Exploring Vietnam’s Most Epic Natural Wonders

brown and white pagoda on top of brown mountain during daytime – Nihn Bihn landscape in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world because it has so much to offer. Besides beautiful cities and rice paddies, the country features some of Earth’s most breathtaking natural treasures. From wildlife-rich national parks to breathtaking limestone peaks, this country is a must-visit for all nature lovers.

One of the highlights of Vietnam’s natural wonders is its national parks. These protected areas are like magical kingdoms, home to a diverse range of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. Imagine trekking through dense forests, hearing the calls of exotic birds, and spotting monkeys swinging from tree to tree. Vietnam’s national parks offer incredible opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most beautiful places in Vietnam that should be on your bucket list.

Vietnam’s National Parks and Landscapes Explored

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is probably one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist attractions. This area features several limestone mountains protruding from a calm, blue sea, making it attractive. 

Most people like visiting this area since it offers a perfect spot for outdoor activities. One of the things you’re likely to take pleasure in is kayaking through the bay’s imposing karst islands as you enjoy the up-close view of the spectacular terrain. This area also boasts challenging and scenic routes, perfect for rock climbing and hiking.

You can also take a boat tour across Ha Long Bay to enjoy the stunning scenery. Additionally, you’ll get an opportunity to visit some of its limestone islands, such as the well-known “Surprise Cave,” known for its enormous stalagmites and stalactites. A boat tour can be a day excursion or an overnight trip where you get to sleep on the boat and witness amazing sunrises and sunsets.

Besides the breathtaking landscape and exciting outdoor activities, Ha Long Bay has a rich cultural history, and it was even designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The bay and its adjacent islands feature indigenous fishing communities with a unique culture and have lived there for centuries. Visiting the region allows you to experience the cultural heritage of other communities and learn new things.

Mui Ne Sand Dunes

Mui Ne is conveniently located on Vietnam’s south-central coast. This area features huge white and red sand dunes. The “white dunes” lie on the northeastern portion of the main strip, while the “red dunes” are to the north.

Mui Ne sand dunes cover a wide area, offering an ideal hand or foot sandboarding spot. These dunes also have slopes with varying steepness for leisurely or adrenaline-pumping rides, depending on your skill level or personal preference. Try “dune bashing” on a quad bike to make things more interesting.

If you want more fun, visit the dunes late in the afternoon or early evening. This allows you to see the breathtaking colors as the sun sets over the desert environment. Remember to pack enough water and sunscreen since the dunes can get extremely hot.

Ba Be National Park

Ba Be National Park should be at the top of your list when choosing the places to visit during your trip to Vietnam. Located in the country’s mountainous northern region, it is centered around Ba Be Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the country.

Ba Be National Park boasts some of Vietnam’s most spectacular and diverse terrain, including steep limestone mountains, large valleys, and caves. This area also contains waterfalls, lakes, and green forests with a wide range of unique plants and animal species, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

The best way to enjoy the Ba Be National Park experience is by trekking or cycling through the forest. You can also go kayaking or hiking, depending on your preference.

Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park is a very old and special place in Vietnam. It is located in the northern part of the country and has many beautiful things to see. The park has big forests with tall trees and colorful plants.

You can find many different animals there, including some very rare ones like the Delacour’s langur. It is a leaf-eating monkey that is native to the forests of northern Vietnam. It is known for its striking appearance, with black fur covering most of its body and a white face. 

People who love nature can go on guided walks in the park to explore and enjoy the peacefulness of the jungle. Cuc Phuong National Park is a great place to see and learn about Vietnam’s amazing plants and animals. 

Hang Son Doong Cave

Hang Son Doong Cave, also known as Mountain River Cave, is the biggest cave in South East Asia and the entire world. It’s more than 660 ft tall, 16,400 ft long, and 500 ft wide in numerous spots.  

Hang Son Doong Cave was discovered by Ho Khanh, a hunter from a jungle settlement in the early 1990s, making it one of the latest discoveries in the region. In 2009, he led some British explorers to the cave, and they were amazed at how big it was, declaring it the largest in the world.

In 2013, the cave was opened for tourists worldwide, provided they have a valid Vietnam evisa. Since then, Hang Son Doong Cave has become a popular destination for tourists worldwide. Therefore, you have to book in advance before visiting the area.

One of the things that attracts people to this cave is the massive caverns with a unique setting, including rivers and forests. It also has unusual “doline” formations, which are enormous sinkholes created by erosion and tall stalagmites and stalactites.

Exploring the Hang Son Doong Cave is physically engaging. You’ll be required to wade through underground rivers and walk through the jungle. Therefore, you have to be physically fit. Also, you have to know how to swim. Spend at least four days in the cave so you can explore many spots.

