Known as one of the most unyielding nations to have fought back some of the mightiest armies in the world such as China, France, Japan and USA, Vietnam is also famous for its magnificent nature beauty. Wouldn’t you say we have the whole package of beauty on the inside and outside? Vietnam is home to over 13,000 flora and 15,000 fauna on the background of various geographical features of high mountains and 3260 km of coastline which are perfect conditions for the rising industry: Eco-tourism. Due to its overloading awesomeness, Vietnam’s ecotourism is only for the real adventurers out there who urge to admire its glory and help preserving Vietnamese Mother Nature. On the other hand, if you are not a legit traveling enthusiast since you don’t have Vietnam’s ecotourism on your bucket list, here are what you will miss.
1. A chance to visit the coolest ecotourism national park in Southeast Asia.
Where? Nam Cat Tien National Park of South Vietnam which is 150km North of Ho Chi Minh city. The Park was proudly recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Site in 2001. Visitors have a difficult time to find reasons to be disappointed by this gigantic 71,000 ha Park as it is home to 1,300 species of vascular plants, 34 of which are listed in Vietnam Red List, together with 77 mammals, 318 birds, 58 reptiles, 28 amphibians and 130 fish. You can also get to observe some of the last Java Rhinoceros and Siamese crocodiles if you are a fauna buff. If you are interested in adding value to the Park, there is a tree planting scheme opened for visitors. Another way to contribute is to donate to the Park’s Forest Recovery Program which provides a sense of nature consciousness and a certificate in an honor of your donation
2. Overdosed with exoticness of the Hawaii of Vietnam
Home to multiple UNESCO-recognized sites, Vietnam is proud to have Phu Quoc island as another World Biosphere Site. Thanks to its exceptional marine and terrestrial areas, Phu Quoc island plays a prominent role in making Vietnam one of the world leaders in ecotourism. Ecotourism in Phu Quoc’s exotic untouched natural environment and the super laid-back atmosphere there contributed considerably to the country’s 32% economic growth in 2015. Not only that, it is the only special economic zone in Vietnam where tourists can stay for up to 30 days visa free. The largest island in the Gulf of Thailand is also surrounded with water glowing with bioluminescent algae.
3. Visiting the world’s largest cave with its own river, jungle and climate inside
Yup, you’ve heard that right. Son Doong cave (meaning: mountain river cave) was first discovered by a local farmer in 1991 but he forgot how to get back there afterwards. In 2009, it was re-discovered by a group of British tourists. Son Doong cave was included in 8th position in New York Times’ list of “52 Places to Go in 2014”. At more than 200m high, 150m wide and 5km long, you could even fit an entire city block inside. This exquisite marvel is located in Quang Binh province of Vietnam and is receiving an intensive consciousness of preservation. Currently, there is only one travel agency bringing tourists to the cave, which is Oxalis. Its Director – Nguyen Chau A said: “The price for the five-day four-night program is about $3,000, but it has a waiting list of nearly 1,000 people. This is one of those rare tours in Vietnam and the ASEAN region that’s waiting to be experienced”.
And that, folks, is only 3 of the many areas of Vietnam’s ecotourism. Reserved only for real adventurers, fascinating only to legit explorers and appreciated only by environmentally-friendly tourists, Vietnam’s marvelous ecotourism welcomes you all.
By Nguyen Thanh Huong, ASEAN Correspondent from Vietnam