60km to the east of Hai Phong city, Cat Ba stretches over territories of six communes including Gia Luan, Phu Long, Hien Hao, Xuan Dam, Tran Chau, Viet Hai and Cat Ba town. Cat Ba National Park was established in 1986, with a total area of 15,200ha, including 9,800ha of land and forest, 5,400ha of marine sea. With a complex of islands and Limestone Mountains with 366 small and large islands of 100-150m average height over sea level, the highest point is Cao Vong peak of 322m, the lowest ones is Trung Trang valley of 9m. Ca Ba National Park is situated in tropical monsoon climate, influenced directly by ocean climate with much rain, humid climate, with two distinct seasons (rainy and dry seasons). Average rainfall is of 1500-2000mm/year, humidity of 86%, and annual temperature of 23.600C. In December 2004, United Nation of Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized it as the Biosphere Reserve of Cat Ba archipelago.
Cat Ba National Park has typical complex terrain of Limestone Mountains and archipelago with steep cliffs and dangerous cat-eared rocks, forming a variety of limestone caves like a minimized Ha Long Bay. The magnificent caves enchanted tourists; some caves pass through a mountain heart of several kilometers long. The parts where sea encroaches mainland have natural rocky shores surrounding vast and flat tidal fields with dreamy white sandy beaches scattered. Alternating the strips of dense mangrove forest, flocks of birds and storks fly to gather here. According to statistics, Cat Ba National Park has 1561 species of higher plant under 842 branches of 186 families with 5 different flora branches, including 58 species listed in Vietnam’s Red Book and 29 species endangered in the world. Flora here consists of 408 species of timber trees, 661 species of medicinal plant, 196 species of edible plant, 203 species of ornamental and shading trees. Flora carpet of primary forest with large leave is green all year round with area of 1045.2 ha, accounting for 6% of total area of flora. This forest type is distributed unevenly; the dominant vegetation is in families of chestnut, mulberry, beans, de, camphor, rice, fillings, oval, magnolia, orange, coffee… Many endangered species such as Po Mu tree, mahogany, black bamboo…; besides there are many native plant species of the locality and Indochina region; in terms of animal there are 53 species of mammals of 18 families, 8 sets, and 160 bird species of 46 families, 16 sets; 45 species of reptiles belonging to 15 families, 2 sets and 21 amphibian species belonging to 5 families, 1 set. Marine region of Cat Ba National Park has 900 fish species with 500 species of mollusks, 400 species of armor body. Many of them have high economic value such as red snapper, mackerel, pomfret, tuna, shark… Marine fauna has 7 species of sea snakes, 4 turtles, 1 species of mammals, 97 species of zooplankton, 274 species of insects belonging 79 families and 14 sets, 178 species of coral. In total 279 species of terrestrial vertebrates, 22 species are recorded in Vietnam Red Book and 7 on the list of the World Red Book. Of the 53 mammal species here, many species recorded in the world red list such as Cat Ba langur, pangolin, chamois and other species recorded in Vietnam Red Book such as fire leopard, black squirrels, wild cats, civets, bats without tail… Visiting Cat Ba National Park you will be immersed in the wildlife and sightsee the tourist places such as Kim Giao forest routes, Ngu Lam peak, to admire the forest of rare Podocarpus timber, climbing up the mountain Ngu Lam, from here you can admire the limestone mountains of grandeur Cat Ba.
Once you set foot to visit Cat Ba National Park to immerse in the wildlife and explore the forest and marine ecology tour routes, with enthusiasm and hospitality of local people, you shall certainly be pleased and impressed with a full-of-fun holiday and sightseeing.