Tam Coc

Tam Coc, also known as “Ha Long Bay on land,” s located in Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province. This place is about 62 miles from Hanoi, making it easily accessible. The best way to reach Tan Coc from Hanoi is through a shuttle or train.

This area features three caves, including Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba, formed millions of years ago due to cliff erosion. It’s part of the larger Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts tourists from around the world. Other features that make this region attractive are the stunning limestone cliffs, large valleys, and mountains covered in lush rainforest.

The best way to experience the beauty of Tam Coc is by taking a boat ride or hiking. When visiting, stop at specific points to take pictures and videos for future memories. If you visit during summer, start early in the morning since the area normally receives heavy rainfall in the afternoon, affecting your overall experience.

Mount Fansipan

Mount Fansipan, often known as “The Roof of Indochina,” is approximately 13 310 miles tall, making it the highest point in Indochina, comprising Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

If you’re an adventure-seeker, Mount Fansipan is one of the best tourist attraction sites to visit when you go to Vietnam. As you climb to the highest point, you’ll enjoy viewing breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Additionally, the walk offers a rare chance to see endangered bird species, including:

  • Plumbeous Water-Redstar
  • Black-headed Greenfinch
  • Golden Breasted Fulvetta

Mount Fansipan features rough terrain with extremely steep and slippery sections. Sometimes, during Winter, it even snows there. Therefore, you should prepare for the hike adequately by carrying the appropriate hiking gear. Also, ensure you learn about the mountain’s environment and history in advance and hire a local tour guide who knows the region well for safety reasons.

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta was formed when the massive Mekong was divided into nine rivers in southern Vietnam. This area is mainly characterized by miles of productive rice terraces and winding river canals. Additionally, it has a large mangrove forest with many bird species.

The best way to explore this region is by taking day tours to popular villages such as My Tho, Tre, and Cai Be. These villages are famous for their handicrafts, regional cuisine, and traditional music, offering a genuine experience of Vietnamese culture.

You can also leisurely boat ride along the river canals that pass through picturesque riverbank villages, floating markets, and Buddhist shrines. On lucky days, you may spot water buffalo grazing on the lush rice fields. Make a quick stop at the rice fields to observe traditional rice farming practices and expand your knowledge.

Dong Van Rock Plateau

Dong Van Rock Plateau is home to a number of geological and stratum heritages that bear witness to the evolution of the Earth’s crust over time. When you visit this area, you’ll be blown away by the untouched natural scenery.

Most areas are covered with snow-white plum blooms and bright yellow canola flowers, which normally bloom during spring. If you want to get the chance to experience the beauty of purple heart flowers, visit the area between October and November.

Other areas of the plateau are mainly covered by rice fields. When rice ripens during summer, the region turns into a beautiful golden-yellow hue. This phenomenon is often referred to as the “golden season” or “harvest season” in Vietnam.

Ban Gioc Waterfall

If you are looking for a beautiful place to visit, consider Ban Gioc Waterfall. It’s formed by the water flowing from Quay Son River, creating an impressive scenery for photography.

This tourist destination site is 187 miles away from Hanoi, making it accessible by bus or train. Alternatively, you can rent a car from various car rental providers for convenience and flexibility.

The best time to visit Ban Gioc Waterfall is between June and September. During this period, the area experiences rainfall, making the waterfall pour a lot of water. Ensure you reach the place by noon when the upstream dam is allowed to flow fully for a more exciting experience. Use a bamboo raft to get close to the waterfall and experience the spray of water on your face and enjoy an up-close view of the white foam created by the rushing water.

In the dry season, the waterfall has an entirely different vibe. The area is normally peaceful and quiet, and the golden rice fields at the waterfall’s base create a romantic scene, perfect for couples.

When is the best season to travel and visit Vietnam?

The best season to travel to Vietnam and explore its national parks and landscapes varies depending on the region and park you wish to visit.

In general, the dry season is often considered the ideal time for outdoor adventures and nature exploration. For the northern national parks, such as Cuc Phuong National Park, the best time is during spring (March to April) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant. 

In central Vietnam, the dry season from February to August is recommended for optimal conditions. Southern national parks and places like Miu Ne can be visited year-round due to the consistently warm climate.

Still, the dry season from December to April is preferable to avoid heavy rainfall.

Remember to check the specific weather patterns, park regulations, and yearly events beforehand to plan your visit accordingly and fully enjoy Vietnam’s magnificent national parks and landscapes.

Final Words

Vietnam features one of the best natural wonders on Earth, and some are yet to be discovered. These attraction sites offer the best endless opportunities for outdoor activities and allow you to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Ultimately, the choice of which national park to visit depends on your preferences and the region you plan to explore in Vietnam.

To get the best experience, ensure you plan your journey in advance and research everything you need to know about the country. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a wildlife enthusiast, a hard-core foodie, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, Vietnam has something for everyone. So, get your Vietnam visa today and prepare for an epic journey ahead.