Cannon Fort — „Artillery Fortress“ you will see in the south of Cat Ba Island.
Cat Ba Island in Quang Ninh Province is an increasingly popular tourist island that is part of Ha Long Bay. Ha Long Bay is one of the most visited places in Vietnam, offering various attractions, boat trips, tourist activities and beautiful natural scenery. The area has also changed a lot, new hotels were build, new attractions have emerged and the number of visitors can be said to be still growing. Cat Ba Island is located about 160 km by land from Hanoi + boat transfer from Hai Phong or Tuan Chau. It is a good place to escape from the hot city for relaxation to the sea, or for using a boat trip or exploring the island and, for example, visiting the Cat Ba National Park.
- The island of Cat Ba (Đảo Cát Bà) offers several interesting places on the island and even a historic place near the town of Cat Ba – the so-called „Artillery Fortress“ – Cannon Fort (Pháo Đài Thần Công – Cát Bà) and its vantage points above the city. The capital of the island is located in the south and bears the same name as the island, Cat Ba (Cát Bà). Immediately above the town of Cat Ba, about 2 km from the center and at an altitude of 177 m above sea level is located Cannon Fort and this site is easily accessible from the town center of Cat Ba. It is definitely a place that cannot be missed when visiting and exploring this island.
The history of Cannon Fort in Cat Ba Island dates back to the 1940s.
- Cannon Fort in Cat Ba Island was built by the Japanese during World War II in the 1940s after the island was occupied. Specifically they built tunnels and ditches. However, the foundations were laid here by the French colonialists in about 1938. During the following time until about 1975, the fortress was used in World War II and in the 1st Indochina War and in the 2nd Indochina War (Vietnam War), mainly as a defensive fortress.
- It was an ideal strategic location with good control of Ha Long Bay and the coast of northern Vietnam. Cannon Fort was used mainly to control the sea area and also as air protection and used by the Japanese, French and Viet Cong. The Viet Cong (National Liberation Front of South Vietnam) gradually modified the fortress according to its image. The fort is also called „Point 177“ (High Point 177), the number indicates the altitude of the fort.
- Cannon Fort had 2 artillery cannons, stone ditches, underground tunnels and there was also a landing area for helicopters, an underground ammunition depot, observatories and other military rooms. Preserved cannons – Cannon No. 1 and Cannon No. 2, were made by the French in about 1910 and have a range of about 40 km. They were placed on the fort during French colonization after the occupation of Cat Ba Island.
- Cannon No. 1 controlled the port near the city of Hai Phong, Cannon No. 2. had another 3 control sections by the sea. In addition to various preserved sites, war artifacts, objects, or photographs, Cannon Fort also offers beautiful views of various parts of Cat Ba Island and a pleasant smaller restaurant on site. The fortress was also restored over time and some roads were completed or modified for tourists.
▶ Cannon No. 1 and 2 – probably the most interesting monuments at Cannon Fort.
▶ U-Tunnel – leads to the management zone of the entire fortress.
▶ Military Airport – airport used for a transport helicopter.
▶ Showroom of historical objects – old objects, weapons, map of the object…
How to get and travel to Cannon Fort in Cat Ba?
- Cannon Fort is in the south of Cat Ba Island, so you have to go to the town of the same name as the island, which is 2 km from the fort. If you travel from Hanoi to Cannon Fort on Cat Ba, you can take advantage of various bus + boat transfers from various companies. The journey by bus + boat from Hanoi to Cat Ba takes about 3.5-5 hours (depending on the company and bus type). Cat Ba Island has no airport and no railway. The more experienced travelers can also come by motorbike via Tuan Chau, from Tuan Chau it is possible to take a motorbike on boat and bring it to Cat Ba Island. Buy tickets from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island online. From Cat Ba town to Cannon Fort, you can walk, travel on motorbike or take a private taxi.
- From Hanoi to Cannon Fort – bus / minivan + boats via Hai Phong or Tuan Chau (Ha Long).
- From Ha Long to Cannon Fort – by boat from Tuan Chau to the northern part of Cat Ba Island + bus to the city.
- From Hai Phong to Cannon Fort – by boat / ferry to the town of Cat Ba in the south of the island.
- From Cat Ba town to Cannon Fort – you can walk, travel on motorbike or take a private taxi/car.
What is the best time to visit Cannon Fort in Cat Ba?
- The best time to visit Cannon Fort on Cat Ba Island is spring, summer or early autumn. You definitely want to enjoy swimming in the sea, for example, so you have to come here in the warmer season. However, it must be taken into account that in the summer months there may be more precipitation and temperatures may be very high. A suitable time to visit could be, for example, in the months of September – October, when it can still be pleasantly warm and a little less precipitation. However, you can come to Cat Ba all year round, in winter some services may be more limited and the water in the sea may not be suitable for swimming.
