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Get a taste of nature in northern national parks

National parks with abundant greenery and diverse flora and fauna act as lungs for many regions and provide a paradise for nature lovers.

Let’s explore some beautiful national parks in northern Vietnam.

Tam Dao National Park

Location: The park is located at the end of Tam Dao Mountain Range, covering nearly 35,000ha (over 26,000 of which is forest) in three provinces of Vinh Phuc, Thai Nguyen and Tuyen Quang, which is 75km to the north of capital Hanoi (around 2- hour drive).

The park includes over 20 mountain peaks of at least 1,000m above sea level each. The highest one is Mt Tam Dao Nord, 1,597m in height.

Flying squirrels are common in Tam Dao National Park. — Photo

How to get there:

By motorbike: From Hanoi, you depart in the direction of Thang Long – Noi Bai, to Phuc Yen, and travel towards Vinh Yen.

By bus: Take bus No 58 to Me Linh Plaza, change to Bus No 1 to Vinh Phuc. Take bus No 7 to Tay Thien and ask the driver to stop at Tam Dao National Park. From there, you can take a motorbike taxi to the park.

You can also choose Nhat Nam or Tien Thinh buses at a price of some VND150,000/pax.

Accommodation: You can camp in the park or rent a room in Tam Dao Town. In the first case, remember to prepare sufficient equipment and register with the forest rangers. You can also register for a camping tour there.

Other notes:

The ideal time for visiting the park is in spring and summer.

Popular destinations include Television tower, Bac (Silver) Waterfalls, Ba Chua Thuong Ngan (Mountain Goddess) Temple, and the pine forest.

Trekking routes here are fairly primitive with no path in many sections, which are covered by dense forest. So it’s better to trek in a group or with a guide. You can join trekking tours of the park at a price of VND500,000-800,000.

Ba Vi National Park

Location: The park is located some 60km to the west of Hanoi and is a familiar picnic site for Hanoians.

How to get there:

By bike: Go straight on Thang Long National Highway up to Hoa Lac Overpass, keep straight on Yen Bai Road, passing the Vietnam National Village of Culture and Tourism on the right. When you go to the end of Yen Bai Road, turn left and keep going straight for 20km. The park will be on your left.

Ba Vi National Park is a popular weekend destination for young people. — Photo

By bus:

There are no direct bus from Hanoi to Ba Vi National Park. You can take Bus No 214 from Yen Nghia Bus Terminal to Xuan Khanh or Bus No 71 or 74 from My Dinh Bus Terminal to Xuan Khanh, which is 5km from the park. Then, you can take a motorbike taxi or car to the park.


You can camp during the daytime in a clear site near the old church in the park. If you want to camp or stay at hotels overnight, you should camp at Tien Sa Lake, rent a room at Ba Vi Resort or a private pine forest near the Cactus Garden.

Other notes:

You should come here between April and October, when the scenery is beautiful with a fresh atmosphere. But in November can you see wild sunflowers in the mountains.

From the gate of the park, you can reach sightseeing spots by bike, car or on foot.

From section 400m up, buses of over 30 seats are prohibited.

If you want to trek up, you can park bikes or cars at the parking lots, which costs VND3,000/bike and VND20,000-25,000/car.

You can visit the Cactus Garden, old church ruins, Thuong Temple and President Ho Chi Minh Temple.

The park hosts over 1,000 species of plants and trees, 200 of which are valuable medicinal plants and wood trees. The park is home to 45 species of mammals, 115 species of birds, 61 kinds of reptiles, and 27 kinds of frogs, many of which are listed in the Red Book of Vietnam.

The park is situated in high mountain ranges running in a northeastern – southwestern direction, which include Mt Tan Vien, 1,296m above sea level, and Mt Ngoc Hoa, 1,131m.

There are easy routes lasting for some two hours from an altitude of 1,100m down to 400m, where participants can trek on various distances of 5km, 10km, 20km and more.

Viettrekking company offers a 1-day tour that starts in Trung Temple at an altitude of 350m and enters the forest from the temple after visiting magnificent Buddha statues. The trekkers will stop for lunch at noon and finish their route at around 4pm at an altitude of 1,100m.

Cat Ba National Park


Situated in Tran Chau Commune, Cat Hai District, the park is some 60km from Hai Phong City and some 15km from Cat Ba Town. The park has always drawn tourists as it is among the best in Vietnam with rich fauna and flora.

From Mt Ngu Lam, people can have an aerial view of the park. — Photo

How to get there:

From Hanoi, you can ride a bike or take a bus to Hai Phong City.

By bus: Take the bus from Gia Lam Bus Terminal or Yen Nghia Bus Terminal to Hai Phong at a cost of some VND100,000-120,000/ticket.

By bike: Drive 120km on National Highway 5B to Hai Phong.

From Hai Phong to Cat Ba: You can take a ferry from Dinh Vu Wharf or a highspeed boat to Binh Wharf.

From Cat Ba Town to Cat Ba National Park: You can go by bike or car for 15km; or take a taxi at a cost of some VND200,000/one-way trip.


To have more time to explore the park, most visitors choose to stay overnight in Cat Ba Town and return to the park the next day as the distance is fairly short and the service in the town is better. Yet you can stay overnight right inside the park; either by renting a room there or registering for a camping service.

Other notes:

The best time to visit the park is between April and October.

Popular routes:

4-8 hour trekking route: include mountain climbing, trekking: Fro Pond - Viet Hai, May Bau – Military Cave, Kim Giao – Me Con – Tung Di.

2-3 hour route (for motorbike, bicycle, car and trekking): Kim Giao forest, Mt Ngu Lam, Trung Trang Motto – Uy Ban Cave.

The park possesses spectacular routes of medium level for trekkers. It is also home to most of white-headed langurs existing in the world. 

Military Cave on Cat Ba trekking route, which is a natural karst cave used as a military medical station of Vietnamese armed forces during the anti-American war. — Photo

Source: Vietnam News



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