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Cat Ba Island: Vietnam’s Best Kept Secret

Cat Ba Island: Vietnam’s Best Kept Secret

Cat Ba Island, Vietnam’s third largest island after Phu Quoc and Phu Quoc Don, lies between Halong Bay and the Gulf of Tonkin in the mouth of the Red River Delta. The local people are mostly fishermen who live in stilt houses over the water or in the forested mountains. The wildlife on Cat Ba Island includes bats, monkeys, wild boar, sea turtles and colorful butterflies including the beautiful Birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera croesus) which lives only on this island.

Natural Beauty

Image Source- Halong Hub


The obvious major attraction of this island is its breathtaking natural beauty. On its grounds lies Cát Bà National Park, which is renowned for its varied flora and animals. The Cát Bà langur, one of the most endangered primates in the world, is most notable for living on this island, where there are thought to be just 70 of them. Other than the animals themselves, Cat Ba also has many impressive limestone cliffs that have been eroded over time by wind and rain. There are a number of caves worth exploring too! And if you’re looking for an adventure like no other, consider climbing from the top of Phuong Lai mountain down to Ngoc Ha beach!

History and Legends

Image Source- Halong Hub


Cát Bà Island literally stands for “Women’s Island”, and legend has it that it got this name after three women of the Tran Dynasty were killed. Their bodies washed ashore on this island, and a temple for each one was built. The people residing on Cat Ba believed that these women would return to life as goddesses to protect the people in times of war. They prayed to them for protection from pirates and invaders, as well as for fishing success in the waters surrounding Cat Ba. Today there are still many shrines dedicated to these Goddesses scattered around Cat Ba.

See Also

Hạ Long Bay

Image Source- Vietnam Excursions


The most breathtaking sight on Cát Bà Island is H Long Bay, which has a number of limestone islets covered in tropical rainforests strewn across its green seas. In addition to having some of the most stunning beaches in the region, H Long Bay is a well-liked spot for trekking, rock climbing, and diving. Cat Ba can also be accessed by ferry from Haiphong or Halong City (Hạ Long).

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