available in Vietnam
Reserves and Wildlife
Vietnam is a beautiful country with a multitude of unforgettable adventures waiting to be experienced. The fast paced mega-cities are teeming with life and activity which contrasts with the raw natural beauty in the wild jungles and rugged coast lines. Layered on top are complex and ancient cultural influences, from the various hill tribes to the Chinese in the north and the Hindu in the south as well as the historical French colonial period.
Everywhere you go will be a sensory overload, from dodging thousands of scooters in Hanoi, exploring miles of caves on Phong Nha-Ke Bang, experiencing a Vietnam wildlife safari, hanging out in Halong Bay on a traditional junk, exploring the tunnels left over from the war or experiencing the outstanding culinary feasts on offer.
Vietnam has huge diversity in its flora and new and rare animals were discovered as recently as the 1990’s in Bạch Mã National Park. The government has made conservation , habitat protection and scientific study a priority and laws have been enacted to protect areas. This is evident with the setting up of Xuân Thủy Wetland National Park and Hạ Long Bay and Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Parks (both of which are also designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.)
Scientists and conservationists have so far identified 310 species of mammals, 296 reptile species, 162 amphibian species, 700 freshwater species of fish and 2000 species of marine fish. There are also about 889 species of birds. However, WWF, has reported that nearly 10% of all Vietnam’s wildlife is threatened.
A must-visit destination is Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2003) which is home to the oldest karst mountains in Asia. The area contains hundreds of huge cave systems and amazing underground rivers. Above ground the park is a pristine tropical evergreen jungle with more than 100 types of mammal which include tigers, elephants, primates and a rare Asian antelope called a soaola. The primary forest is also home to 80+ types of reptile and amphibian and more than 300 varieties of birds.
Hang Son Doong (Mountain River Cave) is the world’s largest ‘discovered’ cave and at more than 5km long, 200m high and 150m wide it is pretty spectacular. A local hunter came across it first in the 1990’s whilst looking for shelter and a British cave exploration team confirmed it as the worlds biggest in 2009. In 2013 the government granted tourist access to this remotely located wonder and multi-day trips are available through a sole operator.
Halong Bay in northeast Vietnam, is known for its karst limestone peaks topped with rain forest and sheltered emerald waters. There are 2000 islands to explore in this UNESCO world heritage site. A kayak is a great way to get around and explore the grottoes and lagoons. After discovering Toad, Stone Dog and Fighting Cocks islets you can head back to your mother ship to recharge and take in the spectacular sunsets. The area is also popular for hiking, rock climbing and scuba diving.
The spectacular Pu Luong Nature Reserve in the northern coastal area of Vietnam is still pretty quiet and unknown to travellers. The setting between two mountain ranges is breathtaking; a lush green valley nestled between them and dotted with traditional villages. There is fantastic trekking and stilted home-stay accommodation options, where you can meet white Thai or Muong minority groups. The park is known for its bio-diverse and rich forest, limestone panoramas, village rice terraces and beautiful scenery.
Vietnam Destination Highlights
- Ban Gioc waterfall is one of Vietnam’s best known natural attractions
- Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site (2003)
- Hang Son Doong (Mountain River Cave)
- Halong Bay for limestone peaks and sheltered emerald waters
- Paradise Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
- Hanoi – a must-visit, if only for the street food
Vietnam Safari Travel Seasons
- Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate. Sept to Dec (autumn) and March and April (spring) are the best times if you are planning to see most of this very long country.
- The south or southwesterly monsoon dominates from May to September and the northeast monsoon from October to April.
- Depending on when you want to visit will require you to work around the regional weather.
- Capital city – Hanoi
- Currency – Dong
- Languages – Vietnamese
- Size – 331,212 km2 – about the same as Norway or Malaysia
- Population – 95.5 million (2018)
- Travel insurance is essential for all international travel. Click below to find out more:
- The only vaccination required by international regulations is yellow fever.
- WHO recommends the following vaccinations for Vietnam (and Southeast Asia in general): Adult diphtheria and tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles, mumps and rubella, Typhoid
- Check with your doctor which other vaccinations you might need and make sure your routine vaccinations are all up-to-date.
- Malaria is present in Vietnam – get medical advice on which prophylaxis to take.
- It is best to stick to drinking bottled water.
- Beautiful scenery
- Emerald green mountains everywhere
- Still quite underdeveloped
- Fantastic food
- Cheap once you are in country
- Friendly and welcoming people
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Cities are crowded
- Travel time due to distances
- Expensive to travel to
- Pricey visas
- Petty theft in the main cities
Arriving in Vietnam
- Most travellers arrive by air to either Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) or Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)
Getting Around Vietnam
- Most tours will start with a pick up and end with a drop off, with all other travel arrangements taken care of.
- There are excellent domestic flight connections.
- The bus network is extensive and reaches into all the far-flung corners of the country.
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