Cat Ba Island belongs to Cat Hai District – 50 kilometers southeast from Hai Phong City and 150 kilometers from Ha Noi Capital. The area occupies for 200 square kilometers and consists of 366 small and big islands of which Cat Ba is the biggest one in almost 2,000 ones within the Ha Long Bay Community. Cat Ba – along with another community of small and big islands and caves – constitutes an imposing, charming and mysterious vision for the City.
Cat Ba is in fact a great green carpet hiding a variety of mysterious and attractive facts. Apart from the natural special potentials, Cat Ba owns its Cai Beo Heritage of Ha Long Culture; their inhabitants lived here some 6475-4200 years ago. The nature in this place is wild. The forests, the hills, the mountains, the valleys, the caves and the sand of Cat Ba are mingled into one another to help constitute a surprising beauty.
Cong Do Island
On the south-east side of HaLong Bay, about 25 km from Bai Chay Wharf, Cong Ðo is in Bai Tu Long Bay in the region which recognized as the World Heritage. It has an area of 23,363 sq. m, and its mountain reaches a peak of 172 m. The island features many lagoons, which are the residence of numerous species of sea-life, such as shrimp, crab, fish, squid and aquatic plants. On the south-west side of the island, there is a wide coral reef displaying a myriad of colors.
Coral reef ecosystem is more than 700 m long and 300 m wide. It is preserved almost undamaged. In the future, there are plans for the development of a zone for scuba-diving. On the south-east side of the island, vestiges of the ancient commercial port of Van Ðon were discovered. This confirms beliefs that Cong Ðo Island once held an important position in terms of foreign trade.
Quan Lan Island
Quan Lan Island belongs to Bai Tu Long Bay; part of an island range on the outside of the gulf of Tonkin. It has an area of 11 sq. km, and features eight populated hamlets. Quan Lan Island stretch toward East – West from the foot of Van Range to the Got Mount with many high mountains to the east barring waves and winds, protect the villages. The island is situated on an important navigation route that connects China, Japan, Thailand and Philippines to Vietnam. Along two sides of the island are tens kilometers of sand beaches. This is the endless resource for glass making which the sea gives to man and it is also the extremely interesting tourism
Tuan Chau Island
On the south-west side of Ha Long City it is Tuan Chau Island, a schist island, very pretty, with a luxuriant forest. It has an area of 220 ha, and to the east and south are two beaches endowed with very white and fine sand. In 1962, Ho Chí Minh visited Ha Long Bay and made a stop here for vacation. Nowadays, Tuan Châu Island is one of the most attractive destinations in Ha Long City.
Cong Tay Island
In the Ngoc Vung - Quan Lan islands itinerary, one will visit Cong Tay Island, which lies at the Bai Tu Long Bay, 40 km away from the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. From Cam Pha, express boats will take you 30 minutes or 90 minutes by common boats to reach Cong Tay Island.
Cong Tay Island is considered the Cinderella in a legendary tale. The Cam Pha Coal Construction and Port Company built a resort in the island to attract holidaymakers. A system of villas and restaurants lies very close to the beach. Red brick-paved, coconut-lined roads lead from the villas to the beach. Hammocks are available here and there for tourists to relax and view the sea.
Ngoc Vung Island
Ngoc Vung is one of the offshore beaches which are still kept pristine and unspool. Situated to the south of Ngoc Vung Island, some 34 km southeast of the tourist boat wharf, this beach boasts clear waters all year round. Its 3-km sandy stretch sparkles in the sunlight. Apart from swimming and sightseeing, tourists can also enjoy fresh delicious seafood supplied by local fishermen.
Ngoc Vung, or Gem Island, is a pretty site sitting between the Net Islet and Phuong Hoang (Phoenix) Island, in the Van Ðon District. From above, Ngoc Vung looks like a beautiful velvet handkerchief with exquisite white edgings; it seems to float on the water surface. On the east side of the island there is a kilometers-beach with pure white sand. At the centre is a luxuriant Benjamin fig tree; it was under this tree that Ho Chi Minh stood and conversed with the population in 1962 during a visit.
Bo Nau Cave
Some 2-3 km southeast of Trong mai Islet lays Bo Nau Grotto or Pelican Grotto. This vaulted grotto covers 200 m2. The floor of the grotto is wide and flat, but not deep, and its wall features lots of stalactites and stalagmites.
The name Bo Nau or Bo Nong is associated with the fact that pelicans often take shelter here. If Ðau Go Grotto lies completely inside the island, Bo Nau opens its mouth at the side of the island. Stalactites fall down from the roof of the grotto in different clusters. Meanwhile stalagmites grow up in different shapes and layers. Is this that the life out there is so noisy that the three fairies have to choose this tranquil place to play chess? Turning southward, Bo Nau Grotto enjoys cool wind. Standing there, one can hear the murmur of the sea all year round. Bo Nau Grotto is one of the beauty grottoes in Ha Long Bay.
Dau Go Cave
The grotto is on Dau Go( Driftwood) Island. Seen from afar, the entrance to the grotto appears to be blue, and has a shape similar to that of a jellyfish. After 90 steps up the island, the entrance is reached. The ceiling of the grotto is about 25 m. Hundreds of stalactites falling down from the roof of the grotto look like a waterfall.
Situated on Bo Hon Island, 14 km south of Bai Chay Beach is the Luon Grotto. In front of the grotto is Con Rua (Turtle) Islet, and the Sky Gate is on the right. Here the cliffs stretch vertically out of the pure blue and smooth water. At the water-level, an arched entrance leads to the grotto, just at the base of the island. The cave is 90 m long and 3.5 m wide. Passing through the pretty entrance, you come across a tranquil round lake, surrounded by luxuriant trees and high dangerous stone walls. Monkeys run to and fro in groups, Benjamin fig trees shade the landscape and many orchids hang their sweet-scented flowers. In the lake, many species abound: shrimp, fish, crab and cutlet-fish.
