CAN GIO MANGROVES WORLD BIOSPHERE
Can Gio World Biosphere is a complex of both onshore and aquatic plant and animal species and was formed on the vast delta bordering the estuaries of the rivers of Dong Nai, Sai Gon, West Vam Co and Vam Co Dong. The mangroves were recognized by the UNESCO as the first World Biosphere of Viet Nam in early 2000, given its abundant flora and fauna that archetypically characterize swampland ecosystem. These days, the mangroves are considered the focal tourist destination of the country. Visitors should not hesitate to participate in a variety of fascinating activities such as venturing into the bat lagoon, boat rides, observations of wild apes, and a visit to the bird yard or climb to Tang Bong tower rising 28m tall to take a good look around Can Gio mangroves.
CAT TIEN NATIONAL PARK WORLD BIOSPHERE
Cat Tien National Park is a natural reserve that straddles the three provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc, 150km north away from Ho Chi Minh City. This national park is characterized by its wet tropical lowland forest terrain and spans a total area of 71,000ha. The forest is the habitat of roughly 1,700 plant species and 1,568 animal ones, including specially endangered species such as orange necked partridges, freshwater alligators, peacocks, pheasants or ostriches… Besides, archeological vestiges excavated within this national park also demonstrated that the forest once host an ancient culture. Cat Tien area and its vicinity are also home to a number of ethnic minorities. These days, these ethnic communities still preserve a large part of their culture, beliefs, diverse festivals, norms and mores, customs and traditional crafts. The national park was registered by the UNESCO as a World Biosphere in 2002 and also by the government as a special national site in 2012. This national park has now been a favorite among visitors seeking after peace of mind in nature. Some unique experiences that one should not miss out here include a trek to observe its flora and fauna, boat ride over alligator swarms on Bau Sau lake, a visit to the Fairy islet that hosts the bear rescue center, nightlife of wild animals, a brief stop in Ta Lai hamlet and cultural experiences of ethnic minorities…
CAT BA ISLANDS WORLD BIOSPHERE
Nested on Tran Chau commune on Cat Ba islands, Cat Hai district, 60km from the downtown of Hai Phong city, Cat Ba National Park was registered by the UNESCO as a World Biosphere in 2004. Given its bountiful and endemic flora and fauna, it’s a suitable spot for visitors to take an insight and relax. This national park is deservedly the place with one of the highest biodiversity of the country, hosting a number of different ecosystems, namely mangrove, forest on limestone or coastal forest and coral reefs… Given its total area up to 15,000ha, Cat Ba National Park is a flawless habitat for 282 forest animal species, 538 deep-sea marine species, 196 fish species, 771 onshore plant and grass species, 23 mangrove plant species, 75 seaweed ones and 177 different coral species. In particular, the islands also host several endemic species such as white headed doucs, white shanked doucs, collared crows or black giant squirrels… Besides, Cat Ba National Park also allures visitors with all its archeological values in human history. Visitors to Cat Ba National Park may opt for different routes up to their means of transport and places of interests picked. Tourist activities tied to forest ecosystem, bay visits combined with coral reef observations, homestay tours or insight in the local fishermen lifestyle… indeed bring about fun and excitements to you all.
RED RIVER DELTA WORLD BIOSPHERE
Registered as a UNESCO World Biosphere in 2004, this coastal swampland biosphere straddles three Red River provinces of Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh. Given its total area of over 105,000ha, this biosphere consists of two core areas namely Xuan Thuy National Park and Tien Hai Swampland Natural Reserve and other vast alluvial areas. The biosphere has preserved rich biodiversity of roughly 200 bird species, including nearly 60 migrant ones, 50 aquatic bird species and in particular endangered ones such as spoonbills, skimmers, spoon billed sandpipers or Tonkin storks… Red River Biosphere is poised for further leaps in development of ecotourism, visits and insights in the natural world and country tourism.
