Bach Ma National Park

Bach Ma National Park

Despite being damaged by the Americans' use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, Bach Ma National Park today has one of the most diverse ecological systems in Vietnam. With coastal regions, mountains, and lush green valleys, the plan biodiversity in Bach Ma is especially unparalleled by other national parks in Vietnam. The park is named for one particular mountain peak; “Bach Ma” means “white horse” and refers to the misty beard of white that continually encircles the mountain. Truly, Bach Ma National Park is one of Southeast Asia's last wonderlands.

History of Bach Ma

Few parks have a history as colorful as Bach Ma, which over the years was served as a base for French, American, and now Vietnamese operations.

As early as 1925, when the idea of conservation and wildlife protection was just beginning, French colonial authorities considered setting aside the area in order to protect the Edward's pheasant. The pheasant is today an endangered species, with only 1,000 – 3,000 remaining in the wild; many of these live within the park's boundaries.

In 1932, the Bach Ma summit was made a hill station by the French. They built nearly 140 villas and hotels, intending to accommodate French holidaymakers and government officials. To make it self-sustaining, they also added a post office, market, and hospital. When the French left Vietnam in 1954, the Vietnamese abandoned the little village and the jungle gradually began to reclaim it. Some of the remains of these buildings can still be seen today.

The South Vietnamese were preparing to turn the area into a national park in 1962, but the Vietnam War broke out and the American military used the Bach Ma ridge as a helicopter base. In 1991, the park finally gained protected status, and in 2008 it was expanded to 37,487 hectares.

Plants + Wildlife In Bach Ma Park

Wildlife lovers and ecotourists will be dazzled by the flora and fauna inside the park. With more than 130 species of mammals, including nine species of primates, more than 350 species of bird, 31 species of reptile, 21 species of frog, and almost 60 species of fish, almost any animal you wish to see in its native Vietnamese habitat can be found within Bach Ma. With a little luck, you might even glimpse a tiger or a leopard.

As for the plants, some of the area around the Bach Ma ridge itself still hasn't entirely recovered from the Vietnam War, but everywhere else the park is intensely lush. With lowland forests and mountain regions as well, there are over 2,100 species of plant within the park.

When you arrive, start at the Visitor Centre, where you can see exhibitions, book accommodations, and find tour guides. After a long hike past one of the park's waterfalls, you might decide to visit one of the traditional Katu villages, where you might catch one of the annual festivals or shop for some authentic Vietnamese hill tribe crafts.

In all, if you're visiting Hue or Da Nang anyway, you should definitely make the effort to take at least a day trip into Bach Ma National Park.