Bach Ma National Park is one of the most attractive eco-tourism destinations of Hue city in Central Vietnam. Established in 1991, Bach Ma National Park lies 1,200 meters above sea level, covers an area of 22,000 hectares, and reaches Bach Ma Mount’s peak at 1,450 meters. Thanks to the high biodiversity and magnificent natural landscapes, Bach Ma National Park promisingly fills travelers up with diverse experiences and peaceful moments.
Opening your tourist map, you can easily find the position of Vietnam’s center of flora diversity Bach Ma National Park. It is located in central Vietnam, in Thua Thien Hue province, around 700 km south of the country’s capital Hanoi and 1,000 km north of Ho Chi Minh City
1. Location of Bach Ma National Park
Around 40 km from Hue and 65 km from Da Nang, Bach Ma National Park is landed in a mountainous area on the border between the North and South of Vietnam, a part of Truong Son Mountain Range. Used to be the home of the rich French citizens in the 20th century, the national park still remains some ancient French architectural villas along with the stunning waterfalls, dense jungles, and especially flowering rhododendrons in the valley.
2. Overview of Bach Ma National Park
The climate in Bach Ma National Park is tropical with two distinct seasons, dry season and rainy season, caused by monsoon.
Hence, tourists might be surprised at the changeable weather, which goes from sunshine to darkness, and clouds to rains. Mainly from September to December, it receives approximately 8,000-mm rainfall each year. You can encounter hot and dry winds from May to August and even typhoon from June to November.
Does the name Bach Ma (“white horse”) arouse in your mind any association? In Vietnamese tradition, it refers to the white cloud which continually caps its peak. On approaching the park, you will see the evidence of Vietnam War remains in the form of some hills that still have not been fully recovered from the spraying of defoliants.
3. Flora and Fauna of Bach Ma National Park
3.1 The Flora
Bach ma’s position, at the sharing border with Northern and Southern Vietnam, is combined with a variety of habitats, ranging from the coast to high mountains. The flora of Bach Ma includes 2,147 species which represents around one-fifth of the entire flora of Vietnam. Among these, 86 species are listed as endangered species in the Red book of Vietnam. The main vegetation types comprise moisture green forest, montane forest, and scrubby-grass covering area much occupied by the locals
Bach Ma National Park takes pride in its endemic and rare species. Up to now, 1,493 species including 132 species of mammals (half of which are well known in Vietnam), 358 bird species, 31 reptile species, 21 frog species, 57 fish species and 894 insect species are identified. The elusive Sao la (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis)was only discovered in Vietnam in 1992. Do not be surprised if you see a pheasant!, this species used to be common in forests at the mountain foot, yet was already considered to be extinct by the 1940s. More than 50 years later, it was rediscovered in the park and has become the symbol of Bach Ma National Park.
4. How to get there
The common starting points to get to Bach Ma National Park are Hue and Da Nang city. Travelers can manage plenty of ways like air, railway, or road to reach Hue and Da Nang from different provinces in Vietnam. The park is located half-way between Da Nang and Hue, and both routes are nothing complicated; hence a taxi, car or motorbike is completely possible for the trip.
Bach Ma National Park is relatively easily accessible from Hue (40 km), Da Nang (65 km) and Hoi An (90 km). The park headquarters and entrance are about three km from the small town of Cau Hai, where the park road meets National Route No1. Bus is the ideal means of transport if you would like to contemplate the landscape along the road. There’s a railway station in Cau Hai, and frequent buses from Hue and Da Nang.
From Hue center: Follow Highway 1A to Da Nang direction – Straight to Phu Loc commune – Straight to Bach Ma National Park Signpost and follow until you reach the site (total 40 km)
From Da Nang center: Follow Highway 1A to Hai Van Pass direction – Phu Loc Commune – Bach Ma National Park (total 65 km)
Besides, there are a lot of day tours from Hue and Da Nang to Bach Ma National Park. If you would love to have a round-trip transfer and a guide included, this is highly recommended.
5. What to Do at Bach Ma National Park?
Activities in buffer zone. This huge biodiversity has created the amazing paradise on the ground for nature-lovers! There is a range of activities carried out with the collaboration of local people in the villages of the national park’s buffer zone. One of them is the establishment of medicinal plant gardens in Khe Su village, located about 2 km far from the park entrance. The village encourages tourists to devote some 40,000 VND (more than USD) for its development fund.
If you are eager for bird-watching, you are in the right place! More than one-third of the bird species of Vietnam are found in here! You can see a number of pigeons, bulbuls, malkohas, crow pheasant, herons and egrets but sights of parakeets, kingfishers or jungle fowl!
6. Things to do
6.1 Conquer Bach Ma Peak and witness the panorama view from Hai Vong Dai
Hai Vong Dai is a sea observation post located on top of Bach Ma Mountain. From 1450-meter height from sea level, travelers will be blown away by the spectacular view of lush mountains, valleys, lagoons, Lang Co bay, or even poetic Hue city. To get to Hai Vong Dai, you need to trek a 1,5 km trail, but the amazing view is definitely worth it.
6.2 Swim at Ngu Ho
Trekking down 2 km from Bach Ma Peak, travelers cannot ignore the tranquil beauty of Ngu Ho. If you start from Do Quyen villa, a 1-hour trek on steps and on trails in the forest will lead to Ngu Ho. Including 5 beautiful lakes lying on different levels, Ngu Ho is connected to a waterfall, becoming an ideal place for resting and immersing in the clear and clean water after long trekking and exploring.
6.3 Trek to Do Quyen Waterfall
Named after the flower Rhododendron (or “Do Quyen” in Vietnamese), Do Quyen Waterfall is among the most alluring landscapes in Bach Ma National Park. Next to the chance to admire the flower blooming, but travelers will never regret watching the foaming waterfall and marvelous mountain scenery here. If you want to have the best view and artful photos of flower Rhododendron, March to June is the best time to come.
6.4 Discover wildlife in Bach Ma National Park
Bach Ma National Park is not only a perfectly peaceful getaway but also a favorite spot for nature-lovers. The flora consists of 2147 species, including a big number of rare and valuable orchids, ferns, and frankincense. Besides, among 1,493 species of animals recorded, there are plenty of new mammal species discovered in Vietnam such as saola, Truong Son muntjac, and the giant muntjac. Taking the trail trekkings on Bach Ma Park is certainly a priceless chance to see and learn about the rich ecosystem here.
6.5 Visit Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery
Located at the foot of Linh Son Mount, Truc Lam Bach Ma Zen Monastery is an extra highlight of your trip to Bach Ma National Park. Surrounded by Truoi Lake, the monastery can be accessed by a 15-minute boat ride. After 172 steps climbing up to Three-entrance Gate, an open view to the surrounding architectural works and the idyllic lake indeed make you enchanted.