Hiking in Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park, located on the island of the same name, attracts hiking enthusiasts with its steep trails leading to spectacular panoramic viewpoints, set in lush, unspoilt nature.


Founded in 1986, Cat Ba National Park in Vietnam's Halong Bay is a natural gem that attracts hiking enthusiasts from all over the world. With its unique biodiversity, breathtaking scenery and well-maintained trails, it offers an unforgettable hiking experience.

Cat Ba National Park - Photo : internet

Why trek in Cat Ba National Park?

Discovering biodiversity

Cat Ba National Park is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal species. During your hike, you'll have the chance to observe monkeys, lizards, snakes, and perhaps even wild cats, the park's emblems. The many species of birds that inhabit the area will also delight birdwatchers. It's a unique opportunity to discover Vietnam's flora and fauna in their unspoilt natural habitat. Did you know? The national park has been a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve since 2005 and Vietnam's 3rd Biosphere Reserve since 2003. Legend has it that Cat Ba is home to a mythical creature called the "rồng", a giant dragon that protects the island. But you're more likely to come across endangered red langurs...

Unique and spectacular landscapes

The hiking trails through Cat Ba National Park take you through breathtaking scenery. From lush green hills to sheer limestone cliffs, lush valleys and white sandy beaches, every step offers a mesmerizing panoramic view. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture these magical moments and create lasting memories.

Well-maintained trails

Hiking trails in Cat Ba are well-maintained, making it easy to explore the park. While there is no official hiking trail map, the signs are clear and the directions will guide you along your route, allowing you to explore safely and enjoy the natural environment to the full. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced hiker, there are trails to suit all levels, offering an enjoyable experience for all.
Note: Bad weather may have washed out some of the signs. We advise you to take a photo of the general map of the area and refer to it if necessary.

Meet the local culture

As well as spectacular nature, hiking in Cat Ba also offers you the chance to meet the local culture. You may come across fishermen returning from their boats, villagers working in their fields or children playing in the street. Don't hesitate to wave or say hello ("xin chào")!
Learn more with our Cat Ba highlights and travel guide

Cat Ba Island, overview - Photo : internet

Hiking in Cat Ba National Park is an experience that will awaken your senses and remain etched in your memory. Exceptional biodiversity, breathtaking scenery, well-maintained trails and encounters with the local culture make this a unique adventure. Whether you're a nature lover, a hiking enthusiast or simply looking for adventure, Cat Ba is the place for you. So get your hiking boots ready and set off to discover this Vietnamese natural treasure. Follow the guide...

Where is Cat Ba National Park?

The 280 km2 Cat Ba National Park is located in Cat Hai district, in the city of Hai Phong, in north-east Vietnam. The park is located on Cat Ba Island, 20 km east of Hai Phong and immediately west of Halong Bay. It is the largest of the islands in the famous bay. The national park also encompasses some of the smaller islands and marine waters to the east of Cat Ba Island. As in Halong Bay, the landscape of Cat Ba National Park is dominated by karst limestone islands rising abruptly from the sea. The topography is rugged and marked by steep rocky outcrops. The national park rises from sea level to 332 m at the summit of Ngu Lam peak. Cat Ba National Park is home to a diversity of natural habitats, including forested hills, small freshwater lakes, freshwater swamp forests, mangroves, sandy beaches and coral reefs.

How do I get there?

First of all, you need to get to Hai Phong before you can reach Cat Ba island.

Getting to Cat Ba from Hanoi

A good way to get to Cat Ba is by bus. Numerous companies are available from the Old Quarter, taking you directly to the island in comfort (air-conditioning, bottled water, free wifi...). The journey takes around 3 hours.

Once you're in Hai Phong

You can take a boat from Binh port. This is the quickest way, and takes around 45 minutes.
Alternatively, you can take a private boat: For a more luxurious experience, you can opt for a private boat departing from Hai Phong or Dinh Vu. Prices vary according to boat size and number of passengers.
Tip: It's advisable to book your ferry or bus tickets in advance, especially during the high season (June to August).
The entrance to Cat Ba National Park is 12km from the center of Cat Ba. You can rent a motorcycle, bicycle or private car to get there.

When is the best time to hike in Cat Ba?

As far as the weather is concerned, Cat Ba National Park is subject to a tropical monsoon climate and is influenced by the ocean. In summer, the temperature can reach 30°C, while it can drop to around 15-20°C in winter.
The best time to visit Cat Ba is from April to November, when the climate is dry and sunny. Temperatures are pleasant, averaging 25°C. If you can, give preference to October and November. Avoid the rainy season, which runs from November to March, as trails can be slippery and boat trips cancelled.
Read also : When to travel to Vietnam?

