CAT BA NATIONAL PARK
Cat Ba National Park was established in 1986 and was Vietnam’s first ever national park. It covers an area of 15,200 ha and is located 15km west of Cat Ba town. It is recognized nationally and internationally for its importance in biodiversity conservation.
As a result of this high concentration of biodiversity, the Cat Ba National Park was recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve in 2004, and the area plays an essential role in developing the local economy, tourism, aquaculture, fishery and aquaculture and scientific research.
The park is also made up of a range of different ecosystems including both terrestrial and marine and covers areas both on Cat Ba Island itself as well as areas on the surrounding islands and had been attracting an increasing number of visitors each year.
Flora and Fauna
Cat Ba National Park is home to 282 species of fauna of which 32 are mammals; 78 are birds; 20 are reptilian and 11 are amphibian. Perhaps the most famous creature to live amongst the dense jungle is the golden-headed langur also known as the Car Ba langur. There are only 66 recorded Cat Ba langur left and these are found only in the coastal mountains.
The jungle contains a diverse range of rare and unique botany as well. The main forest is rain forest and evergreen forest. Due to the topography some secondary forests also exist such as limestone and mangrove forest.
There are 745 different species of plants recorded in Cat Ba National Park.This includes 118 different types of timber and 160 plants known for their medicinal value. An interesting tree called ‘Cay Kim Giao’ is also found here and the wood was once used to make chopsticks for the kings and nobles. This was because it was said the timber would turn black if it came into contact with a poison.
Things to do in Cat Ba National Park
One of the most popular activities inside Cat Ba National Park is trekking. People can hike to the top of Ngu Lam mountain to enjoy spectacular views of the jungle and the rocky mountains right across the national park. Here you can rest for a while to catch your breath or choose to continue to trek through the jungle for 4-5 hours which will eventually take you to the remote fishing village of Viet Hai.
As you follow the path you may come across lizards darting across the track; vibrant butterflies, spectacularly colored birds; insects and even some snakes; curling themselves around the trees.
You will pass a variety of different trees; plants; flowers and vines as well as Frog Lake which is home to a side range of amphibians unique to this part of the world.
How to get to Cat Ba National Park
There are several ways to reach Cat Ba National Park. All long distance busses from anywhere in Vietnam must pass through the national park on their way to Cat Ba town and you can ask the driver to drop you off on the way. Note there is no accommodation available in the park so you must arrange for someone to watch your luggage and find a way to get to Cat Ba once you have finished exploring.
Alternatively if you stay in Cat Ba town you can either book a guided tour which is the easiest and most stress free way to enter the park or rent a motorbike and travel to the park independently. If you travel independently be aware that the park gates open at 6am and close at 7pm. Driving back to Cat Ba town in the dark is quite dangerous so be sure to head back well before sunset.
It is also possible to commission a taxi from Cat Ba town however this option is much more expensive than booking a tour as you must pay extra for the driver to wait for you whilst you trek.
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