Cat Ba Island worth fighting the chills for

As I made my way to Haiphong City last month, ominously the northeastern monsoon was in full ascendancy.

Most of the northern provinces were hit by a cold spell with Sapa Town having some snowfall. Haiphong had non-stop rain and the temperature was down to nine

degrees Celsius.

But not even that could dampen our spirits as the beauty of nature won the day. It didn’t stop us visiting Do Son Beach, without the swimwear of course, and around Cat Ba Island. Do Son Beach is shaded by thousands of sandalwood trees and surrounded by mountains and hills and is a must-see destination in Hai Phong.

Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Cat Ba Archipelago, with a surface area of about 140 square kilometers, is a famous location for its ideal climate, stunning beaches and biodiversity.

As soon as you arrive you are awestruck by its endless limestone forests and bizarre rock formations providing evidence of a long history of erosion and landscape evolution through the sculpturing power of water. The island also has coral terraces, sandy beaches, freshwater wetland areas, mangrove forests and a willow swamp.

We also just had to stop by Lan Ha Bay, a spectacular area which is currently seeking UNESCO’s recognition as a world heritage site.

We ended the trip looking around cultural and historical relics with Hang Kenh Communal House making the strongest impression with its elegant 16th century architecture helping us forget the coldness and tiredness after a long day. By Tran The Dung in Haiphong

Numerous boats still cruise around the spectacular Lan Ha Bay despite the rain and the cold

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