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Glossary of Vietnam National Parks: The masterpieces of Mother Nature

Son Doong belongs to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

Vietnam is a country full of natural masterpieces. It might be dedicated to God because of the diverse natural scenery and the most special species of animals and plants. In order to protect the unique resources, there are a lot of national parks that have established and been frequently operating to preserve and save thousands of extraordinary species. This blog post would like to show you a great glossary of National Park for those who love animals and natural discovery, enjoy the quiet and fresh ambiance.

1. Northern Vietnam

Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park

Source: landofsize.com

Cuc Phuong is the first and the largest national park in Vietnam which is located in 3 provinces: Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa. It has a 200 square kilometers rain forest, which is a home of approximately 2234 plant species and thousands of endangered animals. Cuc Phuong National Park is also a location of the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre & Turtle Conservation Centre. One of the most interesting seasons to visit this park is from at the end of April to the middle of May when the butterfly season has begun.

In other seasons, you can enjoy several outdoor activities as well, such as walking along the lush forest, watching the rare birds, riding through the jungle, discovering a lot of historic caves, greeny lakes, and preserved animals, etc. Do not forget to drop by Van Long Nature Reserve, where you can take a boat to sightsee the spectacular scenery and hundreds of underwater animals. Cuc Phuong National Park is not only a place to preserve exceptional species but also a spot to protect the cultural heritage of the Muong people. So that you will have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to admire the incredible biodiversity and the unique lifestyle of Vietnam ethnic groups. You can get there by car or rent a motorbike because it is quite near Hanoi.

  • Entrance ticket: 10,000 – 60,000 VND

Xuan Thuy National Park

Xuan Thuy National Park

Source: vietnamnet.vn

Xuan Thuy National Park is the first RAMSAR site in Vietnam, best known for its diverse wetland ecological system and as a migratory bird habitat. The best time to visit Xuan Thuy is from October to April, when abundant birds migrate here so that you can admire one of the most unique landscapes in Vietnam. The migratory birds make noise and amaze everyone who sees it. You can go there by car or bus from Giap Bat station to get to Nam Dinh, Vietnam. You also can have the local specialties in the central park with delicious dishes at reasonable prices.

  • Speedboat (small&big): 40 – 100 USD/trip
  • Local boat: 2 USD/trip
  • Bicycle rental: 3 USD/day

Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba National Park

Daily life at Viet Hai Fishing Village. Photo: Internet

Cat Ba National Park belongs to the famous Cat Ba Island which is nearby Hai Phong City and it is the center of the UNESCO Archipelago Biosphere Reserve. This park consists of both forests and ocean, which means it has many different ecosystems: mangrove forests, limestone forests, and coral reef. For its abundant biodiversity and untouched beauty, the best way to experience this park is to trek. You can get through the tropical rain forest by 3 different routes that you should choose.

The most beautiful and exciting route is getting through Frog Pond to Viet Hai Village and climb up to Ngu Lam Peak, which is the best place to sightsee the whole park. It might be better for you to choose to drop by Frog Pond (Ao Ếch) that has the one and only riparian forest in the high mountain. There are various kinds of trees grown up strongly that make a mystery and unique scenery. You also can take a short visit to Viet Hai Fishing Village to discover the peaceful daily life of local people. Cat Ba National Park is good to visit all year round, yet if you want it quieter, definitely visit the park on weekdays.

Ba Be National Park

Ba Be National Park

Explore the gorgeous scenery of the “Green Pearl” Ba Be National Park. Photo: jdtravelcouple

It is a unique destination that Mother Nature has given to Vietnam. Ba Be National Park’s name is meaningful because it is a complex of 3 beautiful lakes that are Pe Leng, Pe Lu, and Pe Lam and is located in Bac Kan Province. You can take a local boat along the lakes while admiring the beautiful mountains, outstandingly Pia Booc mountain that situates surrounding the lake, with fantastic caves and the peaceful local villages.

A special thing about the destination is that the lake lies in the center of the mountain and might be the highest lake due to sitting approximately 150 meters above sea level. This trip would make you full of pleasant feelings as well as completely relax in the fresh space. Ba Be National Park also has the rich of animals and lush forests that are being preserved and has been named in Vietnam’s Red Data Book. With the enormous biodiversity and picturesque landscape, Ba Be would be an attractive option for you.

