Cat Ba National Park


Avid hikers should not hesitate to check out this beautiful national part, noted for its mangroves, subtropical evergreen forests, freshwater lakes, and even some coral reefs down along the coast. While rich in flora, hikers often report seeing little in the way of fauna, though there are reportedly some animals running about -- we only saw goats.

All the hikes here are pretty challenging to some degree, and a guide is highly recommended to make the best of the experience. There is one short hike, to Dinh Kim Gial, that's only 2km and takes two hours, which is the best one to try on your own -- you can buy a ticket at the gate, 15,000 VND. The more challenging hikes include a trip up to Ao Ech (Frog Lake) and over the hill to a tribal village inhabited by the Viet Hai -- 6 km, takes 4 hours, 35,000 VND entrance fee. Prepare well for any of these treks, as they are not easy -- really and truly, spring for a guide if you can. Those that try to do it on their own often end up turning back. Any hotel in town that arranges tours can help you sort out which trek to take and hook you up with a guide.


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