CANNON FORT — Cat Ba Island ▶️ [GUIDE]

Cannon Fort in Cat Ba Island is a historic site that offers fantastic views of the island’s surroundings.

ℹ️ Information about fort
🚍 How to get to Cannon Fort
☀️ When to go to Cannon Fort
🏡 Where to stay in Cat Ba
Questions + Travel Tips
📸 Photos of Cannon Fort

➡️ UPDATE 2023: Unfortunately, Cannon Fort is officially closed now, and the café that used to be here is also not in operation. However, you can still access and explore the area, but please be cautious. There have been negative online reviews mentioning that there’s a guy patrolling around the fort and collecting a fee of approximately 50 000 VND. I recommend checking the Google reviews here. It also describes how to bypass the gate without being extorted for a fee. However, please be aware that you are entering at your own risk.

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.
One of the vantage points (Artillery marker) above the city at Cannon Fort on Cat Ba 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.

Book Hotel / Guesthouse in Cat Ba

    • 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…

Showroom, or mini museum at Cannon Fort in Cat Ba, there are some preserved objects, weapons, munition and other artifacts.

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.

Bus Tickets from Hanoi to Cat Ba

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. Read carefully this article: Weather in Cat Ba.

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.

There are some great views of the nearby smaller islands or beaches at Cat Ba Island on Cannon Fort.

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:

Lang Chai Hotel
Hoang Phuc Hotel
CatBa Sunrise Hotel
Minh Hieu Hotel
Gieng Ngoc Hotel
CatBa Palace Hotel

Cannon Fort is located near the town of Cat Ba, the building has various concrete or stone ditches and walls.

Questions + Travel Tips – Cannon Fort in Cat Ba Island:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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)

Cannon Fort is accessible by motorbike, taxi or you can walk from Cat Ba town, you can use your Google maps.

Cannon Fort Artillery Fortress in Cat Ba Island — Photos:

The showroom at Cannon Fort offers an exhibition of various old objects or effigies of Viet Cong soldiers.
View from the restaurant at Cannon Fort to the surrounding islands near Cat Ba Island.
Showroom of historical objects and preserved artifacts, ammunition or armaments in Cannon Fort on Cat Ba Island.
Cannon Fort near Cat Ba town offers some nice views, such as the bay to the south of Cat Ba Island.
Showroom of old and preserved items, military ammunition, equipment and other attractions in the Cannon Fort.
One of the artillery cannons at Cannon Fort on Cat Ba Island.
Anti-aircraft artillery site in Cannon Fort – Cat Ba Island.
View from Canon Fort towards the northern part of Cat Ba Island.
Artillery marker in Cannon Fort – Cat Ba Island, this is also a nice view to the bay of Cat Ba town.
The Vietcong used the Cannon Fort as a defensive fortress against naval and air attacks.
Amunition showroom in Cannon Fort. Some surviving ammunition is part of the exhibition at Cannon Fort.
Tourist map of Cannon Fort in Cat Ba Island.
Facts about Cannon Fort in Cat Ba: Description
1. Strategic Coastal Defense:

Cannon Fort, perched on the heights of Cat Ba Island in northern Vietnam, holds a significant place in the country’s history. Originally constructed by the Japanese during World War II and later fortified by the French during the First Indochina War, the fort played a strategic role in coastal defense. Today, it stands as a historic testament to these periods of conflict and is a key attraction for visitors.

2. Panoramic Island Views:

One of the most compelling aspects of visiting Cannon Fort is the breathtaking panoramic views it offers. Perched at an elevation of 177 meters, the fort provides a sweeping vista of Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay, and the Gulf of Tonkin. The picturesque landscapes, dotted with limestone karsts and emerald waters, create a spectacular backdrop for visitors.

3. Preserved Fortifications:

The fortifications at Cannon Fort have been well-preserved, allowing visitors to explore the network of tunnels, bunkers, and artillery installations. The remnants of the past, including cannons and anti-aircraft guns, serve as tangible reminders of the island’s history. Guided tours are available to provide insights into the fort’s military significance.

4. Japanese Occupation:

During World War II, Cat Ba Island was occupied by the Japanese, who recognized the island’s strategic importance. They constructed the initial fortifications on Cannon Fort to protect their interests in the region. Exploring the fort’s history sheds light on this period of occupation and the challenges faced by the local population.

5. French Colonial Influence:

The French colonial forces further fortified Cannon Fort during the First Indochina War. The site was used as a defensive position against local resistance and played a role in the larger conflict between the French and Vietnamese forces. The fort’s history is a testament to the complex colonial legacy in Vietnam.

6. Sunset Viewing Spot:

Cannon Fort is renowned as one of the best spots on Cat Ba Island to witness breathtaking sunsets. As the sun descends over the Gulf of Tonkin, the fort’s elevated location provides a stunning backdrop for capturing the golden hues of the setting sun. Sunset enthusiasts often gather here to admire this natural spectacle.

7. Bunker Exploration:

Visitors to Cannon Fort can explore underground bunkers and tunnels, providing a glimpse into the daily life of soldiers stationed there. The bunkers have been preserved to offer an authentic experience. Walking through these passages evokes a sense of history and the challenges faced by those who served at the fort.

8. Scenic Hike to the Fort:

Reaching Cannon Fort involves a scenic hike through lush green landscapes. The well-marked trail winds its way up the hill, and the journey to the top is as rewarding as the destination. Along the way, hikers can enjoy the island’s natural beauty, including diverse flora and fauna.

9. Educational Experience:

Cannon Fort provides an educational experience for history enthusiasts. Information boards and guides offer insights into the fort’s history, the conflicts it was involved in, and the impact on the local community. The fort’s role in World War II and the First Indochina War is an integral part of Vietnam’s history.

10. Local Hospitality:

Visitors to Cannon Fort often have the chance to interact with the local population, who have established homes and businesses in the vicinity. The island’s residents are known for their warm hospitality, and this engagement with the local culture adds depth to the visitor experience, allowing for cultural exchange and insights into daily life on Cat Ba Island.

🎫 Book and buy your tickets / car from Hanoi to Cat Ba + Schedule:

Thang Hen Lake in Cao BangPac Bo in Cao BangBich Dong PagodaDong Van – Ha GiangMuong Hoa Valley – SapaHoa Lu – Ancient Capital

Co To Island ➜

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.8 / 5. Vote count: 26

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.