National parks are ideal places for nature lovers. Below is a list of the most beautiful parks in Vietnam compiled by news website VnExpress.
1. Ba Vi National Park (Hanoi)
Located 60 km west of Hanoi, the park covers an area of 10,814 ha and is situated in the Ba Vi mountain range. The park has rich and diverse tropical and subtropical flora and fauna.
You can trek through the forests, discover streams and waterfalls deep in the mountains or visit a wildlife reserve in the park.
The best time to visit the Ba Vi National Park is between April and October as the weather is cool and perfect for outdoor activities. From mid-November to early December, the park attracts visitors who flock to see the blooming fields of da quy, or Mexican sunflowers.
An abandoned French-built cathedral inside Ba Vi National Park. Photo: Huong Chi/VnExpress
2. Cuc Phuong National Park (Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa provinces)
Located in Vietnam's Red River Delta, Cuc Phuong was Vietnam's first national park and is the country's largest nature reserve. The park is one of the most important sites for biodiversity in the country.
Cuc Phương is home to an amazing diversity of flora and fauna. Visitors can watch endangered animals and beautiful trees and plants while walking on paths created for hiking and inhaling the fresh air.
There are also some amazing caves in the park that are waiting for you to discover.
With the park straddling three provinces, you can also explore the cultures of some ethnic minority communities living there.
Tourists walk on a path in Cuc Phuong National Park. Photo: Luu Quang Pho
3. Cat Ba National Park (Hai Phong City)
The park is situated on Cat Ba Island in Hai Phong, and recognized as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
The park covers both land and marine areas. You can hike, trek, watch birds, swim and fish there.
A beach in Cat Ba National Park. Photo: Ky Van
4. Pu Mat National Park (Nghe An Province)
The park boasts amazing biodiversity in its wet forests. Several critically endangered species are found there, including one of the world's rarest mammals - the saola, also known as the Vu Quang ox or Asian unicorn (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis).
The jagged and forested landscape, whose highest point is the summit of Mount Pu Mat at 1,841 meters above sea level, is breathtaking.
In addition to the peaks of the Truong Son Range, the notable sceneries include the beautiful Giang River, the crystal clear Moc Spring, and the impressive Kem Falls, whose enormous volumes of water plummet 150 meters year round and cool a wide area with spray.
Bat-filled labyrinths of karst caves are another feature.
A river in Pu Mat National Park. Photo: Nhat Mai
5. Cat Tien National Park (Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc provinces)
Situated around 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City, Cat Tien is one of Vietnam's six UNESCO-recognized world biosphere reserves.
The park is a paradise for nature lovers, and easily accessible, thanks to lots of infrastructure works recently and the guidance of forest rangers.
There are various areas named after their representative species - like the Mo Vet (Parrot Peak) waterfall, Bau Ca (Fish Lake), and Bau Nai (Deer Lake), and each one is worth discovering.
One spot not to be missed is Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake), which is in the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance.
The area, which has 13,759 hectares under water, is some 14 kilometers from the visitors' rooms and almost accessible by vehicle.
Birds at Cat Tien National Park. Photo: Ohsaku Eiichirou
6. Phu Quoc National Park (Kien Giang Province)
Located on the famous Phu Quoc Island, the park includes land and sea areas, protecting oceanic species such as dugong.
You will be enchanted by the pristine forests and beautiful beaches there. The most popular activities are fishing, swimming, camping and hiking.
A stream inside Phu Quoc National Park. Photo: Nguyen Trieu/Tuoi Tre
7. Tram Chim National Park (Dong Thap Province)
As its name suggests, Tram Chim (tram means melaleuca and chim means bird) is a bird paradise. It is home to 231 species of birds, including 32 protected ones, like the famed sarus crane, cormorant, and darter.
Up to 60,000 birds, mostly waterfowl, live here in the peak rainy season from June through December, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The park entered the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance in 2012.
Apart from bird watching, the most popular activities in the park include cycling, trekking, rice harvesting, and fishing.
Sarus cranes in Tram Chim National Park. Photo: Doan Hong