Cat Ba is a small archipelago consisting of 366 small and large islands, being located at the south-western of Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay and round 60 kilometres far from Hai Phong Port. The nature has blessed Cat Ba a number of beautiful sceneries, prosperous forest and sea resources, and a community of islands and grottos on the sea that all make travelers enchanting. In 2004, Cat Ba is recognised as a biosphere reserve area of the world by UNESCO.
The biosphere reserve area is a system of regions containing terrestrial, littoral and marine ecosystems separately or coordinately. If Can Gio is the salt-marsh area at estuary region and Cat Tien is the region of terrestrial forest, Cat Ba is the place converging a tropical rainy forest on limestone island, a mangrove forest, rows of coral, a composition of alga – seaweeds, and especially a system of grottos. It can be said that Cat Ba archipelago has gathered sufficiently typical ecosystems of Vietnam.
What to discover?
With the total natural area of more than 26,000 hectares, the biosphere reserve area Cat Ba is divided into three zones: the core zone protected strictly and unaffected by human beings, the buffer zone where people do limited economic activities, research and education, and the transferring zone. According to a statistic from the researchers, Cat Ba has the most various and prosperous sea-archipelago ecosystem in the Northern area of Vietnam with many kinds of corals, seaweeds, fish, reptiles, sea birds, etc.
In total, the entire area contains more than 2,300 species of animals and plants living there; nearly 60 species among them are categorised as rare and endemic species and recorded in the “Red Book” of Vietnam such as white-headed “vooc”, white-shorts “vooc” magpie and white-collared crow.