Ba Vi National Park offers ideal vacation close to Hanoi
The cool weather and beautiful panoramas of Da Lat and Sa Pa may be too far away for those who have limited time for vacation. A one-day picnic to the Ba Vi National Park might be the ideal option to escape the heat and enjoy life in the clouds.
The haven is a mere 60km or an hour and a half drive from Hanoi.
Ba Vi has been named one of four ecological tourist sites, along with Da Lat in the central highlands, and Sa Pa and Tam Dao in the north.
The National Park is centred on Mount Ba Vi, an isolated spot situated to the west of Hanoi. The mountain rises steeply out of a plain that rarely exceeds 30m in elevation. Mt Ba Vi has three peaks: the highest is Vua at 1,296m, followed by Tan Vien at 1,226m and Ngoc Hoa at 1,120m.
Because of the mountainous topography, the climate on Ba Vi varies with altitude. Above 500m, fog enshrouds the top of the mountain on most days.
The special terrain and climate provides Ba Vi with a clean and quiet atmosphere under the green shadows of the thick and interminable forest.
From the gate, a sloping zigzag path leads visitors through the jungle to a 400m high destination. After 30 minutes of walking, cool weather and fresh air awaits.
Visitors can look for and discover traces of French colonial architecture: an ancient church, an orphanage, villas for vacation and a prison built in the 1940s.
With a relatively favourable climate, good infrastructure and close proximity to Hanoi, Ba Vi already attracts large numbers of visitors. Several tourism companies have developed resorts and attractions in and around the national park and further major tourism resorts are planned.
The higher visitors climb, the thicker the mist and fog they encounter; sometimes one cannot see the faces of companions. At a height of 1,200m, Mt Ba Vi allows tourists to admire the beauty of the landscape, surrounded with clouds reminiscent of Elysium.
From the peak, another 770 steps on the stone staircase to the west leads to Vua Peak, atop which sits President Ho Chi Minh’s Temple, while 225 steps up the east face leads to Thuong Temple , where local residents adore Saint Tan Vien-Son Tinh who is ranked first among the national four immortal saints.
Son Tinh is considered a national hero for fighting floods, waterlogging and foreign aggressors. The saint played a key role in uniting the Viet and Muong peoples.
In Ba Vi National Park, natural forest is mainly distributed at elevations above 600m. The indigenous vegetation of Ba Vi are lowland evergreen forest, lower montane evergreen forest and lower montane mixed coniferous and broadleaf forest. In 1998, the national park supported 4,701ha of forest, comprising 1,710ha of natural forest and 2,991ha of plantation forest. The plantation forest is still, however, in the early stages of development, with only small trees present.
Ba Vi is not only the lung of the capital city but also home to 812 species of vascular plants. The national park also supports 44 mammal species, 114 bird species, 15 reptile species and nine amphibian species.
The forest of Ba Vi National Park is an important source of forest products for local communities. For example, medicinal plant collection is a major economic activity in the area. Between 1997 and 1998, an estimated 250 tonnes of medicinal plants were extracted from the national park. It has been estimated that 80 per cent of the Dao ethnic group in Ba Vi commune extract medicinal plants, which is their second most important source of income.
Ba Vi is also an important site for education and scientific research. The park managers are currently building a research centre which will play an important role for scientists and students. The centre is being set up with separate areas for birds, medicinal herbs, and a garden for specimen trees which aims to preserve rare genes.
(Source: VNA, URL:http://english.vietnamnet.vn/travel/2008/10/806584/)
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