WORLD BIOSPHERE OF KIEN GIANG COASTAL AND MARITIME TERRITORIES
Spanning a total core area of 36,000ha; 172,000 in buffer area and 978,000ha in transitional area, this is the largest biosphere of Southeast Asia. In 2006, the area was bestowed the title of World Biosphere by the UNESCO. This biosphere is incredibly abundant in ecosystem and particularly unique in its scenery that covers the districts of Phu Quoc, An Minh, Vinh Thuan, Kien Luong and Kien Hai. The biosphere consists of three core areas namely Upper U Minh National Park, Phu Quoc National Park and Kien Luong – Kien Hai coastal protection forests. It’s home to 1,500 vertebrate species, 77 animal ones, 222 bird species and 107 reptile and amphibious ones. The flora includes 700ha of corals and 12,000 of seaweeds, 10 species of which are food for endangered Pacific ridley sea turtles and dugongs. 3 core areas of this biosphere are also fascinating places of interests for natural lovers and adventurers. While melaleuca forests on peat soil are what define the alkalinized ecosystem in U Minh Thuong forest, Phu Quoc National Park is rich in rivers and streams and beaches that stretch along the coast. Kien Luong – Kien Hai districts are meanwhile alluring as 30% of their natural area is hilly and insular, quite characteristic of the coastal mangrove and seasonal melaleuca swampland.
WESTERN NGHE AN WORLD BIOSPHERE
Spanning a total area of 1.3 million hectares and blanketing 9 districts, it’s the largest mainland biosphere of Southeast Asia and a hotbed of diverge flora and fauna of high biodiversity, in particular 70 plants and 80 animal species already registered for Red List and other endemic ones, notably spindle horns, brown shanked langurs, Cunninghamia konishii or the wild elephant swarm. The biosphere dotted with natural caves and waterfalls is also home to 6 established ethnic communities of Thai, Dan Lai, Kho Mu, O Du, Hmong and Kinh, of which O Du is the least populous community out of 54 recognized ethnicities of Viet Nam, and found only in Nghe An.
In this World Biosphere, Pu Mat National Park is the most important area, spanning 94,000ha. The park boasts incredibly rich natural resources and numerous unique natural scenes of waterfalls, caves, streams, clusters of perennial trees and primordial forests… In 2007, this area was officially registered as a World Biosphere.
CA MAU CAPE WORLD BIOSPHERE
Around 120km from Ca Mau city and 400km Southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, this area spanning 371,000ha consists of three areas: a core area of 17,000ha; a buffer of 43,000ha and a transitional area of 310,000ha. The core area is in its turn divided into three smaller ones, which are all strictly protected, namely Ca Mau Cape National Park, Lower U Minh National Park and the coastal protection forests. The biosphere boasts various endemic ecosystem patterns such as mangroves, melaleuca forests on peat strewn swamplands or maritime ecosystem… All are abundant in invaluable biological and ecological values that should be held to high preservative regards. In 2009, Ca Mau cape was officially included in the list of World Biospheres. Ca Mau Cape National Park boasts a wide range of flora and fauna, notably 28 to 32 mangrove species, 26 animals and 93 bird species, 43 reptile or 139 fish species… not to mention other saltwater ones registered and listed in both Viet Nam and world Red List. Here visitors should feel free to explore unique spots, appreciate the unique ecosystem of the cape by paying a visit to Ca Mau Cape Cultural and Tourist Park, jump aboard the boat through its submerged mangroves, enjoy amateur music, take a good insight in their traditional crafts and take part in the local lifestyle…
CHAM ISLAND WORLD BIOSPHERE
Cham Islands are an offshore cluster in Tan Hiep commune, Hoi An city, Quang Nam, 15km from Cua Dai beach. The islands pride themselves in their untouched and intact tranquility, thus a much crowded place of interests along with Hoi An ancient town. Well beyond its reputable cultural and historical treasures of such a secluded insular bunch, Cham islands are also well represented as a rich ecosystem that characterizes the estuaries, coastline and offshore territories. Flora and fauna are both fairly diverse, in particular the habitat of endangered salanganes and a variety of wild animals. Deep beneath the sea lie numerous rapids and gleaming coral reefs that adorn the unfathomable undersea Realm that hosts thousands of fish and tropical aquatic species. Cham islands are thus an ideal place for visitors to be fully engaged in the rustic lifestyle of fishing villages, admire kaleidoscopic coral reefs, climb up towering mounts or simply religh local cuisine. Given its superior and representative values in both natural and cultural resources, Cham islands were registered by the UNESCO as a World Biosphere in 2009.
