8 June 2014| Last updated on 15 February 2017
Vietnam has great vegetation that makes it easy for trees to grow and fauna to flourish. There are many national parks and green belts that span the whole of Vietnam. Here we will look at the most popular parks in the country, but if you would like to plan a trip to one or more of these relaxing, very green, forest-like places visit the Vietnam National Parks Website. All the information that you need will be there.
Cat Ba national park
Cat Ba National Park is located in Cat Hai district, Hai Phong city. The national park is centred on Cat Ba island, a 28,500 ha island, which lies 20 km due east of Hai Phong city and immediately to the west of Halong bay. The national park also incorporates some of the small islands and marine waters situated to the east of Cat Ba island.
Like Halong bay, the landscape of Cat Ba National Park is dominated by karst limestone islands rising abruptly from the sea. The topography is rugged and marked by steep outcrops and areas of bare rock. The national park ranges in elevation from sea level to 331 m at the summit of Mount Cao Vong.
As is typical in well developed karst landscapes, drainage patterns are complicated by subterranean passages, which probably account for most of the drainage in the national park. The centre of Cat Ba island is no more than 5 km from the coast, and surface drainage is poorly developed and seasonal.
Cuc Phuong national park
Cuc Phuong National Park lies at the south-eastern extent of a limestone range that runs north-west to Son La province. This limestone range predominantly comprises karst, marine in origin and perhaps 200 million years old. The section of the limestone range encompassed by the national park rises sharply out of the surrounding plain, to elevations of up to 636 m. This section is around 10 km wide and 25 km long, and has a central valley running along almost the entire length.
The karst topography exerts a dominant influence on drainage patterns in Cuc Phuong. Most of the water that the national park receives is quickly absorbed by a complex underground drainage system common to mature karst landscapes, often emerging from springs on the lower slopes flanking the national park. For this reason, there are no natural ponds or other standing bodies of water within the national park, and there is only one permanent watercourse, the Buoi river. This river bisects the western end of the national park from north to south, and feeds the Ma river, the major river in Thanh Hoa province.
Phong Nha- Ke Bang national park
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is located in western Bo Trach district, close to the international border with Laos. The national park is situated in one of the largest areas of contiguous limestone karst in Indochina, which also includes Hin Namno National Protected Area in Laos. The limestone massif is located in a transitional zone between the northern and central Annamite mountains.
The topography of the national park is characterised by precipitous karst ridges, which rise to elevations of around 400 m. Scattered among these ridges are narrow valleys and pockets of igneous rock formations. Because of the limestone topography, drainage is complex and there are few permanent water courses. There are, however, the Chay, Son and Trooc rivers, all of which are fed by underground streams, which emerge from the En, Vom, Toi and Phong Nha cave systems. All three rivers flow into the Gianh river, which empties into the East Sea.
Tram Chim National Park
Tram Chim National Park supports one of the last remnants of the Plain of Reeds wetland ecosystem, which previously covered some 700,000 ha of Dong Thap, Long An and Tien Giang provinces. The national park is located 19 km to the east of the Mekong River, at an elevation of about 1 m. The topography of the national park is flat, and slopes slightly to the east. In the past, several natural streams and rivers flowed from west to east, distributing water from the Mekong River to the Plain of Reeds. Now these streams and rivers have been replaced by a system of canals, some of which flow through the national park.
Prior to canalization, the Plain of Reeds was seasonally flooded with standing water for continuous periods of up to seven months per year. Since canalization, floodwaters drain more rapidly, and the national park is flooded for less than six months per year. Water levels in the canals begin to rise in June, at the beginning of the rainy season. Between September and December, the national park is inundated to a depth of 2 to 4 m, with a peak in October.
Since the mid-1980s, 53 km of dykes fitted with sluices have been constructed around the national park, with the aim of impounding floodwater for longer, and reducing the lowering of the water table during the dry season. The national park is fragmented by canals into five management zones; the water level of each can be managed separately
Cat Tien national park
The Nam Cat Tien sector of Cat Tien National Park is located in Dac Lua commune, Tan Phu district, Dong Nai province. The Tay Cat Tien sector is located in Dang Ha commune, Bu Dang district, Binh Phuoc province. The Cat Loc sector is located in Tien Hoang, Gia Vien and Phuoc Cat II communes, Cat Tien district, and Loc Bac commune, Bao Lam district, Lam Dong province.
The topography of Cat Tien National Park varies greatly among the three sectors. The Cat Loc sector is situated at the western extent of the Central Highlands and, consequently, is rather hilly. Although elevations only reach 659 m, the hills are relatively steep. The Nam Cat Tien and Tay Cat Tien sectors are situated in the lowlands of southern Vietnam, at the foot of the Central Highlands. The topography of these sectors is characterised by low, gentle hills, the highest of which reaches an elevation of 372 m.
The Dong Nai river, the second largest river in southern Vietnam, flows through the national park, forming the western boundary of the Cat Loc sector and the eastern boundary of the Nam Cat Tien sector. The numerous streams that originate in the national park drain into this river. The lowlands in the north of the Nam Cat Tien sector are poorly drained, and support an area of swamps and lakes, which are fed by seasonal flooding of the Dong Nai river.