▶ A good time to visit Cannon Fort in Cat Ba – fall or spring.
▶ The opening hours of Cannon Fort are from 6.30 am to 6 pm.
▶ In winter it is not very convenient to travel on Cat Ba Island.
Where to stay near Cannon Fort in Cat Ba Island?
- If you would like to stay close to Cannon Fort, you must choose the town of Cat Ba in the south of the island. The nearest accommodation capacities are a few hundred meters from the top of the fortress. The town of Cat Ba in the south of the island offers a wide range of different hotels, guesthouses and hostels for low-cost but also very demanding tourists. Prices for a standard double room in Cat Ba start at about 10 – 20 USD, some higher quality resorts can cost even more. Some tourist resorts are also located on nearby small islands, such as Monkey Island. In this article is a selection of very well rated accommodation facilities > 15 Best hotels in Cat Ba Island.
Tips for well rated accommodation in Cat Ba Island:
Questions + Travel Tips – Cannon Fort in Cat Ba Island:
1️⃣ Where is Cannon Fort located?
- Cannon Fort is located in the south of Cat Ba Island (Đảo Cát Bà), which is part of Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh Province, Hai Phong City), about 2 km from Cat Ba town. The travel distance from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island is about 160 km by bus + boat via Hai Phong to the town of Cat Ba in the south of the island. Cat Ba Island is the largest island of the Cat Ba archipelago, which includes 367 smaller islands.
2️⃣ When and by whom was Cannon Fort built and used?
- The Cannon Fort was founded by French colonialists, and in the 1940s, the fort was completed by the Japanese, who occupied the island during World War II. Cannon Fort was used by the French, Japanese and Viet Cong until about the end of the Vietnam War.
3️⃣ What makes Cannon Fort interesting and why to visit this place?
- Canon Fort is a historic site where you can see preserved cannons, bunkers, tunnels, observatories, or other preserved objects and artifacts from the wars. Cannon Fort also offers beautiful views of the surrounding smaller islands off Cat Ba in the south of the island and is easily accessible from the city.
4️⃣ How you can travel to Cannon Fort? How to get there?
- First of all, you have to go to the town of Cat Ba, which is located in the south of the island of Cat Ba. There are various tourist buses from Hanoi to Cat Ba, where you can already arrange a shorter boat transfer to Cat Ba Island (mostly via Hai Phong). The journey by bus + boat from Hanoi to Cat Ba via Hai Phong takes about 3.5-5 hours. Tickets for Cat Ba start at about 10 USD / person and you can easily buy them online. Cat Ba Island can also be reached by boat from Tuan Chau Island, located about 5 km from Ha Long. More info in this article > How to go from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island? From Cat Ba town to Cannon Fort, you can ride a motorbike, walk or use a private taxi / car.
- From Hanoi to Cannon Fort – by bus + boat to the town of Cat Ba and on a motorcycle or walk from the town.
- From Ha Long to Cannon Fort – by boat from Tuan Chau to Cat Ba Island, then by bus to the city in the south.
- From Hai Phong to Cannon Fort – there are some boats / ferries from Hai Phong to Cat Ba town.
5️⃣ How to move in Cannon Fort in Cat Ba?
- You can come to the fortress on a motorcycle or you can walk, you can only move in the area on foot. There are no buses to the entrance of Cannon Fort. There is a parking lot for motorbikes or cars.
6️⃣ What is the best time to visit Cannon Fort?
- If you want to enjoy the sea at Cat Ba Island, it is advisable to come in the warmer season. E.g. spring – summer or beginning of autumn. In the summer, however, you have to reckon with the fact that there may be more rainfall, this is the monsoon season. It is better to avoid winter.
7️⃣ How much are tickets / entrance fee to Cannon Fort?
- Admission to Cannon Fort in Cat Ba is about 40,000 VND. Please note that this entrance fee may change over time. In front of the fortress, it is also possible to use paid parking for motorbikes and cars.
8️⃣ What are the opening hours of Cannon Fort in Cat Ba?
- Officially, the opening hours of the Cannon Fort complex on Cat Ba Island are from 6.30 am to 6 pm, please note that this time may change over time and season.
9️⃣ Is it possible to buy food and drink at Cannon Fort?
- Yes, right in the fortress there is a small restaurant where you can buy hot food as well as cold drinks.
🔟 Where to stay near Cannon Fort in Cat Ba?
- It is best to choose the town of Cat Ba, which is located about 2 km from the fortress. The city of Cat Ba has a wide range of accommodation, various hotels, guesthouses, homestays and more luxurious resorts.
- You can search and book accommodation in Cat Ba online > Accommodation in Cat Ba Island
Map and location of Cannon Fort in Cat Ba Island:
(Cannon Fort is located only about 2 km from the city center of Cat Ba town in the south of island)