Rising steeply from densely populated lowlands to a peak of 1529m above sea‑level, the forests support a large variety of ecosystems and micro‑habitats of high biodiversity, varying with altitude, aspect and the degree of human disturbance.
In its original state, Tam Dao had one of the highest levels of species richness of any tropical forest with about 1,300 plant and 1,200 animal species, many of which are rare to Tam Dao or northern Vietnam.
Therefore, located only about 70km northwest of Hanoi, rather close to the urban area, Tam Dao National Park is one of the last natural areas which has not been transformed into agricultural land.
I. Highlights of Tam Dao National Park
Tam Dao National Park is based in the Tam Dao range, which is one of the terminal spurs of a larger mountainous area. It runs 80 km from north west to south east, and has more than 20 peaks with altitudes of over 1000m.
The highest summit is Tam Dao North with an altitude of 1592m. 3 other peaks with beautiful scenery are Thien Thi at 1375m, Thach Ban at 1388m and Phu Nghia at 1300m. Sharp peaks with sloping sides and numerous, deep partitions are characteristic of the topology.
The boundary of the national park is located at an altitude of 100 m around the Tam Dao range. There is a larger buffer zone (535 km2) surrounding the national park with an altitude below 100m. Seventy per cent of the area of the park is covered by natural and artificial forests. The natural forest is about 220 km2 and the human altered one is about 30 km2.
Due to the tall mountainous range that splits the area into two parts, the national park’s climatic condition is divided into two areas with different rainfall. This difference and some other factors such as the effect of human activity divide the park into some smaller climatic zones which increase the biodiversity in the park.
II. Biodiversity Values
Tam Dao National Park is covered by a rich flora consisting of 490 species the high classes belonging to 344 genera and 130 families. Forests abound with rare and valuable flora such as: “Sam bong’ “Po mu” fokienia hodginsii) “kim giao” (podocarpus fleuryi) ‘Lat hoa’ (chukrasia tabularis) “Lim xanh” (Erythrophleum fordii) “Do quyen” (Rhododendron simmi) “Sen mat” (Madhuca pasquieri) “Thong tre” (Podocarpus neriifolius) (all are valuable wood).
Out of over 2000 plant species, 904 species are considered useful to humans. They have been classified into eight groups. There are 42 species endemic to Tam Dao National Park and also 64 other species considered rare including Dendrobium daoensis, Camellia longicaudata, Camellia petelotii, Asarum petelotii, Molas tamdaoensis, and Paris delavayi.
The National Park is the habitat of diversified fauna, with 281 species 80 families and 26 orders, belonging to 4 main classes: animals birds reptiles and amphibians ones including many rare and valuable species which are high commercial value and at the same time of important scientific research significance: white-cheeked black monkey, snake-headed fish, silver pheasant, wood grouses, etc…
Eleven of these species are endemic to Tam Dao National Park including the snake species Amphiesma angeli and Boiga multitempolaris, the amphibian Paramerotriton deloustali and eight species of insects; 22 species are endemic to North Vietnam including nine bird species, four reptiles, three amphibians and six species of insect; six are endemic to Vietnam (five bird species and one species of amphibian).
III. What to See in Tam Dao National Park?
When visiting the park, you will have a chance to view a lot of spectacular places that are located nearby.
1. Tam Dao Town
Established at the beginning of the 20th century, Tam Dao is considered to be miniature Dalat or Sapa in the North of Vietnam. It is nestled in a valley covering only 3 km2, ranging over 900m above the sea level. There now remain some villas and palaces built by French colonists combining both traditional and modern style of new buildings.
The reason why people call it Tam Dao is because it has 3 mountains named Thien Thi (at 1375m), Thach Ban (1388m) and Phu Nghia (1400m), which rise above the clouds like 3 islands.
In the area of Tam Dao town, there is Thac Bac (The Silver Fall), Rung Rinh Peak and Tam Dao 2, a remnant of another resort built many years ago.
Silver fall is 50m high and is said to be the most stunning waterfall in Tam Dao. So as to get to Silver Fall, you need to go along a trail that is down to a very deep valley. Then, the waterfall will appear right in front of your eyes. It is great to see a beautiful view of the waterfall surrounding the valleys.
On Rung Rinh peak, there are lots of gigantic trees covered by moss and orchids, majestic mountains and birds singing. Meanwhile, Tam Dao-2 is a wild and lonely place, which is ideal for activities requiring concentration like meditation.
2. Tay Thien Site
This area covers about 148 hectares in a biosphere of almost 300 wildlife species and 500 plants. The weather here is so special. There are 4 distinct seasons within a day: spring breeze at sunrise, warm sunshine summer light at noon, pleasing fall atmosphere in the afternoon and chilly air at night.
Here, there is Thien Vien Truc Lam Tay Thien, which is among the biggest monasteries in Vietnam. It was constructed in 2009 with so many ancient architecture of temples and pagodas.
A spectacular piece of Buddhism architectural art is the Great Precious Tower. This 3-storey tower is 37m in height and is located on the left side of Tam Quan Gate. According to Buddhism, the Great Precious Tower consists of 5 elements of tranquilness namely air, earth, fire, wind, earth and the spirit of enlightenment as well.
Trinh or Thong temple is an entrance to Thuong temple on the peak of the mountain. Built in 1998, this temple is famous for its unique location overviewing a big banyan tree together with such a huge root. There is a bell, 4 stone steles, a bronze plaque, parallel sentences and lacquered boards inside the temple.
Cau Temple is next to Thong Temple. It is large and is an ideal place for people to come to pray for luck, wealth and longevity.
IV. What to Eat When Visiting Tam Dao National Park?
Once arriving Tam Dao, visitors should try local street food in the night market. They can eat barbecued foods like bamboo-tube rice, sweet potatoes, chicken, pork or sugarcanes.
A staple agricultural product in Tam Dao is chayote. It is grown around hills and can be made into various dishes with different taste. Anyone coming to Tam Dao also buy some chayote as gifts for their family.
V. Where to Stay?
It is not hard to find a hotel in Tam Dao. Have a look at the list below and you can find yourself the most suitable one.
1. Royal Huy Hotel Tam Dao
- Location: Tam Dao District, Vinh Phuc Province
- Tel: 0211 6575 555
2. Sofia Tam Dao Hotel & Spa
- Location: Tam Dao District, Vinh Phuc Province
- Tel: 0852 368 333
3. Hanvet Hotel Tam Dao
- Location: Tam Dao, Vinh Phuc
- Tel: 0211 3816 868
VI. How to Get There?
Tam Dao National Park, Vinh Phuc is quite near Hanoi. From here, you should follow the highway leading to Noi Bai airport. Go along for a while and then turn left to the highway No2. You will reach Vinh Yen after that. Turn right to the highway 2B. Next, don’t forget to follow the signposts on the street to get to Tam Dao.
Tam Dao National Park is really a promising area, a center for forest ecological research on rare and valuable flora and fauna. The park is ready to welcome domestic and international visitors.
Keyword: Tam Dao National Park, Vinh Phuc