Cat Ba Island is situated a mere 50 km east of Hai Phong city in the north of Vietnam. Cat Ba Island is part of a chain of 366 islands that lie within the larger area of Halong Bay. At over 200km2, Cat Ba is the largest island in Halong Bay. The island is easily accessible and matches neighbouring Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay for stunning natural beauty. It also offers visitors the added options of relaxation, adventure and cultural exchange. In April 2005, Cat Ba was officially recognized as Cat Ba Archipelago Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Cat Ba is known for its rugged limestone mountains, hot and cold springs, moist tropical forests, mangrove forest , coral reefs as well as its deserted beaches, and casual island lifestyle. Cat Ba is now much sought after by both domestic and international visitors as a ready alternative to the city madness and bus tour boredom.
Cat Ba National Park in located 15km north – west of Cat Ba Town. It was established in 1986. It spans an area of 15,200ha, of which 9,800ha are forest, and contains lots of particularly interesting caves. The original tropical forest spans an area of 570ha, with extremely varied wildlife and vegetation.
Cat Ba National Park is situated in Cat Ba Island and on several smaller islands nearby. The park currently comprises 98km2 of total land are, 54km2 of inshore waters. The National Park was Vietnam’s first national park to included both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. It is recognized nationally and internationally for its importance in biodiversity conservation, as it contains many different types of ecosystem and habitat. The Park has a great variety of plant and animal species.
The golden–headed langur or Cat Ba langur is a rare and a precious animal and exists only in Cat Ba island. A special type of tree called “Cay Kim Giao” is unique to Cat Ba. In ancient times, kings and nobles would eat only with chopsticks made from this timber, as the light coloured wood was reputed to turn to black when it touched anything poisonous. There are 745 species of plants recorded on Cat Ba, including 118 timber species and 160 plants with medicinal value. The national park is home to 32 types of mammals and more than 70 species of birds have been sighted. There is a beautiful lake inside the national park called Frog Lake, with a water forest and amazing landscape.