Ba Vi National Park – An amazing experience for adventure lovers

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Ba Vi National Park is one of the most popular destinations in Hanoi. This place offers  a lot of interesting things to do and explore, especially for adventure lovers.

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Day 1 in Ba Vi

Arrive at your accommodation and get settled after an hour and a half drive from Hanoi. Bring a daypack for your essentials, which should include a towel, water bottle, money, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Be sure to wear a bathing suit!

To fully explore the national park and it’s surrounding areas, I would suggest having a motorbike! If you hired a car to the national park or took the bus from Hanoi, you can rent a motorbike in the nearest town to the national park, Son Tay.

After driving to the park on Day 1, you’ll want to relax and hit the water. What better or more beautiful place to swim than at a waterfall. Drive to the entrance of the national park BUT DO NOT ENTER! Instead, head left following the signs for Thien Son.
Thien Son’s main attraction is its waterfall. There are two waterfalls then cascade into a clear, blue pool of refreshing water. My friends and I spent the entire afternoon climbing the waterfalls, wading in the water and enjoying the fresh air. There is also a waterpark in Thien Son. If that appeals to you, I believe there may be some fees to enter and use the waterslides and pools. However, I found it a bit odd that the waterpark was here so we did not make use of it.

After spending the relaxing afternoon swimming at the waterfall, head back to your accommodation or into town for food before another day full of activity!

Ba Vi National Park (via tourguide.edu.vn)

Day 2 in Ba Vi National Park

The only restaurants in the National Park are attached to the hotels and homestays within the park and, therefore, can be more expensive. Since I was staying just outside the national park boundaries, I grabbed food in town before entering. Be sure to keep this in mind when you plan your day!

After driving as far as possible up Dinh Vua, hike up 1,320 steps to the temple resting at the very top. The temple, Bac Ho, is dedicated to Ho Chi Minh. Although the temple is not the most spectacular temple I have seen it is still beautiful and holds religious importance}, the highlight of reaching the top for me was the spectacular views of the valleys and river below

Ba Vi Mountain Range in the national park has plenty of mini-hikes and temples to explore. Grab a map at the entrance, pay the 15,000 VND/person {$0.70 USD} and head up the mountain! During the two days we spent in the national park, my favorite activity was driving to the top the tallest of the three peaks: Dinh Vua {Emperor Peak} at 4,252 feet above sea level.

We left the top of Dinh Vua and began the 1,320 step descent at roughly 11am. Insider tip: go to Bac Ho early! This is obviously determined by the weather as well. However, we left right when it started to get busy. Our hike down was filled with Vietnamese tourists trekking up to the temple. I was so glad we experienced the spectacular view before the crowds arrived.

Ba Vi National Park (via vietnamnet.vn)

Spend the rest of the afternoon going down the mountain and stopping at any of the temples along the way. Although there is not a lot of information about the national park, the park is very well labeled. As you drive the main road, large signs will pop out from the trees with the Vietnamese name. Consult your map for a picture of what the sign is. Many of these offshoots are drivable, while others are hikes to a destination.

We hiked down to a waterfall located on the national park map and were disappointed to find that the waterfall was more of a trickle of water and that the pool it flowed into was extremely dirty. It was the one waterfall labeled on the national park map so I am so glad I went to Thien Son the day before!

After the hike to the lack-luster waterfall, we then returned to Hanoi. We wanted to arrive in the city before the bad weather that was heading our way. It was a much-needed escape from Hanoi, and the last I would have before I began teaching a few days later. The fresh air and colder temperatures were reason enough visit. The waterfalls were just the cherry on top of the whole situation.

Once we exited the national park, we assumed we had finished exploring the area. We were wrong! We drove past this beautiful lake and couldn’t not stop to enjoy the view. This just goes to show that there is always something new to see and experience in Vietnam, even if you weren’t expecting it or hadn’t seen it on a map.

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