Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park information
Lonely Planet review
This accessible national park is home to 32 types of mammal and 70 bird species. To reach the park headquarters at Trung Trang, take a green QH public bus from the docks at Cat Ba Town (20,000d, 20 minutes). Buses leave at 8am and 11am. Another option is to hire a xe om for around 80,000d one-way, or hire your own motorbike for the day.
Mammals in the park include langurs and macaques, wild boar, deer, civets and several species of squirrel, including the giant black squirrel. The golden-headed langur is officially the world’s most endangered primate with around 65 remaining, most in this park. Birds include hawks, hornbills and cuckoos, and Cat Ba lies on a major migration route for waterfowl that feed and roost on the beaches in the mangrove forests. Over a thousand species of plants have been recorded here, including 118 trees and 160 plants with medicinal value.
A guide is not mandatory but is definitely recommended to help you make sense of the verdant canopy of trees. The multi-chambered Hang Trung Trang (Trung Trang Cave) is easily accessible, but you will need to contact a ranger to make sure it's open. Bring a torch (flashlight).
There’s a challenging 18km hike through the park and up to one of the mountain summits. Arrange a guide for this six-hour hike and organise a bus or boat transport to the trailhead and a boat to get back to town. This can be arranged with the rangers at the national park headquarters, or at Asia Outdoors or Cat Ba Ventures in Cat Ba Town. Take proper hiking shoes, a raincoat and a generous supply of water for this hike. Independent hikers can buy basic snacks at the kiosks in Viet Hai, which is where many hiking groups stop for lunch. This is not an easy walk, and is much harder and more slippery after rain. There are shorter hiking options that are less hardcore.
Many hikes end at Viet Hai , a remote minority village just outside the park boundary, from which taxi boats shuttle back to Ben Beo pier (about 200,000d per boat). A shared public boat (50,000d per person) departs Ben Beo at 6am on weekdays and 7am on weekends. There is also accommodation here at Whisper of Nature .