travel National Parks of Vietnam

Vietnam

Administrator
Jun 28, 2020
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Vietnam currently has 13 national parks and an expanding array of nature reserves. Nine of the parks (Ba Be, Ba Vi, Bach Ma, Ben En, Cat Ba, Cat Tien, Cue Phuong, Tam Dao and Yok Don) are administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Develop¬ment (MARD) and Forest Protection De¬partment (FPD). Four others (Con Dao, Tram Chim, Phu Quoc and Bai Tu Long) are under local-government management. There are plans to expand and improve existing parks and nature reserves, and also to establish new ones.

Most of Vietnam’s national parks are seldom visited, as travellers tend to get stuck on the ‘must-see’ tourist trail, without the time or wanderlust to explore them. Access can be problematic with some parks hidden in remote areas, but others are easy to reach. For those who make the effort to seek them out, national parks reveal a whole other side of Vietnam. They also have the added appeal of being among the few places in Vietnam where tourists are unlikely to be hassled to buy anything.

The most interesting and accessible parks are Cat Ba. Ba Be and Cue Phuong in the North; Bach Ma in the centre; and Cat Tien and Yok Don in the South (see the National Park Highlights table later for more details).

Cat Ba National Park is a beautiful island and during the summer months, it attracts a steady stream of foreign travellers willing to make the boat journey. In 2000, Vietnam also created the Bai Tu Long National Park, a protected reserve situated to the east of Halong Bay, which includes over 15,000 hectares of tropical evergreen forest. Ba Be National Park features spectacular waterfalls and is accessible by rented jeep or motorbike from Hanoi. Cue Phuong National Park is less visited, but easily reached from Hanoi and offers great hiking. Bach Ma National Park near Hue is also seldom visited but is demonstrating the good potential for responsible eco-tourism. Cat Tien National Park, in the southern part of the central highlands, is relatively easy to reach from HCMC or Dalat. Cat Tien is very popular with birdwatchers. Also in the central highlands is Yok Don National Park, which is home to many elephants and local minority tribes.

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