Cat Ba in all its glory
By Sao Mai in Haiphong
It was well worth the rather rough and tortuous journey to reach our destination and once we reached Cat Ba Island, right on cue the sunset arrived in all its glory.
|A sunset view on Lan Ha Bay|
The small town looks beautiful, pristine and poetic, lying gently around a high mountain looking onto the sea. Cat Ba is the name of the biggest island in the Cat Ba archipelago including 366 islands grouped in Lan Ha Bay in Haiphong City’s Cat Hai District.
Cat Ba Island, covering 140 square kilometers, is known for its ideal climate, stunning beaches and biodiversity. Cat Ba National Park was recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2003.
The highlight of Cat Ba is its sand dunes scattered amidst mountains, stunning beaches with clear, blue water, endless green of the forests and the limestone walls of the islands. The bizarre rock formations are sculpted by millenniums of erosion by water. The island also has coral reefs, sandy beaches, freshwater wetland areas, mangrove forests and willow swamps.
Streams winding deeply in forests always murmur, creating symphonies and caves running through mountains always attract travelers’ curiosity.
Cat Ba National Park is another amazing sight to behold as it is home to 300 species of fauna and flora. The white-head langurs that live on Cat Ba are one of Vietnam’s most endangered primates. The park, which takes up more than half of the island, is endowed with a diverse ecosystem and many types of habitats. After discovering the wildlife, visitors can cool off on the beach and play in the waves. The most popular beach is Cat Co beach which draws a crowd on holidays and weekends.
|A view of Cat Ba island town - Photos: Sao Mai|
For nature lovers, a visit to Trung Trang Cave with its mysterious stalactites is a must. Hung Son Cave, which used to contain a hospital during the revolutionary wars, and Lan Ha Bay are other attractions that tourists should not miss.
Cruise boats are also available to explore from the sea and for those who love to hike, Ngu Lam Mountain at a height of 225 meters has a watchtower which has a stunning vantage point to take in a spectacular panoramic view of the island.