If the bustle of Ho Chi Minh City life is making you want to head for the hills, look no further than these lush green retreats.
Cuc Phuong national park
Located in Ninh Bình Province, in Vietnam’s Red River Delta, Cuc Phuong was the first national park to be created in Vietnam in 1960 and is today with its 25 000 Hectares, the country’s largest nature reserve for flora and fauna. It welcome 97 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 36 reptilian species, 17 species of amphibians, 11 species of fish, 2,000 species of vascular plants, and thousands of species of insects. The park consists of verdant karst mountains and lush valleys. Elevation varies from 150 meters (500 feet) to 656 m (2,152 feet) at the summit of May Bac Mountain, or Silver Cloud Mountain. The limestone mountains house numerous caves, accessible for exploration.
Ba Be National park
Ba Be Lake or Ba Be National Park is located in Bac Can Province, 240 km from Hanoi and covers more than 23,000 hectares boasting waterfalls, rivers, deep valleys, lakes, and caves. The area is home to many ethnic minority communities and owns a very rich ecosystem of nearly 1,300 species of flora, including many rare plants and 182 species of orchids.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang, National park
Phong Nha–Kẻ Bàng National Park is situated in a limestone zone of 2,000 km2 in Vietnamese territory and borders another limestone zone of 2,000 km2 of Hin Namno in Laotian territory. The park was created to protect one of the world’s two largest karst regions with 300 caves and also to protect the ecosystem of limestone forest of the Annamite Range region in North Central Coast of Vietnam. One of the grotto, The Sơn Đoòng Cave, which was discovered in the 2009 survey by British and Vietnamese explorers, is considered the largest cave in the world. The park welcome many primates like black monkeys, five colored langurs and white cheek black gibbon and covers a total area of 857.54 km2 divided into three zones, a “strictly protected zone” (648.94 km2), an “ecological recovery zone” (174.49 km2), and an “administrative service zone” (34.11 km2).
Bach Ma National park
Bach Ma National Park was established on 15th July 1991 at the end part of Truong Son mountain range stretching from the border of Vietnam. With a impressive natural scenery and a diverse flora and fauna, the park is an appealing eco-tourism site preserving many rare animals and an extremely diverse flora and homing 1,406 species of plants, with over 300 species of precious medicinal plants, 931 species including 83 species of mammals and a large number of rare species, 333 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles, 21 species of amphibians, 39 species of fish, 218 species of butterflies and 178 beetle species. Close to the park at an altitude of 1000 – 1444 m above the sea level, the French built in 1932, a large resort, today restored, homing 139 villas, markets, banks, post offices, swimming pools, tennis courts and a 19 Km road connecting National Highway 1A to the center area of Bach Ma.
Yok Don National park
Yok Don National park located in Krông Na commune was established in 1991 to protect 582 km² of a biological area of khộp lowland forest. The total area is 1,155.45 km² plus a buffer zone of 1,138.9 km2. It borders Mondulkiri Protected Forest (Cambodia) to the west and is part of maybe the largest protected area complex in southeast Asia. The vegetation at Yok Don National Park is dominated by a mosaic of deciduous forest and semi-evergreen forest, with smaller areas of evergreen forest, particularly on hills and along watercourses. This park is an important site for the conservation of globally endangered species such as Indochinese tiger, Indochinese leopard, Indian elephant, and gaur.
Cát Tiên National Park
Located in the south of Vietnam, approximately 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City, the park has an area of about 720 km2 and protects one of the largest areas of lowland tropical forests left in Vietnam. Initially integrating 2 sectors in 1978, the park opened the third sector in 1992 welcoming the Vietnamese Javan rhinoceros. The three areas were combined to form one park in 1998. The Cát Tiên archaeological site is located just outside the park boundary on the northern bank of the Dong Nai. Excavations carried out between 1994 and 2003 revealed a group of temples, belonging to a previously unknown Hindu civilization which probably inhabited the area between the 4th century and 9th centuries AD.
The Tra Su forest
Just 30 km southwest of Chau Doc in south vietnam, lies the 850-hectare the Tra Su Forest, with an ecosystem of cajuput trees lining dusty dirt paths and a flooded mangrove forest that is a stunning backdrop for the paradisaic park’s plants and animals. Home to 140 types of flora, 70 species of birds, 11 types of animals, 25 species of reptiles, and 23 kinds of fishes, the forest is made for the nature lovers. The best way to discover the area is to take a day trip for the flooded forest from July to December when water covers the entire cajuput forest in Van Giao Commune, Tinh Bien District, enabling boat rides around it.
Gao Giong Eco Tourism site
Gao Giong Eco-tourism Site established in 2003 is located in the area of cajuput forest in the Delta covering a total area of 1700 hectares with 1,200ha of cajuput forest, homing more than 100 species of birds. Last year, more than 100,000 Asian openbill storks have nested there. Gao Giong Eco-tourism Site is divided into four sections with over seventy kilometers of canals and twenty kilometers of dyke. For many years, the Gao Giong Eco-tourism Site has been known as the biggest lake of freshwater fish in Dong Thap Muoi area
Xeo Quyt Cajuput Forest
Despites of not being very large, Xeo Quyt cajuput forest (also called Rung Tram) is a magnificent 52-hectare near My Hiep village, and one of the last natural forests left in the Mekong Delta. This field of 52ha, contains 20ha of 30 years old cajuputs. From 1960 to 1975, during the war against America, the place was an army basements. Today it still hide the remains of Viet Cong bunkers.
Tan Lap Cajuput Forest
Located in Long An Province, 100 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh City, Tan Lap also called the floating village, is a natural cajuput forest, a wide land stretching to thousands of hectares alongside Vam Co Tay River. The highlight of nature here is the vast cajuput forests along with lotus fields, water lily ponds, and rice fields. The place is home to hundreds of birds, fishes and amphibian species, which contributes to form the diverse ecosystem in Mekong Delta.