Cat Ba is the largest island in the Bay and approximately half of its area is covered by a National Park, which is home to the highly endangered Cat Ba langur. (Believed to be only 60.)

Cat Ba Island means ‘Women’s Island’ and legend has it that three women of the Tran Dynasty died, each of their bodies washing up on a different beach. The inhabitants built temples for each of the women and the island came to be known as Cat Ba.

Cat Ba’s position at the head of Haiphong Harbour made it an important strategic location in the Vietnam War, known as the American War to the Vietnamese.

It was heavily bombed during this period and craters can still be seen in various places across the island.

Another significant remnant of the war is the Hospital Cave which served as a secret hospital, military base and safe house for Viet Cong leaders.

Hospital Cave, (Off Ha Sen Road, 10km from town). A 17 room underground hospital and hideout which was in use until 1975. It’s a real life James Bond underground lair. Get tickets from the café on opposite side of road.