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, which is only two kilometres and takes two hours, which is the best one to try on your own. You can buy a ticket at the gate.: entrance is 15,000 VND and a guide is 100,000 VND per group for this short trek. 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 – six kilometres, takes four hours, and costs 35,000 VND to enter. Prepare well for any of these treks, as they are not easy -- really and truly, spring for a guide if you can. Any hotel in town that arranges tours can help you sort out which trek to take and hook you up with a guide.
Most three-day boat tours will include time in the park – quite often a climb to the top of the highest point in Cat Ba, which is a steep but doable climb.
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 14th October, 2014.