Exploring natural Vietnam

Vietnam is one of those countries whose sheer beauty needs to be seen to be believed. It’s that gorgeous – blanketed in tropical forests, winding rivers and incredible bays cut with caves. The country is pretty huge, too, so the size of its natural landscape never fails to impress either.

Because Vietnam is so big, the weather you encounter will largely be based on where in the country you go, along with the time of year you visit. The northernmost bits offer a humid subtropical climate, while the bottom features a much drier, tropical climate and the middle portion experiences the monsoon at some times of year. Vietnam doesn’t experience the same winter and summer schedule as we do – here, the dry season is traditionally from November to April, while the rest of the months sees heightened batches of rain.

And just as Vietnam’s natural beauty is vast and varied, so too is its biodiversity. Vietnam is classified as one of 25 countries with high biodiversity, ranked number 16 worldwide, and is home to 16% of the world’s species, many of which are endemic to Vietnam.

Where to explore

Like we said, Vietnam is jam-packed with natural beauty. Here are just a few uber-green highlights.

Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s biggest island, tucked down along the southern coast. Because of its crazy-gorgeous natural scenery and rugged white sand beaches, it’s become big on the tourist radar. Though, big scale parks like the Phu Quoc National Park and its dense tropical foliage show the other side of life on this island.

Central highlands

Also known as Tay Nguyen and the Western Highlands, this region of Vietnam is known for its jaw-dropping scenery and endangered animal population. From plantations to waterfalls, mountains and coastlines, this leafy region has it all. Covering a massive amount of land, it’s also speckled with villages and colourful cities where you can set off on treks and soak up Vietnam’s vibrant culture.

World Natural Heritage Sites

Ha Long Bay

In Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is kind of a big deal. In fact it’s iconic around the world for its wave-less green waters broken apart by limestone islands that have been forming for millions of years. Boat trips through this iconic bay are a must, where you can see floating villages, secluded beaches and cool caves.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

This incredible park is known for its towering karst mountains that are the oldest in Asia – think, hundreds of millions of years old – carved with a vast network of caves and underground rivers. It’s like something out of a fantasy novel, and just as exciting to explore.

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

Can Gio Mangrove Forest

Sitting at the mouth of the Saigon River near Ho Chi Minh City, the main attraction of Can Gio is the extensive mangrove forest – motorbike treks through which are very much encouraged.

Cat Tien

Cat Tien houses the eponymous national park, which is home to one of the biggest areas of tropical forests in Vietnam and an archaeological site containing temples dating back as far as the 4th century CE.

Cat Ba National Park

Cat Ba is found on the island of the same name, blanketed in forests and home to the white-headed langur, one of the rarest primates in the world.

Kien Giang

Kien Giang comprises a section of Vietnam’s southern coast and more than 100 islands, the biggest of which is Phu Quoc. It’s known especially for its marine life and coral reefs, home to animals such as the dugong and hawksbill turtles.

Red River Delta

The Red River is the second largest in Vietnam, important for its rice production, mangrove forests and fishing potential. It’s also where water puppetry was invented.

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