Hiking Trail in Cat Ba National Park - Photo : catba.com

Accommodation and gastronomy

Cat Ba offers a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets, from beachside bungalows to luxury hotels. For an authentic experience, opt for a homestay.
When it comes to gastronomy, Cat Ba invites you to discover the flavors of traditional Vietnamese cuisine, with dishes based on fresh seafood, rice and noodles. Don't forget to try the local specialties, such as Bun tom (shrimp vermicelli), the island's signature dish. It consists of rice vermicelli served in a savory broth with shrimp, vegetables and peanuts. Don't miss the Cua bể nướng (grilled crab), the Chả mực (squid dumplings) or the Sò điệp nướng mỡ hành (grilled scallops with chive butter).

Cat Ba - Practical information

Entrance fee: 40,000 VND per person - Parking fee: 5,000 VND
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Hiking in Cat Ba National Park

Within the park, an 18-kilometer hiking trail (4 to 8 hours) is open to walkers, but shorter routes (2 to 3 hours) are possible to visit the most beautiful sites, for example that of the frog pond (Ao Ếch) - Việt Hải village. In the first 2.5 km, named a forestry education route, you can go on foot or take a bike, motorcycle or car with less than 16 seats. You then cross the peaks of Mây Bầu and Áng Phay, which offer a beautiful view of the lagoon. Crossing the primary forest, we find another flooded forest in the limestone valley nestled 80 m above sea level. The frog pond covers 3.2 hectares. Here, thousands of frogs croak incessantly. The clear water is home to several species of fish and crabs. Travellers can take a rest or have a meal here. A further 4 km brings you to the village of Việt Hải, where you can meet the locals in a verdant setting far from tourists.
Here are the most popular hiking itineraries

► From 2 to 3 hours, family itinerary

From Kim Giao forest to Ngu Lam peak (1.5 km)


The shortest of the routes, suitable for everyone, children can follow it without any problems.
This hiking trail takes you through a forest that is home to the rare, endangered and ancient Kim Giao trees. The trail continues to Ngu Lam Peak, which offers spectacular views over the region. This hiking route takes about 30 minutes each way.

► From 5 to 8 hours, longer itineraries
There are three routes starting from the center of the park:

From Ao Ech to Viet Hai Village

Park center - Ao Ech-Viet Hai (14km) - Lan Ha Bay (boat)

This is a challenging trekking route that allows you to explore the ecosystem as well as the various wildlife resources of Catba National Park.. Don't let fatigue distract you, the scenery is worth the detour and, after reaching the summit, you'll have plenty of time to admire Ao Ech (Frog Lake), Cat Ba's largest freshwater lake. The water is so clear that you can actually see the bottom of the lake!
At the end of your hike, you'll reach Viet Hai, a picturesque fishing village, where you'll have the chance to discover the local culture.
After completing the 14 km hiking trail, you take a boat to continue discovering the Cat Ba archipelago - Lan Ha Bay with its many spectacular little islands and hidden beaches.

From Kim Giao via Moi Con to Tung Di

Recommended for people in good physical condition, the trails are sometimes difficult and slippery.

► Other trails to discover

Park Ranger Station - Ao Ech (5 km)

This trail starts close to the national park headquarters and offers a tough challenge.
You'll first visit a magnificent flooded willow forest in a valley above sea level. The water is the largest concentration of freshwater on the island. You follow the same route back to the Park Ranger station. This itinerary takes around 4 hours to complete.
Ngu Lam loop: This moderate 4.4-km loop offers a variety of landscapes, from tropical forests to karst rock formations.
Trung Trang Cave: This easy 1.5 km trail (approx. 1 hour's walk) leads to Trung Trang cave, a spectacular karst cave.
Do not miss our Hiking Travel Guide

Tips and other activities in Cat Ba

  • Start your hike early in the morning to avoid the heat and take advantage of the cooler temperatures.
  • Wear comfortable hiking boots and weather-appropriate clothing.
  • Bring a map - in fact, take a photo of the main map - and enough water for your hikes.
  • Respect the environment and leave no trace of your passage.

Serene beaches of Cat Ba Island - Photo : internet

As well as hiking, Cat Ba offers many other activities, including kayaking, swimming, climbing and caving. Take the time to visit the nearby floating villages or relax on one of Cat Ba's beaches (or on Monkey Island, Cat Ong Island, Prince Island...).


Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a simple walking enthusiast, Cat Ba promises an unforgettable experience in the heart of breathtaking scenery. With its varied trails, charming accommodations and delicious cuisine, Cat Ba has it all. So don't hesitate, and set off to discover this natural jewel of Vietnam!
Have a look to those programs
Orchid Trendy 4* - Lan Ha Bay
Cat Ba Trekking & Kayaking 3 days 2 nights
Northern frontier adventure to Cat Ba Island 8 days 7 nights

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked (*)
Name (*)
Email (*)
Retype Email (*)
Post Comments
In Association With