Cat Ba Island, the World’s Biosphere Reserve
Cat Ba island, Vietnam’s Pearl Island, a surprising heavenly landscape!
Belonging to Cat Ba Archipelago, which includes 367 islands, in the south of Ha Long bay, Cat Ba Island is only 30 km from Hai Phong city centre and 25 km from Ha Long city.
Not at all is it a random thing when Cat Ba is also called Pearl Island (Dao Ngoc in Vietnamese). With a 70m altitude, and the post to overlook Lan Ha lagoon, Cat Ba lures tourists by its heavenly captivation. With an area of 140 km2 and population of 9000 people, it is proud to be the biggest island among the 1,969 islands in Ha Long bay. If you are considering a fresh-air and beautiful place to travel, just pack your stuff, stand up and fly to this magic land of blue Sky and Sea!
The Biosphere reserve of the world!
The archipelago has a global significance thanks to its plentiful species found nowhere else. It is home to the golden-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus), one of the top ten rare primates in the world due.
Besides, visitors can find several precious habitat types here, including fringing coral reefs, mangrove forest, sea grass beds, willow swamp forest and tropical limestone forest. Many of those are fiercely endangered.
With a major coastal fishing zone, and a karst seascape of outstanding beauty, a tremendous potential for agri-aqua culture and tourism is open to the area. Thanks to the special values, Cat Ba was acknowledged as the World Biosphere Reserve in 2004. So, are you curious to go? Then…
… Take a visit to its caves and grottos, now?
Cat Ba boasts many beautiful caves and grottos such as Trung Trang, Quan Y and Thien Long…
Trung Trang is the largest valley in Cat Ba Island with the total area of 300 ha, from 10-30 meter lower than the sea level, which is 15km northwest of the island. It is about 300 m walk. Beautiful with glistening stalactite & stalagmite it is! Visiting Trung Trang, one has learnt that it is deeply a thousand-year great work of Nature!
Quan Y grotto. “Quan Y” means “Army medical care”. This special name derives from the Wartime against American Air force, when Vietnamese people built a hospital with hundreds of beds inside this grotto. Today, visitors can easily reach it as Quan Y Grotto is on the main way along the Island, only about 13 km from the Island’s centre.
About 2 hours traveling by boat from Phu Long wharf is Thien Long grotto. It has just been discovered since 1997. This is one of the most beautiful caves and grottos in Ha Long bay. As wide and deep with miraculously various shaped & colorful stalactites and stalagmites, and tree roots from the mount to the bottom, Thien Long grotto is admired by any tourist stepping inside. One even said: “It looks like a pretty and peaceful fairy land on the sea..!” after her tour here. Also, people can feel free to contemplate the coral system, salty lakes and ponds in and around, which are definitely rich of marine bio-diversity.
Go swimming & entertain yourself, or you might regret!
A peak mountain in the shape of a turtle divides the beach into 2 small beaches, Cat Co One and Cat Co Two. On the right hand is fabricated rock mountain, while on the left hand is the clear and blue sea water, white and smooth sand. The beauty of the beach has been changing side by side with the flying time. Yet, never would it lose the natural luring power.
In the morning, after enjoying the sunrise on the sea, tourists will visit Monkey Island, conquering Hai Thanh mount, Hon Thot mount or Hon Guoc mount, and swimming in the pure sea as much as you can to feel how fresh a “heaven” can be!
In the afternoon, you may discover the area’s original beauty by renting a kayak to paddle to the bay. Then, should you are still well enough, perhaps we join some sports on the beach, such as valley ball, boat racing, and so forth. When night falls, the whole team would lie down in the cottages near by the beach to relax for a while, listening to the sound of rough sea waves. A romantic & relaxation experience!
Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha bay is situated in the southeast of Cat Ba Island. It takes about 30 minutes to go there from Cat Ba by boat. The bay is large with arched shore. Getting inside, a number of islands and beaches are welcoming tourists.
Not only is it famous for beautiful beaches, but also for the imposing caves and ideal place for fishing. A lot of visitors who are fond of fishing do not want to come back once staying here for a while!
Viet Hai village
To switch into a new atmospheric space, tourists should now get to Viet Hai Village. It captures attentions by the precious retained hundreds-year traditional cultural values of Cat Ba. Viet Hai people still live in the simple house, built in bamboo, wood, leaves and soil.
If it gets late, we may stay overnight in the village in a simple and guest house at very reasonable price. You might be surprised as being treated in a friendly way, and served with special local cuisine seafood by the honest and hospitable local people. Believe me, you may not want to go back soon!
How to reach Cat Ba Island?
Visitors can reach Cat Ba Island by two ways. One, by ferry from Hai Phong city, Binh ferry station or Dinh Vu ferry station. And two, from Ha Long bay. After visiting this Natural World Heritage Site, visitors can keep staying on boat and getting to the Island.