Founded in 1986, Cat Ba National Park retained the original total protected area of 15,200ha including 9,800ha of forest along with 5.400ha of water. The national park is adjacent Gia Luan commune to the north, with Halong Bay to the east, with Cat Ba town to the west, and with Xuan Dam commune, Tran Chau commune, and Hien Hao commune to the south. Cat Ba is one of the particular national parks in Vietnam with the harmonious combination of many different ecosystems, gathering the great number of precious plants and animal species and is considered as the convergence and preservation of genetic resources. Cat Ba National Park currently becomes the world’s biosphere reserves with the expanding total area up to 26.240ha including 17,040ha of island land and 9,200ha of waters, which is gradually becoming one of the most appealing Cat Ba attractions in particular and attractions in Haiphong in general.
Cat Ba National Park is home to the spectacular natural scenery, breathtaking caves and diverse ecosystem. Numerous activities exploring the nature will certainly leave unforgettable impression to tourists in mind when once setting foot on here.
Far about 60km from Haiphong city center and 15 km from Cat Ba town to the northwest, Cat Ba National Park is situated in Tran Chau commune, Cat Ba Island, Cat Hai district, Haiphong city. This is the first protected area in Vietnam retaining marine protected subdivision, including marine ecosystem, terrestrial forest ecosystem and mangrove ecosystem with habitats of mangroves, tidal flats, lagoons and limestone karst… Cat Ba National Park is considered as one of the places maintaining the highest biodiversity in Vietnam; simultaneously, it is one of the fascinating tourist attractions in Cat Ba alluring the large number of both domestic and international tourists.
Entire Cat Ba National Park is a rugged mountainous region with its elevations of under 500 m, the majority of which is in the range of 50 – 200 m. Though main ecosystem in Cat Ba National Park is rainforest, due to topography, soil and water resource, the national park is also home to some types of secondary forests such as forest on limestone, inland flooded forest (Ao Ech), coastal mangroves together with many particular forest ecology…. In addition, the national park houses marine ecosystem with coral reefs close to shore. The system of cave is also diverse with its own typical appearance of the area. Discovering Cat Ba National Park is worth one of the most unforgettable things to do in Cat Ba.
The diversity of forest types has formed the richness of the fauna and flora in Cat Ba. According to the statistics, there are 771 species of land plants including 350 species used as medicines and many species listed in the endangered protected category such as Podocarpus fleurii, Annamocarya sinensis, Chukrasia tabularis A.Fuss, Pelthophorum tonkinensis)…, 23 species of mangrove plants, 75 species of seaweed, 199 species of phytoplankton… Mangrove is mainly distributed in the northeast of the island with the common species such as green mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata), Bruguiera gymnorrhiza… It is also the habitat of water birds and migratory birds from the north, for instance, Centropus sinensis Stephen, Phalacrocorax carbo, Macropygia unchall, Anas poecilorhyncha haringtoni… It is the diversity that also contributes to bring the national park to become an indispensable tourist site in the journey of conquering Cat Ba travel attracting numerous tourists.
The fauna is extremely diverse with 282 species of animals living in the forest including 20 species of mammals, 69 species of birds, 11 species of amphibians together with 20 species of reptiles and amphibians…, 538 species of animals living in the sea floor, 196 species of marine fish, 98 species of zooplankton and 177 species of coral… In particular, Cat Ba is the only place in the world housing Trachypithecus poliocephalus – one of 5 primate species in Vietnam named in 25 species in the world on the verge of extinction. Thanks to the unique and diverse flora and fauna, Cat Ba National Park was recognized as the world’s biosphere reserve in 2004.
With the advantages of owning both the forest and the sea along with abundant resources, beautiful scenery, many precious plant and animal species, many archaeological monuments of Neolithic period, Halong cultural relics and traces of the ancient Vietnamese, Cat Ba has become one of the venues strongly developing eco-tourism and scientific research. The national park deserves to become an ideal tourist site in Cat Ba tours in order that tourists have a chance to feel the full beauty here with the mountain, the forest and the sea. Cat Ba National Park significantly contributes to promote Cat Ba tourism in particular and Haiphong tourism in general closer to tourists at home and internationally.