Hanoi

Ba Vi National Park: The Getaway from the Heat of Hanoi

Ba Vi National Park (Vietnamese spelling: Vườn quốc gia Ba Vì) is a place to spend a day in nature amongst other attractions. The entrance to it is about 60km from the center of Hanoi. 

Around the entrance are the offices. Within the first 400 meters is the Eco-restoration Area where the trails are fully developed. Further out is the High-Security Area where the paths are more untouched with some areas you won’t be able to enter.

The Park is situated along the Ba Vi Mountain Range which is considered sacred to the ancient Dai Viet. The peaks include King Peak of 1 296 m, Tan Vien Peak of 1 227 m, and Ngoc Hoa Peak of 1 131 m.

Ba Vi spans across 108.2 km2 and is home to endangered species on the IUCN Red List. It’s home to 65 species of mammals, 169 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles, 27 species of amphibians, 552 species of insects, and over 1200 species of flora, many of which are endemic.

View all the locations mentioned in this article

Trekking: The Best Thing to Do in Ba Vi National Park

Ba Vi National Park tourist map
Ba Vi National Park tourist map
[ image by Vuonquocgiabavi.vn ]

After paying the entrance fee, you can choose different routes to explore the park, and a  guide is optional. And if you decide to venture on your own, there are parking lots at the entrance and along the way, so you can decide when to drive or ride and when to walk. 

If you choose to venture by motorcycle, make sure to bring your ID, passport, driving license, and protective gear (good hiking gear and safety pads) before going as some roads are isolated and fairly untouched.

During the cold season, it can get foggy after sunset so be careful, especially from the 400-meter mark to the 1100-meter mark. Vehicles with over 30 seats are only allowed until the 400 m mark and no further than that.

Things to See while Trekking inside Ba Vi National Park

Here are the highlighted destinations in order of proximity to the entrance of Ba Vi National Park. An expert and informative guide is helpful to explain things along the way and make sure you follow the right path.

Cactus Garden

Cactus Garden
Cactus Garden
[ by Như Ngọc from Facebook ]

The Cactus Garden is a glass dome with a collection of 1 200 type species of cactus. It’s only 1 km away from the entrance and has recently become a favorite photo spot for the younger generations.

Pine Forest

Pine Forest
Pine Forest
[ image by Vuonquocgiabavi.vn ]

The pine forest comes after the cactus garden on the trail. There are several camping sites here with a great atmosphere amongst the woods.

Mexican Sunflower Field

Mexican sunflower
Mexican sunflower
[ by Hồng Quang from Facebook ]

From October to December is the Mexican sunflower (hoa dã quỳ) season. They are scattered across the area within the 400-meter mark. The biggest field is a few hundred meters from the pine forest.

Ngoc Hoa Peak and Cave

The view from Ngoc Hoa Peak
The view from Ngoc Hoa Peak
[ image by Vuonquocgiabavi.vn ]

The cave was formed by tectonic movement at the bottom of Ngoc Hoa Peak (đỉnh Ngọc Hoa). Inside the cave is a shrine to Ngoc Hoa Princess— a princess of the Nguyen Dynasty. To get to the top of the mountain, you’ll have to park your vehicle at the bottom and hike up the trail.

Old French Ruins

Ruins of an old French church
Ruins of an old French church
[ by Minh Son from Facebook ]

This area used to be a French colonialist stronghold from 1932 to 1944. One of the ruins is an old mansion which looks like a blockhouse. The basic architecture with rooms, hallway, and emergency exits can still be seen.

At the 800 m mark, there’s an old church with only the building frame full of vines and moss-covered walls remaining. It’s also a great resting and picnic spot where people  take photos inside.

From the 1000 m to the 1100 m mark, there are ruins of a French prison covering 2 500 m2. Traces of torturing devices and shackles can still be seen on the walls.

Upper Temple

Upper Temple
[ image by Vuonquocgiabavi.vn ]

Records show the temple was built during the time of An Dương Vương— the only king of Âu Lạc, the second empire of Vietnam. During the time of King Lý Nhân Tông, the Upper Temple was built to worship Tản Viên or Sơn Tinh— the god of the Ba Vi Mountain Range (dãy núi Ba Vì) and Tan Vien Peak (đỉnh Tản Viên) in particular.

Over time, the temple was destroyed. In 1993, the temple was reconstructed against the bottom of the mountain. In 2008, the Upper Temple (đền Thượng) along with the Middle Temple (đền Trung) and the Lower Temple (đền Hạ) were recognized as National Heritage Sites.

