CANNON FORT CAT BA ISLAND VIETNAM

CANNON FORT ON CAT BA ISLAND

Cannon Fort on Cat Ba Island in Vietnam is an important historical site with a strategic significance.

The fort was built in 1942 by the Japanese during World War II and later used by the French during the colonial period as a vantage point to defend against possible attacks from the sea.

The fort is also known as Than Cong Fortress and Point 117 as the fort is 177 meters above sea level.

Considering its prime position as a lookout, perhaps the very best reason to visit Cannon Fort is to fully appreciate the elevated and panoramic views of Cat Ba Island, the less-touristy Lan Ha Bay, and the surrounding karst landscape.

VIEW FROM CANNON FORT CAT BA ISLAND
Views of Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay, and the surrounding karst landscape

We took a walk from Cat Ba Town and a steep hike up to the fort to explore the remnants of the fortifications, including old cannons and bunkers, and in great anticipation of the panoramic views.

Along the route we came across a family of wild pigs with their cute babies.

You can take a taxi or, if you wish, ride a motorbike up the paved path to Cannon Fort.

You should note there is a ticket booth where you can buy and entrance ticket.

At the fort there are military bunkers and war remnants to see such as long discarded helmets and well-preserved artillery and gun placements and empty wooden boxes of ammunition that add to the surreal feeling of visiting a wartime landmark.

Cannon Fort military remnants
Cannon Fort military remnants

In addition to its historical significance, Cannon Fort has become a popular tourist attraction and a must-visit destination for travellers exploring Cat Ba Island and the larger Halong Bay area.

Cannon Fort is well signposted and easy to get to from Cat Ba Town so I recommend you add this military site with incredible views to your Cat Ba Island itinerary.

When I was there in November – during my fabulous travels through Vietnam, from Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta in the south then through Danang and Hoi An and onto Hue in Central Vietnam by train via the famous Hai Van Pass and then to the north and Cat Ba Island for Halong Bay – it was the start of the tourist season here and the café at Cannon Fort was closed.

But in high season I hear it’s the place to get refreshments and enjoy the views and a sunrise of sunset over Cat Ba.

The views from Cannon Fort are stunningly beautiful
The views from Cannon Fort are stunningly beautiful
VIETNAM - CANNON FORT ON CAT BA ISLAND

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT CANNON FORT ON CAT BA ISLAND

The best time to visit Cat Ba Island and Cannon Fort is during the dry season, which runs from October to April, when you can expect clear skies and minimal rainfall, making it ideal exploring the island’s natural beauty.

The months of October and November (my visit was during November) are often recommended as they offer comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the peak tourist season.

Do keep in mind that Cat Ba Island can of course still be visited during the wet season (May to September) but you should be prepared for occasional rainfall and higher humidity.

I recommend sturdy footwear as the paved road is steep up to Cannon Fort on Cat Ba Island
I recommend sturdy footwear as the paved road is steep

TIPS FOR VISITING CANNON FORT

1. Footwear: I would recommend trainers or sturdy footwear as the paved road is steep and the rocky walking surfaces can often be wet and slippery.

2. Clothing: You might appreciate having a light jacket with you while walking in the wet season.

3. Sun Protection: You should carry drinking water and wear a hat and sun protection.

4. Accessibility: The road is steep but Cannon Fort is only about 2.5 km from Cat Ba Town so it’s a fairly easy hike if you are fit/moderately fit.

5. Time: I would allow a half day to see the fort and to explore the area.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CAT BA ISLAND

Find out more about Cat Ba Island and the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in North Vietnam in my comprehensive Cat Ba Island post which highlights another fabulous Cat Ba tourist destination at Trung Trang Cave and features Cat Ba Island as a fabulous destination in its own right and also as an alternative and affordable gateway into Halong Bay.

CAT BA ISLAND GATEWAY TO HALONG BAY VIETNAM
VIETNAM TRAVEL TRUNG TRANG CAVE CAT BA

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