Vietnam is a surprising country that offers a unique contrast between the hustle and bustle of big cities and the soothing of nature. Immerse yourself in the heart of the country’s biodiversity through rice fields, forests and lakes.
Pu Luong Nature Reserve in Vietnam
Pu Luong is one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Vietnam. It is isolated, yet only 4 hours’ drive from Hanoi and looks like a real piece of paradise. The park is impressive for its diversity of landscapes between mountains, rice fields and forests, everyone will be delighted! Pu Luong is generally not part of the classic tourist tours, which allows it to preserve its authenticity. Much less known than Sapa, Pu Luong is the perfect place to enjoy Vietnam’s nature while avoiding the hustle and bustle of tourism.
Trekking and hiking enthusiasts will never want to leave this place again. Indeed, the region offers a multitude of tours adapted to everyone. For example, you can do a 5-day trek between Pu Luong and Ngoc Son Ngo Luong. This crossing is an opportunity to understand what is really behind these magnificent landscapes, while meeting the local populations.
If you stay less time in Pu Luong, we advise you to rent a scooter or a bike. This will allow you to get lost in the middle of the rice fields in the most isolated areas of the reserve.
Ba Be National Park
Ba Be National Park is located in northwestern Vietnam on just over 10,000 hectares. Ba Be has more than 1000 species of animals and plants to offer a unique biodiversity to its visitors. Ba Be is known for its 650 hectare lake, which reigns over the entire park, with three small lakes: Pe Lam, Pe Lu and Pe Leng. This combination of lakes, forests and mountains gives an undeniable charm to Ba Be Park.
Apart from the magnificent landscapes, it is also the authenticity that characterizes this place. The park is mainly inhabited by 3 ethnic groups: the Hmong, the Dao and the Thay. These populations live in the traditional villages of the parks where traditions are passed down from generation to generation. Traditional houses stand the test of time and the inhabitants are very attached to them.
As you may have understood, there is no shortage of activities at Ba Be Park. The region is located in the heart of the Pia Booc mountain range, so treks are very popular in the Park. The crossing of Ba Be by kayak is ideal to find yourself alone in the middle of the lake. In order to discover life in the park, we advise you to choose a bike ride through the villages. This will allow you to take the time to observe the landscape and meet local people.
Discover Vietnam’s nature in Ha Giang
Ha Giang tends to be increasingly known by travellers to Vietnam. This is rightly so since the province offers magnificent mountainous landscapes. Ha Giang is known for its loop, which is very popular with motorcycle trip enthusiasts. This loop allows you to enjoy magnificent rice fields, discover villages typical of the mountain and even swim in the river!
The loop passes through the Dong Van Plateau, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a world geological park since 2010. You can have a breath-taking view of the valley from the Lung Cu flag tower or get lost inside the Dong Va market.
We also advise you to meet local populations such as in Yen Minh and Pho Bang around Ha Giang. These small villages at high altitudes are changing from the usual villages in Vietnam.
Bach Ma, a natural setting in the centre of Vietnam
This former French climate station is one of Vietnam’s most famous national parks. This is an essential part of a trip to central Vietnam as the park is located between Hué and Da Nang. Bach Ma is 220 km² of dense and wild nature. The park is surrounded by high mountains which allows you to have exceptional views over the entire park. The place is one of the wettest in Vietnam which gives it the appearance of a real jungle! Bach Ma also has an impressive biodiversity. The multitudes of habitats allow a great diversity of plants and animals.
Treks are the main activity of Bach Ma National Park. Several itineraries are available with guides on site. Our favorite is the trek along the 5 Bach Ma lakes. These small natural wells with their unique charm were formed along a waterfall. This will be an opportunity to refresh yourself with a swim after a hard hike in the park.
Cat Ba, Vietnam’s nature in the heart of Along Bay
It was impossible for us to do an article on nature in Vietnam without mentioning Along Bay. Cat Ba is the largest island in the bay and we advise you to stop there when visiting Halong region. The island extends over 354 km², 280 km² of which is reserved for its national park.
You’ll have something to do on the island! Cat Ba is the starting point for cruises in Lan Ha Bay, which is generally less touristy than Halong Bay. This bay has the advantage of hosting several fishing villages where many houses on stilts are installed. It is always surprising to discover a unique way of life along the water. Most cruises offer kayak trips for a few hours to reach even more privileged places.
Hikes in the national park are also not to be missed. There are several trails of different lengths adapted to everyone. During these walks, you may have the chance to meet a language. This species of monkey is becoming increasingly rare but it is conserved within the island of Cat Ba. Other activities such as bike rides or even climbing are a delight for travellers.
Y Ty, a reflection of Vietnam’s nature
The small town of Y Ty borders the Chinese border and offers a unique mountain panorama. What could be better than waking up with a magnificent view of the valley? Despite its isolation, the city is accessible from Sapa by 70 kilometres of road. The city has only been open to travellers for a few years and is therefore still protected from mass tourism.
If you want rice terraces, you will be served! The city is perched at an altitude of 2000 metres, which allows you to enjoy a privileged view of the rice fields. At times, it is also possible to find yourself above the clouds for an impressive show.
A visit to Y Ty will be an opportunity to meet the Hmong ethnic group. This ethnic group lives in the mountains of northern Vietnam and represents a population of nearly 800,000 people. This population lives off agriculture through the exploitation of maize and rice. At the Y Ty market, you can see the Hmong sell their crops.
This city is often visited by travellers who make a loop by motorcycle from Lao Cai or Sapa. This loop crosses the cities of Den Sang, Y Ty, A Lu or Ban Vuoc.
Cat Tien National Park
To conclude this article, here is one last national park that is really worth a visit! Cat Tien Park covers 74,000 hectares between Ho Chi Minh and Dalat. The dense tropical forest in the park will allow you to immerse yourself in a real jungle. Here again, the flora is exceptional, especially with the crocodile lake, where more than 200 reptiles can be observed. By looking up, you will also have the opportunity to observe gibbons, an endangered monkey species that is preserved by the park. The diversity of species in the park has enabled the park to be recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve.
Bamboos are also present in the park, while they are becoming increasingly rare in Asia. However, they are essential for the preservation of certain species.