The latest renovation was in 2010 with the addition of halls and statues. The temple also has the statues of Trần Hưng Đạo and Mẫu Thượng Ngàn the forest princess—one of the three mother goddesses in Vietnamese mythology.

Near the temple, there’s a thousand years old calocedrus macrolepis tree emerging from a cliff. On the top of Tan Vien, there’s a statue of the Mother of the Nine Heavens (Mẫu Cửu Trùng Thiên) from Chinese mythology.

Ho Chi Minh Temple

Ho Chi Minh Temple
[ image by Vuonquocgiabavi.vn ]

The Ho Chi Minh Temple (đền thờ Bác Hồ) is situated on top of the tallest King Peak (đỉnh Vua). It has a traditional Vietnamese style and a bronze statue of President Ho Chi Minh inside.

From the bottom, you’ll have to follow a 12 km trail, then take a staircase of 1 320 steps along the mountain to reach the top. It’s a good hike amongst the beautiful scenery of the forest.

Bao Thien Stupa

Bao Thien Stupa
[ image by Vuonquocgiabavi.vn ]

The Bao Thien Stupa (tháp Báo Thiên) is next to the Ho Chi Minh Temple. It was built for Vietnamese Buddhists to celebrate the Thousand Years of Thang Long – Hanoi.

Camping in Ba Vi National Park

Camping in Ba Vi National Park
[ by Vườn Quốc gia Ba Vì from Facebook ]

1. Ba Vi Resort’s pine forest at the 400-meter mark: It’s a comfortable picnic area with no camping fee. However, you can’t make a campfire here so it’s better to bring ready-to-eat food.

2. Cactus Garden’s pine forest: Camping overnight and campfire are available. There’s a rental service for tents and firewood. The camping fee may vary depending on the season.

3. Tien Sa Lake Resort (khu du lịch hồ Tiên Sa): It’s the same as the Cactus Garden.

4. The ruins of an old French church: It’s a good day-picnic spot. Camping overnight here isn’t allowed.

  • Day-camping: 10 000 VND per person.
  • Overnight: 50 000 VND per person.
  • Campfire: 700 000 – 1 500 000 per day.
  • Tents: 120 000 – 200 000 per tent.
  • Grills: 100 000 VND per grill.

Traveling Tips for Ba Vi National Park

A pool in Tien Sa Lake Resort
A pool in Tien Sa Lake Resort
[ image by Vuonquocgiabavi.vn ]
  • Best time to visit: The park is a great getaway from the heat of Hanoi from April to October. The Mexican sunflower season is from October to December.
  • Be careful of the environment. Littering is forbidden here.
  • Be careful of forest fires while camping.
  • Bring a good pair of walking shoes, adequate snacks and water, and insect repellent.

Ticket Prices for Ba Vi National Park

Entrance ticket (keep it safe): 

  • Adults: 60 000 VND per person.
  • Children: 10 000 VND per person.

Cactus Garden ticket: 10 000 VND.

Ngoc Hoa Cave ticket: 10 000 VND.

Professional photoshoot (personal cameras are free of charge):

  • 800 000 VND per session.
  • Extra 50 000 VND per person for groups of over ten people.

Guide: 

  • 300 000 – 500 000 VND per guide/group/route/day. 
  • 200 000 VND per extra route. 
  • Extra 5000 VND per person for groups of over 30 people.

Parking ticket per parking lot:

  • Car below 10 seats: 20 000 VND per car.
  • Car over 10 seats: 25 000 VND per car.
  • Cars are charged by the hour. 
  • Motorcycle: 3000 VND per motorcycle.
  • Bicycle: 2000 VND per bicycle.
  • The overnight fee is about double for every vehicle.

How to Get to Ba Vi National Park

Check out our article on ‘ 25 Best Things To Do in Hanoi’ for further details on how to get to Hanoi and from there to Ba Vi National Park.

  • You can book tours to Ba Vi from Hanoi.
  • There are coaches (travel bus) and even local buses to the park that you can book from Giap Bat Station in Hanoi.
  • Grab is convenient for booking a car to the park and even for a whole day there.
  • Renting a motorbike is the most convenient choice for trekkers.

Where to Stay Ba Vi National Park

There are inns, hostels, and resorts along the way. There’s also a rental service for all things camping. 

You can also choose to stay at resorts around like Ba Vì Resort, Tiên Sa Lake Resort, Thiên Sơn – Suối Ngà Resort, Ao Vua Resort. The prices may vary by season.

Eating in Ba Vi National Park

The only restaurant in the park is Xạ Hương in Ba Vi Resort so make a booking in advance. For a picnic or camping day, you can bring your own food and rent grills.

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