lakes, freshwater swamp forest, mangroves, sandy beaches and coral reefs. The main natural vegetation type on Cat Ba island is limestone forest. To date, 839 vascular plant species have been recorded at the national park, including 25 species listed in the Red Data Book of Vietnam.
Due to the isolated nature of the island and high levels of hunting, the diversity and abundance of mammals at Cat Ba are low compared to other national parks in Vietnam. Scientists report that the only ungulates on the island are Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis, Eurasian Wild Pig Sus scrofa and Red Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak but that only the former is common.
Of highest importance from a conservation perspective, the park supports the only known population of Cat Ba Leaf Monkey Trachypithecus poliocephalus in the world. The results of a detailed survey of this endemic primate in 1999 and 2000 indicate that the total population of Cat Ba Leaf Monkey is only between 104 and 135 individuals, including only 50 to 75 adults.
The limestone habitats at Cat Ba Vietnam National Park are important for a number of invertebrate taxa. A survey in 1998, for instance, revealed that, because of an abundance of suitable moist niches within the limestone forest, the national park had a rich and diverse snail fauna.
Cat Ba weather
Cat Ba Hai Phong national park is specified by the tropical monsoon climate and influenced by the ocean. The average temperature ranges from 25°C to 28°C according to seasons. In summer, the temperature may increase to 30°C, while it may go around 15-20°C in the winter. The average precipitation in the park is about 1700-1800mm per year, which fluctuates according to seasons. Rainy season runs from July to August. The tidal fluctuation is from 3.3m to 3.9m.
What’s the best time to visit Cat Ba Vietnam?
The best time during the year to visit the Cat Ba national park is October and November. The weather is best during this time of the year. During these two months the island experiences a pleasant weather to enjoy the national park.
Trekking in Cat Ba national park
Trekking is the best way to discover the ecosystem of Cat Ba Vietnam national park. Join us on Cat Ba Vietnam trekking tour enables you to explore several rare wild life resources of the park including tropical everlasting green primitive forest, mangroves, limestone vegetation types, or Kim Giao precious wood forest.
At Hiking Vietnam we propose a half day hike from the park head quarter to the Ngu Lam peak and a full day trek from Cat Ba park ranger station through the park to Viet Hai village. The first trip is easy/moderate and can be completed in 2-3 hours. The second trip is more challenging that we only recommend for active travelers. Keep reading on the section below for more information about Cat Ba hiking trails.
Cat Ba trekking routes
There are several trekking routes in Cat Ba Vietnam national park as well as in Cat Ba Island. Here we’ve compiled all the trekking route maps in Cat Ba Vietnam, from a short walk (1-2 hours) around Cat Ba Island to the 18km hike through the park.
The short routes take about 1-2 hours and include such sites as Kim Giao Forest, Ngu Lam Peak, Environmental Education Trail, and Trung Trang Cave.
The long routes require about 4-7 hours and include these sites: Frog Pond Ao Ech, Viet Hai village, May Bau, Army Hospital Cave, Me Go – May Bau, Trung Trang – Lien Minh Suoi Goi.
Kim Giao Forest – Ngu Lam Peak (1.5km)
This hiking trail allows you to experience a forest which is home to the rare, endangered and ancient Kim Giao trees. The trail continues onto Ngu Lam peak which lends spectacular views of the area. This hiking route takes about 30 minutes each way. To follow this route, you will hike in the forest, past such points as: butterfly garden – zoo – botanical gardens – natural forest on limestone mountain – Kim Giao forest – Ngu Lam Peak.
National Park Head Quarter – Ao Ech – Viet Hai (14km) – Lan Ha Bay (boat)
This is a hard trekking route which enables you to explore the ecosystem as well as different wildlife resources of Catba national park. You also have chance to experience the local culture of Vietnamese community in Viet Hai village. After you complete the 14km hiking trail, you take a boat to keep discovering Cat Ba Archipelago – Lan Ha Bay with numerous spectacular small island, and plenty hidden beaches.
Park Ranger Station – Ao Ech (5km)
This trail starts close to the National Park headquarters and provides a much harder challenge. First you will visit a magnificent flooded willow forest in a valley high above sea level. The water is the largest concentration of freshwater on the island. You follow the same route to get back to the Park Ranger Station. The trekking route takes you about 4 hours.
Park’s entrance – Jungle trek – Viet Hai village
Cat Ba national park tours
Cat Ba national park tours is our collection of best tour packages we arrange in Cat Ba Vietnam. Options include not only trekking, hiking tours in CatBa national park, but also others holiday packages with sea kayaking, cave discovery, sightseeing, boat trips, kayaking and more.
The itineraries below are only some suggestions which can be further customized to better fit individual requirements. Just follow it or contact us to plan your perfect trip to Cat Ba Vietnam.
Cat Ba National Park is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and biodiversity. It’s home to unique limestone karst landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and beautiful hiking trails. The park is also famous for its efforts in preserving endangered species, such as the golden-headed langur.
Some of the best hiking trails in Cat Ba National Park include the Ngu Lam Peak Trail, Kim Giao Forest Trail, and the Frog Lake Trail. These trails offer breathtaking views of the island and its lush forests.
Yes, you can find guided tours that provide informative and enjoyable experiences in Cat Ba National Park. These tours often include activities like trekking, bird watching, and exploring the unique flora and fauna. Local guides are knowledgeable about the park’s history and ecology.
Yes, Cat Ba National Park is home to various wildlife species, including the rare golden-headed langur, civets, and numerous bird species. While wildlife sightings can be challenging, you may have a chance to spot some of these creatures during guided tours or hikes.
The best time to visit Cat Ba National Park is during the dry season, which typically runs from October to April. During this period, the weather is pleasant, and the trails are less muddy, making it ideal for outdoor activities. However, keep in mind that it can get crowded during peak tourist seasons, so plan accordingly.