Tam Dao National Park

Tam Dao National Park

This national park preserves hundreds of bears in Vietnam. Photo: National Geographic

In addition, there is a new national park located in Vinh Phuc Province, which is only 80km from Hanoi. You can get to Tam Dao National Park by motorcycle because it would be the nicest option to contemplate the magnificent scenery along the roads. Moreover, Tam Dao National Park is a suitable place for family trips. It owns a bear camping which would attract both you and your children. You can immerse yourself in the thick fog and the lush jungle here as well as relaxed with the fresh space.

2. Central Vietnam

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

Morning in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. Photo: Internet

Phong Nha Ke Bang is known as a huge and valuable worldwide museum that preserves the complex structures of geology in Quang Binh, Vietnam. The history of this location is hard to determine as well because of the complicated formations of stalagmites and stalactites. The scientists believed this location has been established for over 400 million years, and it might be the oldest national park in the world in general and in Asia in particular.

If you are into exploring nature, Phong Nha Ke Bang is a good choice for you. With the huge system of famous caves would bring you to surprise. Some spectacular caves such as Heaven Cave, Dark Cave, Ruc Mon Cave, Phong Nha Cave, Tien Son Cave, and the most remarkable that amazed all the world and well-known the biggest cave on this planet is Son Doong. Furthermore, Phong Nha Ke Bang owns copious rare animals, but you have to go with a professor or experienced local guide so that it might be easier to run into these animals.

One more interesting activity is rowing a boat around the park or paddling along the underground rivers because it holds such fascinating scenery with many limestone pillars and vast space with the incredible caves, tropical forest, clean water as well as fresh air. This location is able to supply you with a lot of outdoor activities such as trekking, discovering, riding, swimming, etc.

The best time to visit Phong Nha Ke Bang is in summer (from June to August). The rest of the year, it will be cold (from December to February) or raining and therefore flooding (from August to December). With the magnificent landscape, numerous exclusive caves, special underground rivers, and the diversity of flora and fauna, Phong Nha Ke Bang will be worth your adventure.

Pu Mat National Park

Pu Mat National Park

Kem Waterfall looks like a veil in the middle of the forest. Photo: zing.vn

If the 1,840-meter-high mountains, vast evergreen forests and incredible waterfall are enough to bring you to this national park, the abundance of flora and fauna. Pu Mat National Park belongs to the historic land of Vietnam which is Nghe An and is one of the first locations that found a rare animal called the Saola, which was completely unknown before 1992 and has been found living only in the Truong Son forest of Vietnam and Laos. It is also home to the largest herd of elephants in Vietnam.

This park acts as a principal nature reserve, with 2,400 flora species, 37 of which are listed in Vietnam’s Red Book and 20 in the World’s Red Book. You will have an opportunity to immerse yourself into a fresh nature when trekking in Khe Thoi primary forests, or to Kem waterfall, the most primeval waterfall in Vietnam. Your active holiday activities range from rowing, swimming, sightseeing to trekking or discovering the traditional lifestyle of the Thai or Dan Lai ethnic groups in their stilt houses and enjoying their local specialties. This in turn benefits the locals in the new initiatives of community-based tourism.

Furthermore, from this spot, you can easily reach Pu Luong, which is known as a new remarkable area in Vietnam. Pu Luong owns the magnificent scenery that has clean rivers with huge water wheels and the peaceful villages along the rivers. Pu Luong is also an amazing combination with the river and beautiful hills. It will be a time you have to be amazed at glorious rice paddy fields and immerse yourself into a fantastic landscape and friendly local people. You will have interesting experiences in Pu Luong as well as Pu Mat National Park.

Bach Ma National Park

Bach Ma National Park

Gorgeous Do Quyen Waterfall. Source: marnick

One more famous spot in ancient Hue that preserves Vietnam’s special animals and plants is Bach Ma National Park. The best time to visit is from December to April or June and July because you can combine the Bach Ma trip with Hue or Lang Co beach. Nowadays, Bach Ma is still wild and mysterious and attracts many tourists. Some interesting spots like Ngu Ho, which is locally known as 5 lakes gathered together, is also a symbol of the park. You can admire the amazing structures of nature.

