Hiking in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

Most of Cat Ba Island in Vietnam is designated as national park, with jungle clad limestone karsts that are home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna, including the rarest primate species in the world: the Golden Headed Langur (Cat Ba Langur).

From Cat Ba Town you can take a lot of different tours to Cat Ba National Park where you can hike through the jungle. The longest trail is around 18km and takes all day. It was scorching hot when we were there, so we settled on a short half day tour to the park which included a stop at the Hospital Cave, and a 4km hike to the top of one of the mountains inside the park.

From the Cat Ba National Park entrance, our guide took us along a flat concrete path that leads up towards the mountains. As we started hiking, we quickly entered the jungle where the already humid air became even worse. The climb at this stage was gentle and steps made the ascent fairly easy.

Hiking towards the mountains in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

Walking towards the mountains

Stick insects in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

Stick insects in the jungle

Hiking through the jungle in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

The trail through the rain forest

A butterfly in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

A butterfly resting on a leaf

Jungle in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

Trees cling to the rocky slope

The sounds of the forest surrounded us as we turned right at a fork in the trail and continued to climb. The sweat was already pouring off me when we came to a section of ladders that we had to climb up to get past some small rocky cliffs.

Caterpillar in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

A strange caterpillar on a tree

Climbing a ladder in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

Climbing a ladder

Looking down the steep slope in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

Looking down at the ladders

The climb was now becoming much steeper and the draining heat didn’t help. More ladders led us up to the final steep section near the top of the mountain. The path was now just rocks rather than dirt and steps, and the jungle was leaving us open to the scorching sun as we neared the rocky summit.

Steep rocky trail in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

The steep rocky trail near the summit

The final climb was quite exhausting, but when we finally made it to the top it was all worth it. The view was stunning and all I could see before me was an endless landscape of limestone karst mountains covered in jungle.

View of Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

The view from the top. Worth the effort!

Panoramic view from the mountain summit in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

Panoramic view from the summit

At the top of the mountain we were completely open to the scorching sun, so we couldn’t linger long in the heat and began our descent back down the mountain. This proved to be a lot more difficult than the climb up as the rocky steps are high and steep, and a fall could be very dangerous.

Heading down the mountain in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

Heading back down the mountain

Spider and web in Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

A spider in the jungle

It took quite a while to make our way down to the easier parts of the trail, where steps had been put in to make the descent easier. By the time we reached the bottom I was completely drenched in sweat, and the cold drink that I bought was like a gift from heaven.

Despite the heat, our hike in Cat Ba National Park was really interesting and the view from the top was stunning. Definitely worth the effort, and we had certainly earned ourselves a beer when we got back to Cat Ba Town.

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10 comments… add one
  • Dan Jun 20, 2013

    I bet that beer went down a treat. Looks like a great hike minus the blanketing heat, well worth it from the pictures at the top.
    Dan recently posted..Australia – West MacDonnell RangesMy Profile

    • Dean Wickham Jun 22, 2013

      Oh yes, it went down very well. So did the next one 😉

  • Richard Jun 20, 2013

    I stopped on Cat Ba Island on my honeymoon, and loved it. We did a hike in the heat and humidity, so I feel your pain! Well worth it though for the view from the top of one of those watchtowers.

    • Dean Wickham Jun 22, 2013

      Hi Richard. What a great way to spend your honeymoon! I’m glad you liked the hike as well. Cheers

  • Mellisa Turner Jun 21, 2013

    Vietnam is truly an undiscovered jewel. It has some excellent hiking spots to enthral and amuse you at all times. You can enjoy some good times amidst wilderness in this lovely location!

    • Dean Wickham Jun 22, 2013

      Hi Mellisa. I wouldn’t say that Vietnam is “undiscovered”, but it certainly does have some beautiful places to check out. I would like to do some more hiking here.

  • Iain Mallory Jun 22, 2013

    This looks like a great hike Dean with plenty to see along the way, especially for the observant, love your photos of the insects discovered along the route.
    Iain Mallory recently posted..Everest Base Camp Trek Survival GuideMy Profile

  • Looks like a fun hike. Some of the insects in Asia are so bizarre, at least when compared to North America.
    Cam @ Traveling Canucks recently posted..Aeroplan has some exciting changes coming in 2014My Profile

    • Dean Wickham Jul 16, 2013

      Hey Cam. There are certainly some strange insects there, though being Australian, I’m kind of used to strange animals 😉

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