Ba Vi National Park offers a great escape from busy Hanoi with fresh mountain air in a beautiful forested area. It is about 55 kilometers from the city center. Here you can take lovely walks through the dense jungle and enjoy a beautiful view on one of the mountain peaks.
- About the national park
- Opening hours and visitor information
- Best things to do
- Best time to visit
- How to get there from Hanoi
About Ba Vi National Park
Located close to Hanoi, Ba Vi National Park is a popular place for both locals and travelers to take a day trip for the clean air, tranquility and beautiful walks through the forest. This started during the French colonial era, when a hill station was built, where the French came to escape during the hot summers in Hanoi.
The national park has three mountain peaks between 1100 meters and 1300 meters high. The peaks are holier with temples popular for pilgrims. Travelers come here mainly for the beautiful views of the tropical forest and vistas all the way to Hanoi. The Da River is on the other side of the national park, which splits into several streams.
In total there are more than 60 different mammals, 60 reptiles, 115 bird species, 25 amphibian species and many more species of plants and trees. This, in combination with the mountains and hills of northern Vietnam, makes it an impressive nature destination.
Opening hours and visitor information
The main entrance to the park is open from 05:00 to 21:00. Admission is 15,000 dong, plus a small vehicle parking fee, depending on size. Very little English is spoken.
Best things to do in Ba Vi National Park
1. Trekking in Ba Vi National Park
The best way to explore Ba Vi National Park is by trekking. Walks take you through the dense forest and viewpoints. Hiking maps are available at the entrance to the national park. There are three different mountain peaks that you can hike to: Ngoc Hoa Peak, King Peak and Tan Vien Peak.
- King Peak: With 1,296 meter, this is the highest peak of the national park. To reach this place, you will hike through the stunning forest of a large part of the park and visit the temple dedicated to Ho Chi Minh. At the highest point you have a beautiful view of the surrounding areas.
- Tan Vien Peak: With an altitude of 1,226 meters, this peak is where you can find the Upper Temple, dedicated to the God of Ba Vi.
- Ngoc Hoa Peak: At 1,131 meter this is the third highest peak of the mountain range.
Tips for trekking in Ba Vi
- The mountains are often covered with fog and clouds, what will make some of the jungle roads slippery and hard to see as you are hiking in the jungle. If you are not very experienced, it is best to go with an local guide.
- The weather in the jungle can be unpredictable. Check the forecast to determine the duration of your trek.
- Use good walking shoes
- You can get a map of the walking routes at the entrance of the park.
- Protect yourself with long clothing and insect spray against insects and leeches.
2. Ba Vi Mountain & temples
The highlight of Ba Vi National Park is the mountain itself, with a height of almost 1,300 meters. There is a well maintained 12 kilometre long road going up to the top of the mountain. You can walk or cycle if you want, but there is also an option to go by motorbike or car. The road is winding and narrow, but also safe. If you’re going up with a motorcycle, it is best to know how to drive in first gear.
The drive up is great, right through the forest with a lovely peaceful atmosphere. Even on cloudy days it is worth making the climb. Some of the trees in the forest are marked by species, but only in the Vietnamese language
When you arrive at the top of Ba Vi Mountain there are two walks you can take to temples. The walk to Den Thuong is the easiest route, with about 600 steps up. The other route goes to the Bac Ho which is in honor of Ho Chi Minh.
The view from the peak is amazing on clear days.
3. French ruins
During the French colonial era, Ba Vi was a hill station where the French settlers came to vacation and cool off in the fresh mountain air. Today, there are many ruins of this resort scattered throughout the Ba Vi Mountains. These French ruins look mysterious, hidden in the forest and covered in layers of moss, making them a popular spot for photographers.
The first few French ruins you see while climbing the mountain are the Summer Camp of the French, followed by ruins of a church and a small French military base. The walk can be tiring, but it is well worth it.
4. Cactus garden
From the main gate it is around 1 km to the cactus garden. It is where up to 1,200 cactus species are planted and preserved. The ecosystem here is strictly protected and offers an abundance of colorful cactus flowers.
5. Bird watching
Travelers that like to go birding in Vietnam can also enjoy their time in Ba Vi National Park. Birds you can spot here include the Red-eared Thrush, Green Cochoa, Asian Stubtail and Collared Treepie.
Ba Vi National Park is one of the best places to go camping in Vietnam. There are a few places where you can go camping for a small fee. It can be wise to plan a camping tour, so you don’t need to worry about arranging gear and transportation from Hanoi.
Best time to visit
Ba Vi National Park can be visited all year round, as there is a good climate for hiking and jungle exploration every month. The best time to visit the national park is from April through September when the weather is cool and dry, or around November and December when you can see beautiful wildflowers bloom. In the winter months of December and January it can get cold here and there is more change that the mountains are covered with clouds.
How to get there from Hanoi
Because there are no direct buses from Hanoi to Ba Vi National Park and because a guide can be very helpful in showing you the right hiking routes and sights, most travelers choose to get to the park by tour.
By private transport
As an alternative to public transport and by tour, you can also arrange private transport. You can rent a motorbike yourself in Hanoi and drive here or rent a car with a driver. It is about an hour and a half or longer depending on the speed.
For travelers from abroad, the bus to the park is usually not the first choice. Depending on your starting position, you may need to transfer to different bus routes to get there. It is therefore not recommended to take the public bus. If you do want to go, ask your accommodation in Hanoi to arrange the bus.
Accommodation at Ba Vi National Park
A lot of travelers visit Ba Vi National Park in a day trip from Hanoi. If you do want to do this, there are a number of options for accommodations in and around the park.
The real adventurer can go camping in Ba Vi national park. There are a number of places where this is possible, for a small fee. The best time to camp here is during the summer, when the nights are not very cold.
If you want more comfort, you can spend the night in one of the hotels or resorts. There are 2 resorts in the park itself, the Ba Vi Resort with camping options and the Melia Retreat, which is beautifully built in French architectural style. Both resorts are luxuriously and modernly furnished. Tan Da Spa Resort is located just outside the national park and has hot springs, steam baths, herbal baths and mud baths. Built in the style of an old palace, the resort looks like historic houses from red river delta.
Even if you have a somewhat lower budget, there is plenty of accommodation in the area, most can be found on the well-known booking sites, rooms starting from $10.