Nearby Ngu Ho is Do Quyen Waterfall, one of the most fascinating waterfalls in Bach Ma. It is the best chance for you to relax and chill out with the murmur of the brook, the sounds of birds, and the deeply fresh air. Finally, you can get the whole view of Lang Co beach and Bach Ma National Park by climbing to Hai Vong Dai, which is a building like an observing towel. From this view, tourists also can see Canh Duong beach, Truoi Lake or Truc Lam Monastery.

3. Southern Vietnam

Cat Tien National Park

Cat Tien National Park

Source: Anders Blomqvist

Cat Tien National Park’s most impressive inhabitants are perhaps the plants. It is famous for its several 100-year-old or 500-year-old trees with the area boasting an incredible 1,610 botanical species and is one of the most remarkable national parks in Dong Nai in particular and Vietnam in general. When you travel to this place, you will be able to walk through the lush plant systems and learn more about the rare trees and valuable herbals. There are a lot of century-old trees that have big rounds and vast roots would amazed everyone who sees them.

One of the most not only interesting but also terrifying is Crocodile Lake. If you want to challenge yourself, you might try to sit on the boat in the middle of the lake where the crocodiles are swimming around you. In addition, the night safari is definitely an exciting and unique activity to observe nocturnal animals like sambar deer, porcupines, muntjac, and civets. One more special activity is meeting and exploring the lifestyle and farming practices of the Ma-Stieng ethnic. A trip to Cat Tien National Park would become your unforgettable experience.

Tram Chim National Park

Tram Chim National Park

Tram Chim National Park . Photo: Internet

From its name, people could understand why Tram Chim National Park might be one of the most famous locations preserving a lot of birds in Vietnam. There are a ton of exceptional birds living here. You can take a boat inside the center of the high tide region to discover the abundance of birds as well as strange plants. The park owns a plentiful lotus pond as well. In the lotus season, it is a perfect time to contemplate the gorgeous landscape with the fragrant flowers and relaxing pink shades. Besides, you should travel to Tram Chim from March to May when the high tide is happening so that you could try to taste the typical dishes and watch the additional activities from local people to learn more about the culture and daily basis in Dong Thap.

Phu Quoc National Park

Phu Quoc National Park

Source: homeiswhereyourbagis

This area is the center of the abundance of biodiversity in Vietnam. The park is located in Phu Quoc Island, which is a place that has a perfect combination of sea, streams, and forests. You can trek through the lush green jungle and find some of the valuable and rare orchids as well as watch the strange wildlife animals. The must-go place is Nui Chua’s peak means the peak of God’s Mountain. On top of this mountain, also known as the roof of Phu Quoc, it is easy for you to adore the picturesque scenery totally.

Tra Su Cajuput Forest/Tra Su Bird Sanctuary

Tra Su Cajuput Forest

Tourists are attracted by the incredible green in Tra Su Cajuput Forest. Photo: M.T/baotintuc.vn

The landscape of Tra Su Cajuput Forest is typical for Southern Vietnam Nature, especially An Giang’s scenery. It carries enough characters of high tide or mangrove forests. The best time to travel to Tra Su is from September to November when it is getting lush and green along the river. And the best way to get a kick out of magnificent nature is by local boat. While rowing, you can relish the unique rivers and specific birds flying or sitting on the trees. We are sure that you will be amusing and amazed at this insane site.

4. Central Highland

Yok Don National Park

Yok Don National Park

Dipterocarp forest in the summer. Source: medium.com

This is a special-use forest that is completely important in Dak Lak, Vietnam. It is also the one and only site to conserve the unique ”Khop” forest represented for all kinds of trees which are deciduous that makes this park globally important. Tourists could ride or trek through the jungle and uncover the endangered animals such as Indochinese Tiger, Leopard, Rhino, etc. But the most attractive part of the park is the places of ethnic minorities. There are a lot of groups here to make a rich cachet of the region like EDE, Tay, Muong, etc.

You can learn more about their civilization and society. Nothing is more interesting than going to the forest and looking for ethnic elephants with local guides or especially with local ethnic people. You will have a chance to approach closer and learn more about the elephants’ activities but without touching them. Furthermore, go sightseeing the vast nature of the Central Highland with many incredible waterfalls and streams. There is a Buddhist Waterfall in the woods that has fascinated many visitors every year.

Yok Don National Park is full of natural resources and abundant culture and it is where protecting endangered species not only in Vietnam but also in the whole world so that you have to pay attention to conserve this site.

Author: Thuy Linh

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