A remarkable country in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is known to be a brave and strong country after the wars this land had experienced. It is positioned in the easternmost part of the Indochina region and is bounded by China on the north, Laos and Cambodia on the west, on the northern and southern part respectively. At east, the South China Sea meets the shores of this country. Northern Vietnam is highly elevated compared to the south. It also holds an extensive river system and lush forests. Because of the varying terrain, its climatic patterns have also become erratic depending on the geographical area and the elevation. It is a treasured country for biodiversity studies and conservation because of its high species diversity in both plant and animal life. In fact, it contains two areas in the list of Natural World Heritage Sites and multiple biosphere reserves with various types of ecosystems. Vietnam is truly a land of spectacular diversity.
Ha Long Bay
One of the two World Heritage sites in Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is located in the north-eastern part of Vietnam. “Ha Long” means “Bay of Descending Dragons” named after a legend speaks of how dragons defended the Vietnamese from Chinese colonizers. The dragons spewed out jade stones and jewels which became the rock formations that formed a wall against possible invaders. There is also a story wherein a huge sea snake was supposedly found on its waters by sailors. The site is renowned for its numerous limestone rock formations and islets, which house numerous caves with karst formation. Not only is the scenery outstanding, the bay also shelters several endemic species in its two ecosystems.
Nui Ba Den
Another historical site of a fierce battle that occurred in Vietnam, Ba Den Mountain hides several caves that have become sacred temples to the local residents. Its name means “Black Lady Mountain” which stems from another legend. A woman named Ly Thi Thien Huong threw herself from this very mountain to escape a forced marriage to a rich man while her lover was fighting a war. A combination of a sacred temple, a natural sanctuary and a park, Nui Ba Den is a wonderful Vietnam experience.
Right at the tip of South Vietnam is the Mekong Delta where the Mekong River passes and leaves sediments to this region as it empties to the sea. Due to the different terrains this delta ranging from highlands to flat plains, there have been thousands of new species found on this region. This makes the Mekong delta a valuable biological area and is given a priority in conservation especially against the threat of climate change.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Strategically located right at the center of Vietnam, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the second World Heritage site in Vietnam. Its complex cave system, containing karst formation and underground rivers, as well as the dense limestone forest have made this park priceless. It has four exceptional features that have made the site world-class namely: the longest underground river, the largest cavern system, the widest underground beaches and the most impressive display of stalagmites and stalactite formations. Its main ecosystem is the tropical evergreen forest that grows unusually on limestone. Alongside the abundant vegetation is a heavy population of wildlife with a number of species declared as endangered. Historically, it is significant in the archaeological realm because of the relics left by human ancestors that lived in the Neolithic Age. The overwhelming value of this park has made it a real treasure of Vietnam.
Binh Chau Thermal Springs
Located east of the city of Vung Tau, the thermal springs is a complex of several ponds and lakes with an underground mineral pool as a source. Bathing in the spring is said to have healing properties for rheumatism and skin ailments. The spring can reach a temperature of 80°C, enough to boil an egg for ten minutes. Alongside the famous springs are numerous sceneries of lakes, forests and beaches in a protected area at which Binh Chau Thermal Springs belongs to.