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Cat Ba Island 

Introduction
Cat Ba Island, home to Cat Ba National Park is the largest island in Halong Bay covering an area of more than 350 square kilometers. Cat Ba Island is actually comprised of 366 islets and islands and is home to a variety of forested zones, coastal mangrove, freshwater swamps, beaches, caves and waterfalls. The island is also home to more than 20,000 residents who main source of income is fishing and farming, although tourism is becoming an increasingly profitable way to make a living and many hotels and restaurants have sprung up on the island in recent years.

Places of interest

Cat Ba National Park
Established in 1986, Cat Ba National Park encompasses an area of 15,000 ha – over 50% of the island. The terrain is mainly composed of limestone mountains, many with stunning caves and grottoes. The highest peak is Cao Vong measuring 322 m. The park boasts over 120 animal species including over 69 species of bird, 20 reptiles and 32 mammals. Other fauna include the python and numerous animals on the endangered list, among them the red-faced monkey and the leopard cat. In addition the park is also home to a botanical garden with more than 150 families of plants.

Military Hospital
Built in the 1960’s, this former army hospital cave (Hoang Son) was set up to service the North Vietnamese Army during the War. The cave has a total of 17 chambers that once served as wards and operating rooms and the large enclosure is big enough to accommodate 100 people.

Trung Trang Cave
This cave was also used by the North Vietnamese Army. Similar to many of the caves in Halong Bay, the 400m-long cave has an array of stalactites and is inhabited by bats.

Viet Hai Village
Located approximately 18 km from Cat Ba island, the small fishing village of Viet Hai stretches along the coastline. To reach the village one can embark on an 8km trek passing the Ao Ech Lake before arriving in Viet Hai.

Cat Co Beach
There are in fact 3 separate beaches, rather unimaginatively named Cat Co I, II and III. By far the most picturesque is Cat Co II. Accessible only by foot and also the farthest from Cat Ba town, beautiful Cat Co II remains the quietest of the three.