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Published: April 25th 2020
Rock the Cat Ba!
“Halong City’s out, Catba Island’s in”, The words echo all throughout Vietnam. Since the cameo of Cat Ba island in King Kong Skull Island, Travellers far and wide have flocked to the Island to witness first hand the beauty this Halong island possesses.
Though chances of spotting King Kong are rare- Primape enthusiasts come to Catba in hopes of seeing a monkey just as rare, The Cat Ba Langur. The Langur still is one of the most endangered primapes in the world, in 2003 numbers fell as low as 40 after being hunted for sport and traditional eastern medicine. Though the population of Langurs are slowly growing, Langures are still registered as critically endangered and protected in Cat Ba National Park.
The best way to get to the national park (and anywhere in general around this island) is by Scooter, You’ll find most attractions are located only a few kilometres apart, and If you get up with the sun you’ll be able to see it all in a day.
Hospital Cave. Cat Ba played an crucial role in saving many lives of the VietCong during US Bombings on Halong Bay. Hospital Cave served as
a VC hideaway and a Bomb-proof hospital, responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of VC soldiers. Today this three-storied hospital stands as an empty shell, stripped of medical equipment, but holds so much proof of what used to be, including swimming pools, cinemas and structures used for soldier rehabilitation. This attraction is found 10 minutes out of Cat Ba City, at around 40,000 Dong (2 NZD). Though guides are free, tipping is encouraged.
1 Kilometre up the road is Cat Ba National Park- Along with the Rare Cat Ba Langur, 32 other types of mammels also share this protected Reserve, the most commonly sighted being the Giant Black squirrels, Macaque monkeys and Civet Foxes (famously known for creating Kopi Luwak Coffee).
The trails here can be tedious and dangerous; it involves a decent amount of rock climbing that shouldn’t be attempted in the rain. There’s 2 different trails here, The first is a short 1 hour trail to the mountain top, revealing a beautiful look over Cat Ba’s forest and surrounding shorelines.
The longer 6 hour trek is best taken with a guide and is extremely dangerous in the rain
If you’re still looking for a
wildlife fix after the National Park, spare 20 minutes to wander through one of Cat Ba’s many caves. The wildlife you’ll find here are likely much creepier and slimier, but will likely keep their distance. Bring a headtorch and be respectful as you wander through the coolest home a creepy crawly could ever have.
And just because you came this far, Why not have the famous tour around Ha-long Bay. This is by far Northern Vietnam’s tourist heavy attraction. You’ll find hundreds of different tour companies offering hundreds of different packages and range from a few hours, to a few days. From Cat-Ba, you’ll arrive fairly quickly to the many floating islands, which free’s up so much space for activities! (Thanks Step Brothers). Though the numbers of tourists on each corner do take away from the beauty of Halong Bay, there’s some opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle, Kayaking or snorkelling around the islands at your own pace.
Bring a spare change of clothes, some extra money and the spirit of adventure, you’ll be visiting places, seeing and doing things you’ll be gleaming about for years, you might even get to hold hands with a monkey (while it
steals your watch).
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