Trekking through the forest, viewing the island from the fortress, or adventurous hiking is the experience that attracts foreign visitors to Cat Ba.
On Tripzilla travel magazine, two travellers using the common name Eudaimoniacs Singapore introduced the experiences they made during the Cat Ba trip earlier this year.
Trekking in Cat Ba National Park
Founded in 1986, Cat Ba National Park is home to 32 mammal conservation sites and more than 70 rare species of birds. With biodiversity and the home of the endangered Cat Ba langur, the jungle of Cat Ba is one of the first spots that the two Singaporean visitors visited.
This is the ideal destination for trekking. An 18-kilometer walk through the mountains, and it takes about 6 hours to move to Viet Hai village. From here, people can continue their journey by boat to the town.
Note that the national park is more suitable for adults, especially those with good health because many sections of the trekking trail are quite rough.
National park’s entrance fee is 30,000 VND (1.2 USD) per person. Boat trip to town is 50,000 VND (2 USD) per person. Please note that the boat starts picking guests from Ben Beo at 6 am on weekdays and 7 am on weekends.
Visiting the Hospital Cave (Quan Y Cave)
This is a good example of the skill and creativity of the Vietnamese during the war. The cave is divided into three different levels and it can accommodate a field hospital inside the mountain.
The first floor was the room for wounded soldiers along with the operating room and the doctor's room. The second floor was used as a relaxation room with the bath and movie theater. Level 3 contains the equipment that wartime leaders use to secure the cave.
The Hospital Cave is located at the edge of Cat Ba National Park, just 13 km from the town center. Opening hours for visitors are from 7am - 4pm, with a fee of VND 15,000 (0.6 USD) per person.
Taking a panoramic view of the island from Cannon Fort
This fortress is the place where people should go to see the whole island, the most beautiful time is dawn or sunset. There is an outdoor observatory and a 360-degree view for people to watch.
The hilltop building of the fortress was always a strategic location during the great wars in Vietnam. To get to the fort, you can ride a motorbike, car or walk for 15 minutes to the top of the hill.
Upon arrival, you will see a large map of the fort. The fortress opening hours are from 7am to 6pm weekdays, with tickets of VND 40,000 (1.6 USD) each.
Climbing cliff rocks without equipment
Since arriving in Cat Ba in New Year's Day of 2017, two Singaporean tourists decided to start with the DWS (deep water solo) experience at Lan Ha Bay.
Cat Ba has rocky islands with similar structure to Halong Bay but different in number of guests and price. Thanks to fewer tourists, two Singaporean tourists enjoy their time in Cat Ba.
Currently in Cat Ba there are two companies organizing this adventure. Thanks to luck, Eudaimoniacs Singapore could book the two last slots to experience DWS. Everyone waited at the tour operator's office at 8am and took a 5-minute bus ride to the marina. From here you can take a boat to admire the bay and the attractive blue water.
They then transfer to a smaller boat with their own instructor, Connor, to the mount. This place is suitable for climbers of DWS level 4 to 6. Despite the danger, this experience is worth a try once you reach Cat Ba.
Climbing at Nghieng Island
Nghieng Island is an ideal place for both beginners and medium level people of mountain climbing. The rock here has good terrain, very suitable to climb and take a rest on the trip.
Not as difficult and dangerous as DWS, shoes and helmets are provided when you take part in Nghieng Island climbing, so it is safer, accompanied by ideal terrain for those who have never tried mountain climbing. When climbing visitors should still pay attention to some places on the surface of rocky mountains.
Nghieng Island is about 30 minutes away from Cat Ba Town. Visitors come here by kayaking or rowing, or buying a package tour. To ensure a slot in hiking trip in Nghieng Island, visitors should check and book in advance at least one day before.