Vietnam is famous for its fast paced cities, scooters tooting, neon skylines, historic citadels and temples, lantern lit streets and incredible cuisine. This is one side of Vietnam that everyone should most certainly explore, but what about the unseen Vietnam? With so much natural beauty; from the peaceful rice paddies to the quiet caves and towering karst mountains, it’s well worth a visit to Vietnam’s breathtakingly beautiful National Parks.
Our very own Team Leader, Phoenix, recently travelled to Vietnam and has returned with many stories to share. Have a read of her Top 4 National Parks to visit in Vietnam and get inspired for your own adventure!
1. Hoa Binh Province
Begin your journey off the beaten path from Hanoi to head out to the hilltribes of the Thai people in Mai Hich – only four hours drive through the lush green landscapes with plenty of stops to snap the views from the hillside as you wind your way to your home for the night. You’ll be greeted with refreshing tea by your hosts and treated to an enormous homemade lunch before strolling the village on foot to watch the farmers in their fields. Water buffalo nibble the grasses in the rice fields as the farmers gather baskets of crops throughout the fertile pastures. During my stay the neighbouring house were doing traditional bamboo dancing and our host noticed my interest and promptly took my hand and took me over to the house so that I could join in!
You’ll awake to the sound of roosters crowing and warm baguettes before a gentle morning cycle through the countryside. All too soon it’s time to say farewell to Mai Hich and head to Ninh Binh.
2. Cuc Phuong National Park
In the National Park of Ninh Binh you’ll peak through hanging vines to see birds settling on the limestone rock formations that shoot up in and around the lake. As you sail by Sampan you’ll see life along the river, from the vibrant pink water lilies, to the mothers with their ducklings, and fisherman looking for their daily catch. Climb the steps of the famous Bich Dong pagoda, built into the caves that are so distinctive of the area.
3. Phong Nha National Park
It’s impossible to describe the beauty and majesty of Phong Nha National Park. Sailing by Sampan through the towering ancient karst mountains, exploring mysterious caves – the landscape is so wild you can easily imagine a pterodactyl swooping overhead!
After sailing the Son River marvelling at the incredible rock formations of the vast caves you’ll head to our boutique farmstay. The huge vegetable garden supplies the kitchen, so the veggies on your table couldn’t be fresher!
4. Cat Tien National Park
Just over three hours out of Saigon you’ll find Cat Tien National Park – where nearly 2,000 wild Gibbons can be found swinging amongst the trees. In order to spot these incredible creatures you’ll be waking up before dawn, so pack a torch and a quick snack before you head off! You can hire leech socks for small fee from the National Park office. It’s best to trek for Gibbons during the dry months when the foliage is less dense to have the best chance of finding a troop. Hearing their distinctive song echo amongst the trees is an unforgettable experience!
After a simple breakfast you’ll head to Dao Tien Sanctuary where you’ll learn all about the process of rehabilitating sick, injured or previously captive Gibbons back into the wild. They also take care of Pygmy Slow Loris, Lazur & Douc Monkeys. Whilst it very sad to see the negative impact that humans have had on these amazing creatures, it’s a huge positive to see the wonderful work in rehabilitating them and the effort that is being made on educating current and future generations on how to protect these animals.