Sat, 15th Jun 2024 21:09 (GMT +7)

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

Monday, 20/05/2024 | 11:13:58 [GMT +7] A  A

Viet Hai Village, nestled amidst the emerald embrace of Cat Ba National Park, awaits those who dare a 10-kilometer trek through ancient trees and breathtaking landscapes.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

The path through the forest on Cat Ba Island, situated in Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City.

Cat Ba Island is the largest island of the Cat Ba Archipelago, situated approximately 140 kilometers from Hanoi. It features mountains, primeval forests, and blue seas with white sand.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

Among these, Cat Ba National Park stands out as a world biosphere reserve spanning more than 17,300 hectares (nearly 11,000 of which are mountain forests). It harbors a diverse flora and fauna system.

The national park entrance is located 11 kilometers from Phu Long Ferry, serving as the starting point for trekking tours. The entrance fee is VND80,000 ($3.15) per person.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

A group of young guests from Hanoi organized a trip in Cat Ba's forest.

The 2 kilometers-long road from the gate to Ngu Lam Peak is easy to follow and is favored by many domestic tourists traveling in groups.

Additionally, visitors can choose to trek 6 kilometers or 10 kilometers, depending on their preferences and physical condition. The journey to the final destination, Viet Hai Village, takes about 4 hours.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

For those trekking 10 kilometers, the route entails passing through six rocky slopes that are of an appropriate height for trekking. Some parts of these slopes are slightly steep, but the steep sections are short in length. The trekking route passes through different types of primary forests along the way.

Nguyen Duc, a tour guide familiar with the route, advises travelers to bring lightweight essentials, primarily water, insect repellent spray, protective gloves, and a small amount of food.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

Duc emphasizes the necessity of anti-slip shoes and gloves due to the moss-covered and rocky terrain along the route.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

After heavy rain or storms, there is a possibility that visitors may come across fallen trees blocking the path they are trekking on.

Despite the fresh air in the forest, the high humidity levels can cause rapid dehydration and discomfort, especially for those who are trekking in such conditions for the first time.

To address these challenges, tour guides recommend that tourists avoid rushing and take breaks as needed during the trek. This approach helps ensure they conserve enough energy to complete the journey.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

In return, trekking tourists will be rewarded with unforgettable experiences. The ancient banyan tree, resembling a gate welcoming visitors into the forest, is just one example of the park's wonders.

Cat Ba National Park has a total of 1,585 plant species, including many varieties of precious trees.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

The banyan trees, which grow in a symbiotic relationship with other trees, create formations that look like two lovers embracing each other when seen from the top of Ang Phay Peak.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

Frog Pond is a renowned destination along the journey, located approximately 6 kilometers from the National Park gate, halfway up the mountain and 80 meters above sea level.

During the dry season, the water level of Frog Pond decreases, causing it to shrink in size. As a result, the mud at the bottom of the pond becomes visible, and it is covered by a thick layer formed by the decomposition of branches and leaves. Many mosquitoes and grasshoppers are present here.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

The mangrove trees expose their roots as Frog Pond dries up. Locals note that in recent years, the duration of the pond's dry spells has been extending.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

Geckos thrive in Cat Ba's forest following heavy rains.

The forest is also home to 53 species of mammals, 160 species of birds, 46 species of reptiles, and 21 species of amphibians, with the golden-headed langur being the most renowned, endemic to the archipelago.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

The final slope before reaching Viet Hai Village is the most challenging part of the journey, with an unclear path that poses risks of falls or injuries from sharp rocks.

As visitors near Viet Hai, their physical strength diminishes, requiring cautious movement and the use of forest trees and vines for support.

A day in the wild: trekking through Cat Ba National Park

Situated amidst mountains and forests, Viet Hai Village serves as the journey's endpoint. Despite its small size, the village, home to approximately 400 residents, offers essential services such as accommodation, meals, and fish massage therapy for relaxation post-trek.

Following rest and nourishment, visitors can explore the village by bicycle, marveling at the surrounding scenery, or opt to continue their adventure by boat or canoe to Cat Ba town center.

Trekking through the forest to Viet Hai is hailed as a rewarding experience by tourists, providing not only physical challenges but also mental rejuvenation. However, undertaking this trek requires good physical fitness due to its demanding nature.

Source: VnExpress