Cat Ba National Park, part of a biosphere reserve in Hai Phong City, offers a number of fun ecotourism options including mountain treks.
The 17,363 ha park in the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve, an archipelago in northern Vietnam, is not far from UNESCO world heritage site Ha Long Bay and about 45 km east of Hai Phong's center.
Trekking to Kim Giao - Ngu Lam peaks
This is the most popular activity here, especially among young people.It is a road trip through the two peaks of Kim Giao and Ngu Lam mountains.
Kim Giao is 300m high with rows of stone benches as a place to rest before continuing to Ngu Lam, 700m higher.After reaching the 220m high Ngu Lam peak, visitors can enjoy the mountain scenery from the observation tower, which is also a great spot to have lunch after the hike.
For this two-hour trip, visitors need to bring food and water as there are no shops selling them along the route.
Observation tower on top of Ngu Lam peak.Instagram / Richard Heng's photo.
Frog Pond - Viet Hai Village
There are two places in Cat Ba dubbed Frog Pond (Ao Ech), one in the middle of the bay near the Gio Cung Border Guard Post and the other in the forest en route to Viet Hai Village.
To reach the second point, visitors need to head to Anh Rang Doc before embarking on a four-kilometer trek through the forest.Although longer, it's not as challenging as climbing the Musketeers, and can be completed in three hours.Each step takes tourists deeper into nature, occasionally seeing rare mammal species.
At the pond, visitors are greeted by the melodies of nature, and they can see the rare small freshwater crab and the common fish aphyocypris, a local specialty.
If visitors choose to continue, the next destination is Viet Hai fishing village, 5 hours away.People who visit the village often spend the night camping in the forest or renting a homestay.
Trung Trang Cave - Medic Cave
Besides these slightly difficult routes, there is a trekking route to Trung Trang Cave and Medic Cave (Hang Quan Y) which does not require much exertion.
Trung Trang Cave is also known as Bat Cave (Bat Cave) because of the magical stalactites resembling bats on the roof.Visitors need to pay attention to their heads because in some places the roofs are low, even requiring them to stoop to get through.
The other destination, Medic Cave, is a five-minute motorbike ride away.Although not part of Cat Ba National Park, this cave is famous for its role in the Vietnam War (1954-1975).It was once a military resting place, divided into sections for various purposes, from surgery to telegraphs.
Hoi Lake Farmstay
Hoi Lake Farmstay is a site for relaxation that is popular among youngsters with amusement options ranging from campfires to kayaking.Visitors can come empty-handed as it provides everything needed for camping.At night, guests can sing karaoke or sip cocktails at the bar.
There are accommodation options ranging from 160,000 VND ($6.86) for a shared motel up to VND 600,000 for a private family room with breakfast.
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