Do you want to explore natural wonders that boast magnificent beauty and contain traces of the Earth’s developmental history? These three global geoparks recognized by UNESCO are your answer.
Impressive natural beauty as they are, these landmarks also attract visitors with unique traditional cultural identities of the local community and diverse local specialties.
1. Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark (Ha Giang)
On October 3rd, 2010, Dong Van Karst Plateau became the first global geopark in Vietnam and the second one in Southeast Asia. It was re-recognized by UNESCO in 2019 as a member of the Global Geopark Network in the period 2015 – 2018 and 2019 – 2022.
Stretching across four districts (Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, and Meo Vac), Dong Van Karst Plateau geopark is the must-visit destination in Ha Giang. Dating back to the Cambrian period, this geopark has gone through 7 different geological periods with traces left in paleontological, stratigraphy, geomorphology, karst, caves, etc.
While traveling there, you will have a chance to immerse yourself in the daily routine of ethnic minorities surrounded by the scenic beauty of nature. Here, the community of 17 ethnic groups such as Mong, Dao, Tay, Lolo, Nung… in Dong Van mountainous area still retain their own unique traditional cultural values with many interesting customs for you to explore.
Last but not least, what you should not miss here is the Route of Happiness (Con Đường Hạnh Phúc) and Tu San Canyon. The Route of Happiness is the one that connects 4 states in Ha Giang, namely Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, and Meo Vac. Thanks to this Route, civilization has been brought to Ha Giang. 66 young people have sacrificed, but it was worth it. Standing from here, you can overlook Tu San Canyon from far away. This is the deepest canyon in Southeast Asia, with a cliff depth of more than 700 m rising up from the jade green Nho Que River.
2. Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark (Cao Bang)
Interestingly, the global geopark Non Nuoc Cao Bang covers almost half of Cao Bang Province’s territory. This site was officially recognized by UNESCO as a global geopark in April 2018. UNESCO cited it as “single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.”
Here in this one-of-a-kind geopark, the wide range of fossils, marine sediments, volcanic rocks, minerals… as well as limestone landscapes are clear evidence of the Earth’s changes over the past hundreds of millions of years.
In addition, global geopark Non nuoc Cao Bang has a close connection with Vietnamese history and culture with above 215 relics along with many famous landmarks such as Ban Gioc, Pac Bo cave, Lenin stream, Thang Hen lake, Nguom Ngao cave, Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park… And do you know that Ban Gioc Waterfall is the largest one in Vietnam? So many awe-inspiring traces in one of the rarest site in Vietnam waiting for you to explore. For this matter of fact, it would be a pity if this site is not on your travel list.
3. Dak Nong
Dak Nong geopark was established in 2015. It has 65 geological and geomorphologic heritage sites, including a system of nearly 50 caves with a total length of more than 10,000 m, waterfalls, and craters. On July 7th 2020, Dak Nong Geopark was recognized as a global geopark by the Program Committee and International Relations of the UNESCO Executive Board at the lodge in Paris.
The park area has a tropical forest ecosystem, storing typical values of biodiversity, many unique geological and natural features, and relics of prehistoric people.
Visitors are attracted to come there for some of Dak Nong’s sightseeing manors and unique scenic beauty. For example Ta Nung National Park, Lieng Nung waterfall, Dray Sap waterfall, Trinh Nu (Virgin) waterfall, Gia Long waterfall, and Yok Don National Park.
Fact: Do you know that the landscapes of Ta Dung lake in the Dak Nong geopark are compared as “Ha Long Bay on the plateau.”?
Photo: Minhthuxinhdep, Nguyenxuanhai212.