7 national parks in Vietnam
Vietnam’s national parks and nature reserves offer tremendous diversity. Northern Vietnam is rich in rice terraces that adorn the lush hilly landscape. Central Vietnam houses the world’s largest caves and the most powerful waterfalls of the country. And in South Vietnam you can experience exotic wildlife in the mangrove forests. Here is our guide to 7 Vietnamese national parks and nature reserves you do not want to miss out on.
Hoang Lien National Park
Hoàng Liên National Park in the most northern Vietnam houses both an impressive biodiversity and Indochina’s highest mountain, Fan Si Pan. Hoàng Liên National Park is located in Hoàng Liên Son mountain range, close to Sapa town and will be easy to reach if you visit Sapa.
Fan Si Pan thrones with its 3143 meters above sea level. But the latest measurements actually add another 4.3 cm to the previous height, which was measured in 1909. Today, a visit to the top can be done in one day, as a large part of the trip is made by cable car. It is still possible to walk to the top, but it requires a guide and that you spend at least 2 days.
Hoàng Liên National Park is predominantly covered by forest, a forest area that has a diversified fauna system and a mountainous tropical vegetation consisting of rare species of plants that have very high medical values for the local population. The area also houses several of the many ethnic minorities in Vietnam, so a visit to the region also provides an insight into the Vietnamese’s traditional life.
National park Ba Be
6 hours from Hanoi
The exotic Ba Be lake names this subtropical national park that unfolds in northern Vietnam. Ba Be offers both waterfalls and mysterious bat caves. The quiet stream, which characterizes Ba Be Lake, makes boat trips an ideal way to experience the national park where you can both fish or enjoy a small dip. On land you can explore the hiking trails around the lake or ride the bike along the lake shore cycle paths. Ba Be National Park is inhabited among others by the Tay people, one of Vietnam’s largest ethnic minority groups. The Tay people welcome travelers with authentic homestay experiences in their elevated stilt houses by the lake.
Phong Nha-Ke bang
1 hour from Dong Hoi
The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the dreamland of every adventurer, filled with running rivers, lively jungles and mammoth caves. This UNESCO-recognized national park is home to the world’s largest caves nestled among jungle-covered karst landscapes. Depending on your interest, the Phong Nha-Ke bang caves can be experienced on everything from half-day trips to more intensive 4-day expeditions. Above these underground world of caves, you will have ample opportunity to experience the national park by kayaking, cycling or hiking. The nearby town of Phong Nha is a beautiful base to return to at the end of the day.
National park Cuc Phuong
2 hours from Hanoi or 1 hour from Ninh Binh
Cuc Phuong is Vietnam’s oldest national park, inaugurated by Ho Chi Minh itself. The National Park is home to a densely populated forest of thousands of ancient trees, prehistoric caves, botanical gardens, and two wildlife sanctuaries worth exploring, incl. a turtle conservation center that runs both rescue, observation and breeding programs.
Spend your time in Cuc Phuong National Park walking, kayaking, bird watching or order a stay in the stilt houses of the hospitable Muong people.
National park Pu Luong
Pu Luong National Park is a microcosmos of North Vietnam, combining Sapa’s mountains, the rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai, and the cultural treasures of Mai Chau. Scenic roads across the valley while soaring mountain passes provide panoramic views of the countryside. Long walks will take you to remote ethnic mountain villages. If you want to cool down, the oppotunities are vast as you will find numerous waterfalls and natural rock pools. The villages of Ban Hieu, Ban Don and Kho Muong are special highlights – and you can with great advantage visit of one of them.
Another excellent opportunity to experience the scenic Pu Luong National Park is to participate in our own trail race, Vietnam Jungle Marathon, organized by our own team in Vietnam which is part of the Vietnam trail series.
National park Cat Tien
3 – 4 hours from Ho Chi Minh City & Dalat
A goldmine of activities awaits you in the Cat Tien National Park. Here you can easily spend one week or more without getting bored. Cat Tien is a great option for those who prefer steaming jungle trails. Multi-day trips will take you deep into the park with the opportunity to spot local wildlife, including bears, crocodiles, snakes, bats and tropical birds. Don’t miss the chance to go on a night safari and experience extraordinary insects and colourful reptiles. It is also possible to experience the national park by bike or motorcycle on a network of roads that cross through the park or you can go on a kayak / boat trip.
National park Bach Ma
Less than 2 hours from Danang, Hoi An and Hue
The rarely visited National Park, Bach Ma, is halfway between the imperial city of Hue and the UNESCO city of Hoi An. There has been very little development in the park since the early 20th century, and the area is one of the few in Vietnam that still houses a collection of French colonial villas, now transformed into charming guesthouses. In the Bach Ma park there are enough paths to keep you wandering for a few days. Some of them lead you through natural rock pools and waterfalls. If you are an early riser, you can enjoy a spectacular sunrise from a cliff top in the national park.