LANG BIANG WORLD BIOSPHERE
As the ninth World Biosphere recognized by the UNESCO in Viet Nam (2015), Lang Biang World Biosphere spans 275,000ha and is a captivating destination for dream lovers and die-hard fans of the highlands. The biosphere consists of a vast primodial forest whose core area foems Bidoup – Lady Mountain National Park. These days, this national park boasts up to 1,9223 plant species, including acutely endangered ones such as Krempf’s pine, Fokienia, Taxaceae, and particularly orchid species up to 297. When it comes to animal species, the core area alone counts 422. This national park is also among 221 endemic bird areas of the world.
What drive visitors, especially adventurers excited are its two peaks. Bidoup is the highest, rising 2,287m high, trailed by the Lady Mountain at 2,167m high. Besides, the crisp pure air that swirls over the lush evergreen primordial forest and stunning scenery that weds forests and fountains and a cluster of 8,000 ethnic families cohabiting over generations… are also great pluses to lure visitors to Lang Biang.
LORD MOUNTAIN WORLD BIOSPHERE
Spanning a total area of 106,000ha, Lord Mountain Biosphere combines all the three terrains of forests, sea and semi-deserts while not compromising its rich flora and fauna of 1,511 plant species and 765 animal ones, including acutely endangered ones such as black shanked langurs, Asian black bears, sun bears, Asian golden cats or Germain’s peacockpheasants… In addition, the maritime territories of this biosphere also host over 250 coral species, 46 of which were recently recorded and classified in Viet Nam. It’s also home to a bunch of egg laying sea turtles under strict guard and protection. Visitors to Ninh Thuan may drop in the Lord Mountain National Park to admire the biodiversity here and get engaged in the Rai cave - “waterfall on the sea”, climb up mountains rising over 1,000m tall, scuba diving to watch corals in Vinh Hy bay, drop in vast vineyards or get involved in the ethnic life of the Raglai at the foot of the Lord Mountain… Lord Mountain was recognized as the latest UNESCO World Biosphere just last September 15th.
KON HA NUNG WORLD BIOSPHERE
Kon Ha Nung World Biosphere in Gia Lai spans 413,000ha and is characteristic of the forest ecosystem of the Central Highlands, given its bountiful flora and fauna, many of which are rare and economically valuable. The biosphere is divided into three areas, with its core Kon Ka Kinh National Park and Kon Chu Rang Natural Reserve. The biosphere is essentially intact of its endemic ecosystem, which is tropical closed forest, broad leafed trees, taiga, sparse taiga forest, savannahs or bushes… with great biodiversity. The flora and fauna of Kon Ka Kinh National Park are also equally fecund, including 1,754 advanced plant species, 91 low ones, 87 mammal species, 326 bird ones and 77 reptile species, not to mention endangered species on verge of extinction. Kon Chu Rang Natural Reserve is a low-mountain tropical forest, parts of which are still populated by indigenous people. In particular, the reserve hosts untamed K50 waterfall, one of the finest in the Central Highlands. Given its mountainous scenery, utmost tranquility and biodiversity, Kon Ha Nung is a captivating place of interests for both visitors and researchers. Kon Ha Nung was simultaneously recognized by the UNESCO as a World Biosphere last September 15th.
(Source: Vietnam Today 12.2021)