Vietnam has been blessed with an abundance of gorgeous and unique natural areas. Thankfully, the people of Vietnam understand how special their country is and have been working hard for decades to protect its most sacred treasures.
It all started in the 1980s when Vietnam declared seven National Parks, 53 protected Nature Reserves and 31 cultural, historical, and environmental areas throughout the country. Today, that number is still growing and has catapulted Vietnam to the top of many traveler’s “must-see countries” list.
1. Ba Vi National Park
It’s hard to believe that such a naturally beautiful place lies just 1 hour and 15 minutes from the hectic city of Hanoi. Both locals and tourists agree that the Ba Vi National Park serves as a welcomed escape from the heat and hustle of the city. This park is unique due to its significant history as well as its natural beauty. Some of the parks best features are its waterfalls, tucked away in the dense, damp emerald jungle.
Here you can hike among the ruins of a resort and an old church that were used during the time of French colonization. There’s also a lengthy climb to the top of the Mountain God Temple which makes for an interesting hike and nice photo opportunities.
Just outside the park’s entrance are some of the biggest attractions – the huge man-made water park set in pure nature and some of the most breathtaking waterfalls. The Thien Son Falls demands travelers spend a day relaxing in the cool pools created by the cascading water. Last but not least, visitors must make time to visit the 100-meter high Cong Troi Waterfall which is beyond impressive.
2. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Protected as both a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Phong Nha-Ke Bang is the most unspoiled natural setting in the country. It lies 200 kilometers north of Hue and 500 kilometers south of Hanoi.
It houses one of the world’s two biggest karsts systems and Vietnam’s national treasure and biggest claim to fame – the extensive cave systems and grottos, of which there are over 300. Another amazing aspect of the park are the underground rivers that crisscross the park’s 126,000-plus hectares.
Within Phong Nha-Key Bang’s borders is the largest cave in the world, Hang Son Doong, with a 5-kilometer long cavern that can be explored via guided tour. There are many other caves in the park including Dave Cave, the tour of which includes ziplining over the forest and swimming into the cave’s mouth! Paradise Cave is also easy to explore and boasts impressive stalagmites and stalactites.
Although the caves are the main attraction, there are plenty of other enjoyable outdoor activities. Visitors can visit the Thac Gio Waterfall, motorbike or mountain bike through the Bong Lai Valley or visit the botanical gardens.
3. Cat Ba National Park
Situated in the middle of Vietnam’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage site, Cat Ba is perfect to explore as part of a Halong Bay tour or an individual tour booked from Cat Ba Town. The National Park encompasses a few of the majestic limestone karsts that have made Halong Bay famous in addition to quite a bit of Cat Ba Island.
The national park’s landscape coated in lush greenery is truly mesmerizing. The hiking trails range from easy to difficult and offer visitors of all fitness levels the opportunity to explore the dense rainforest. There’s an 18-kilometer hike that’s quite strenuous but yields amazing views from the mountain summit overlooking the island and Halong Bay.
The park is also considered to have one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the country. It’s home to varying wildlife, including some rare and endangered species.
4. Cat Tien National Park
Those who are traveling in the south of Vietnam and are in desperate need of a break from the insanity of Ho Chi Minh can find refuge in Cat Tien National Park. Located roughly 160 kilometers northeast of HCM, this park is unique for many reasons. The first and biggest is the Dao Tien Endangered Primate Species Reserve which houses, protects, rehabilitates, and finally releases endangered species like the golden-cheeked gibbons.
Crocodile Lake and its 200 residents are another reason travelers flock to this park. The lake is located in the middle of the park and can be reached by motorbike and then a 5 kilometers swamp trek. Night trekking offers the best chance to spot the crocs – if you dare!
5. Phu Quoc National Park
Situated in the Mekong Delta Region, Phu Quoc Island and the National Park sits very close to Cambodia off of Vietnam’s southwest coast. It was declared a protected area in 2001 due to the abundance of forest and marine resources surrounding it. At over 31,000 hectares, Phu Quoc National Park houses 206 animal species, 1,164 plants species, and many ecosystems.
Visitors can experience the park by trekking, hiking, or self-guided motorbike tour. There are wildlife safaris to take off on, ancient trees to marvel, and plenty of trails (both walking and biking) to explore. The four-hour Mount Heaven trek is especially challenging, but worth the effort once the summit is reached. During the trek, hikers will pass through a dense forest and finish with a 10-meter tall bamboo ladder!
Can’t get enough of the pristine flora and fauna, breathtaking landscape, sparkling ocean views, rugged shorelines, and painted sunsets? Stay the night in a camp site and continue soaking up all the serenity the next day!
These are five of what we consider the best and most worthwhile National Parks in Vietnam. Visit for yourself and let us know what you think!