Due to its geographical location, Vietnam is very diverse in topography and climate, which is a very favourable basis for the development of ecosystems both in terms of composition and number of species. Since then, many national parks in Vietnam have been built by the Government to protect, maintain and develop that unique natural landscape, flora, and fauna.
Cuc Phuong National Park
As the first national park of Vietnam, Cuc Phuong was established on 7th July 1962, with a total area of 22,200 hectares, belonging to the territory of three provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa. This nature reserve is also a major tourist center of Vietnam, has been honored by the World Travel Awards as Asia’s leading national park for two consecutive years 2019–2020.
With a complex terrain and unique landscape, this park is famous for the diverse flora and fauna typical of tropical rainforests, housing many endangered species. This is one of the few Vietnamese national parks containing relics of prehistoric people, with many caves with historical vestiges such as Crescent Moon Cave, Chua Cave, and Nguoi Xua Cave.
You also should not miss the Cuc Phuong Museum, Muong Village, Yen Quang Lake, and especially the May Bac Peak, where you can admire the immense nature of the mountains. Travelling to Vietnam, you can visit Cuc Phuong at any time of year due to the average annual temperature of about 24.7°C, allowing you to experience various forms of tourism such as ecotourism, environmental tourism, or exploratory activities, etc.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, established on 12th December 2001, in a limestone area of about 201,000 hectares, with a core area of 85,754ha, now belongs to Bo Trach and Minh Hoa Districts, Quang Binh Province. This is the only national park in Vietnam that was recognised by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage twice in 2003 and 2015, according to geology, geomorphology criteria, and biodiversity, ecological criteria respectively.
The climate in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is cool all year round with an average temperature of 20°C–24°C, home to hundreds of species of rare animals and plants like many other Vietnamese national parks. Coming here, you can visit unique underground rivers, streams, and waterfalls such as Gio Waterfall, Tra Ang Stream, and unique cave systems with more than 300 caves. In particular, besides the cave systems of Phong Nha and Vom, the two most famous and beautiful caves here are Tien Son Cave and Thien Duong Cave, where there are magical scenes made of stalactites and stalagmites. Phong Nha national park also possesses Son Doong Cave here – the largest cave in the world, a favourite place of many explorers and researchers.
Ba Be National Park
Known as a famous special-use forest, combined with eco-tourism in Ba Be District, Bac Kan Province, Ba Be National Park was established on November 10, 1992. The park covers an area of 5 communes Nam Mau, Khang Ninh, Quang Khe, Cao Thuong, and Cao Tri, with a total area of 44,750 ha, of which the core zone is 10,048ha. Ba Be National Park was recognised as a national historical and cultural heritage in 1986 and natural heritage of ASEAN in 2004.
Ba Be is one of the Vietnamese national parks with high coverage and percentage of primary forest in the system of special-use forests and limestone areas in the world. This national park has high diversity, gathering more than 1200 species of plants and many species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, including globally threatened species. Ba Be National Park possesses a unique hydrological system of various lakes, rivers and streams, especially Ba Be Lake – the only large natural tectonic lake on the mountain in Vietnam. Coming here, you can also visit various beautiful caves that house many species of bats and birds, and the ancient Pac Ngoi village, where the Tay people live.
Ba Vi National Park
Established on 16th January 1991, Ba Vi National Park is located in three districts of Hanoi City (Ba Vi, Thach That, and Quoc Oai) and 2 districts of Hoa Binh Province (Ky Son and Luong Son). Within the total area of about 9,704 hectares of the park is a massif with three peaks, including King peak, Tan Vien peak, and Ngoc Hoa peak, all over 1,100m high.
Ba Vi is also famous for its diverse ecosystem with more than 2,600 species of plants, 65 species of mammals, and many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Coming to this Vietnam national park, especially between April and October, you can visit interesting places such as Ba Vi ancient church, Ao Vua tourist area, a revolutionary historical relic, and so on. On top of Tan Vien peak is the Thuong Temple worshiping Saint Tan Vien – one of the four immortals of Vietnam, ranked as a national historical and cultural relic in February 2008.
Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park is located on Cat Ba Island, Tran Chau Town, Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City, with a total natural area of up to 17,360ha. As one of the largest Vietnamese national parks, Cat Ba was established on 31st 1986, and recognised by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve of the world in 2004.
At every time of the year in this national park, there will be a different beauty, an ideal location for the development and storage of many different ecosystems such as marine, terrestrial forest, and submerged forests. In particular, this place is home to more than 282 species of plants and nearly 800 species of animals living in the forest, under the sea, with many rare and precious plant and animal species listed in the Red Book.
National parks in Vietnam are considered biosphere reserves of world importance, protecting and developing rare plant and animal species. When coming here to visit and explore, you should remember to maintain hygiene, prepare a full range of sunscreen and anti-mosquito drugs, to have the most enjoyable trip.
Helen Baumeister did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.