April 2018. Feeling a bit disillusioned with the grubby main drag of Cat Ba Town? Fear not, there are several spots of real beauty within walking distance. The pick of the bunch is the island’s historical Cat Ba Cannon Fort. Follow the signs from the town and work your way up the hill to the fort’s ticketed entrance.
April 2018. Most people whizz up to Cat Ba Cannon Fort on rented motorbikes. But for me it was nice to simply walk in the drizzle with my headphones on, the views over the bay opening up in dramatic fashion. It takes about ten minutes to reach the ticket office, then another fifteen to arrive at the peak and the fort itself. Say hello to wandering goats along the way.
April 2018. Cat Ba Cannon Fort was built in 1942 by the French, while the Japanese later constructed gun emplacements and tunnels during World War II. This 138mm anti warship cannon, with a range of 40km, is one of several cool installations to check out. There is very little in the way of English information.
April 2018. Jaw-dropping views over Halong Bay can be enjoyed from the summit, though you’ll have to walk through The Fortress Café to soak it all up and access the viewing platform. Expect the café owner to start hassling you for drinks the second you arrive. Look, there he is in the background. He’s got his eye on you.
April 2018. There’s a very decent panoramic to be had from the main artillery marker too, even on a foggy day like this one. It had just started to rain and it felt like the mountains were actually starting to disappear in front of my eyes as the mist moved in. Cat Ba Cannon Fort also showcases some old military bunkers and a couple of winding jungle trails. Entrance is 50.000VND (£1.65/€1.90/$2.20) between the hours of 08:00-17:00.
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