Sung Sot Cave
Situated in the centre of the UNESCO-declared World Heritage area, the Sung Sot or Surprise Grotto is on Bo Hon Island, and is one of the finest and widest grottoes of HA Long Bay.
At the deepest point of the grotto, a "royal garden" appears with a clear pond and a seemingly fascinating landscape of mountains. Many birds and plants (Benjamin figs, cycads and centenary banyan trees) live here. On nice days groups of monkeys might arrive in search of fruit.
Thien Cung Cave
It is situated on the south-west side the bay, 4 km from the wharf outside of Ha Long City. The way to Thiên Cung is a perilous one, covered on both sides by thick forest. After entering a narrow gate, the grotto’s 130-meter-long girth opens up. Getting in we are more astonished in front of the very animated and splendid beauty which is made from stalactite. On the east wall of the grotto, there is a grandiose and imposing picture with characters of tales.
Hang Hanh Cave
Hang Hanh is one of the longest grottoes in Ha Long Bay, lying 9 km west of Cam Pha Town and 20 km from Bãi Cháy Beach. It is 1,300 m long, and stretches throughout the stone mountain of Quang Hanh. That is why it was named “Le tunnel” or Tunnel grotto.
Hang Hanh Grotto is extremely beautiful. The small boat will take you through the stone passageway by lamp-light, casting magical colors on the hanging stalactites.
Bai Tu Long National Park
Bai Tu Long National Park is situated in Bai Tu Long bay in Van Don district, Quang Ninh province. The topography of Bai Tu Long bay is similar to that of Ha Long bay, immediately to the south: limestone islands and islets, surrounded by marine waters. One distinctive feature of Bai Tu Long bay is Ba Mun Island, a larger island, composed of schist, sand and gravel, not limestone. Ba Mun island consists of a narrow strip of land, 18 km long and, on average, 1 km wide. The highest point on the island is Cai Quyt peak at 307 m. A number of streams originate on the central ridge of the island, most of which are seasonal.
Ha Long bay
Ha Long Bay affords some of Vietnam's most spectacular scenery, including beautiful limestone formations, rock arches, gin-clear water, virtually inaccessible lagoons, sheer cliffs, peaceful coves, eerie caves, secluded strips of white, powdery sand, and thousands of limestone islets. Like sculpted cartoon characters, these islets are fancifully named: Frog Island, Face Island, the Isle of Wonders and the Isle of Surprise. Chinese junks glide over the teal-hued bay between the grottos, which are densely carpeted in neon-green ficas, mangrove and spiky cacti. Pearl oyster farms are tucked into tight channels between the towering, limestone cliffs. Primitive floating fish hatcheries are spun across the waters between the grottos like neglected spider webs. This maritime mountain range reaches for a distance of more than 100 kilometers and covers an area of some 1553 square kilometers.
Kim Quy Grotto
Kim Quy Grotto or Golden Tortoise Grotto is situated on Dâm Nam Islet, with a peak 187 m above sea level. Dâm Bac Islet is in the front of the grotto and Soi Sim Islet in the back.
The grotto is 100 m long and 5 to 10 m wide, running in a north-south direction.
A narrow way leads to the interior of the grotto where a stream flows. The stalactites here are snow-white and lightly hang from the ceiling.
Me Cung Grotto or Bewitching Grotto
Two kilometers south-west of Ti Top Island is the Mê Cung Grotto or Bewitching Grotto. It formed on Lom Bò Island, and seen from afar, the entrance is like the roof of a house denting the island’s side.
After a narrow crack only allowing one person through at a time, many partitions appear. These chambers are somewhat small and narrow, but very refined, and with many stalagmites and stalactites bearing beautiful forms.
Pushing into the grotto, tourists feel like walking in a palace of a Persian king. Hearing the murmur from out of nowhere, you think that Scheherazade is telling the stories of the thousand and One Nights for her king.
The Trinh Nu Grotto or Virgin Grotto
The Trinh Nu Grotto or Virgin Grotto is situated on the island range of Bo Hòn in the system comprising the Sung Sôt Grotto, Ðong Tiên Lake and Luon Grotto. It is 15 km south of Bãi Cháy Beach. For fishermen, the Virgin Grotto is their house, but for young lovers, it is considered as the symbol of truly love, and is the romantic place for taking oath of love.
Entering Trinh Nu Grotto, one finds in the middle of the grotto a stone statue of a lying-girl with her long hair hanging down who is looking to the sea in a vain hope.
Situated opposite to Trinh Nu Grotto, Trong (or Male) Grotto has a stone statue of a boy who turns his face to Trinh Nu Grotto. One still hears his vain scream in tune with the wind blowing into the cliff somewhere.
Ba Ham Lake
Situated on the south-west side of Ha Long Bay, Ba Ham Lake is found on Ðau Bê Island (Calf Head Island) in Lan Ha Bay. This island is part of the range of islands at the farthest end of HaLong Bay, bordering the immense zone Long Châu Sea. Ba Ham Lake is situated in the middle of a narrow, rectangular area, with the all four sides enclosed by vertical cliffs.
The lake is a system comprising three wide and round pits, linked together by a narrow and meandering tunnel. Stalactites hang from the ceiling in a myriad of strange, colored forms. The silence is disturbed only by the sounds of the boat’s oars. On the island are many species of plants such as orchids, Benjamin figs, banyans and cycads, which blossom throughout the year. It is also the home of yellow-haired monkeys, birds, flying squirrels and bats. Under the deep blue surface of the water are the animated lives of shrimp and fish.