In the two previous articles of “Top Destinations in Vietnam”, I have covered the best beaches and historical and cultural cities. And this third series will be for those nature lovers seeking to explore Vietnamese nature and wildlife. There are many national parks, mountainous highlands and even the world’s biggest cave in Vietnam allowing visitors to take extraordinary adventures that they’ll remember for the rest of the lives.
This article features lists of top nature and wildlife destinations under two different categories – Highlands and National Parks.
Ha Giang is my favourite destination in north of Vietnam because of magnificent sceneries and adventurous journey on motorbike through the mountains. It is yet undiscovered and untouched compared to other highlands or top tourist cities in the country and the breathtaking nature of the mountain range is simply astonishing. It is a perfect place for motorbike drivers who enjoy adrenaline rushing moments on rough roads. I have written two articles about my trips to Ha Giang in details (part 1 & part 2), so you can read them for more information.
Sapa is one of the top three most popular and well-known destinations in northern Vietnam – along with Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. The cool weather thanks to highland climate in Sapa has been a famous getaway destination from the summer heat in cities. From terraced rice fields, mountain trekking to local ethnic villages are some of the top attractions for both domestic and international visitors. Beware though, there has been some negative feedback about overdevelopment of Sapa, which is disappointing many who know the original and unspoiled Sapa. I’m only hoping that it’ll be settled down in the near future.
Da Lat is in central highlands in southern Vietnam and was a holiday resort town for French colonists for the same reason being the region’s spring-like weather all-year-round. Its nickname is “city of eternal spring” and it is a great break for people residing in the south because it is hot throughout the year. Da Lat is notorious for the French and Swiss style cottage houses but there are great waterfalls and viewpoints such as Lang Biang to visit.
Phong Nha Ke Bang
Phong Nha Ke Bang is home for ancient and gigantic caves as well as the world’s biggest cave. If you’re in to cave expedition, this place is capable of catering all age groups and adventure levels – from fun to serious, mud to swimming and much more. There’s also a beautiful water spring called Mooc Spring and Botanic Garden with a diversity of flora and wildlife species. Check out this article about all the things you can do and visit in Phong Nha.
Catba island is an island located in Lan Ha Bay, which is adjacent to the famous Ha Long Bay. As Ha Long Bay is packed with constant influx of tourists, Lan Ha Bay has been on the rise for those looking for more tranquil cruise in the bay. Because Cat Ba island has a port for cruises, many companies offer packages including an overnight at the island. But the island is worth a longer visit because of its decent beaches and Cat Ba National Park, which is a great place for hiking and exploring wildlife.
Ba Be National Park
Ba Be National Park can be a heavenly destination for people who have great interest in wildlife because there’s abundance of fauna and flora and rich biodiversity in the park. There are also stunning caves, waterfalls, lakes and limestone mountains. Ba Be Lake is just beautiful and you can kayak on the crystal clear lake enjoying the refreshing waterfalls.
Son Doong Cave
The largest cave in the world is Son Doong Cave, located in Phong Nha Ke Bang. It has only been recently discovered and there’s only one company that is licensed to lead tour groups into this cave. The Oxalis Adventure Tours has a 4-day and 3-night Son Doong expedition programme. Due to the severity of the physical activities involved in the tour, there are requirements to apply for the tour. For those strong and committed adventurers, it will most likely be one of the greatest experiences in life.