Ben En National Park is one of the must-visit destinations when traveling to Thanh Hoa. For ages, Ben En has been not only a scientific research site but also an amazing ecotourism destination in Central Vietnam. Let’s explore the beauty of the “Halong bay on land” in this article!
1. Overview of Ben En National Park Vietnam
1.1. Location of Ben En National Park
Stretching over the two districts of Nhu Thanh and Nhu Xuan in Thanh Hoa province, Ben En National Park (in Vietnamese: Bến En National Park) is an extremely attractive destination for anyone who loves the wildness of nature. It is about 46 kilometers Southwest from the center of Thanh Hoa City.
Ben En was first established as a national park in 1992, and then expanded to now encompass an area of nearly 16,634 hectares, which are mainly primeval forest with extremely rich flora and fauna. It is also prominent with the 4000-hectare Muc River. The deep blue river surface creates a charming marine landscape.
1.2. Ecosystem of Ben En
The National Park of Ben En has a wide and diverse system of lakes, caves, mountains and forest that is utilized to develop ecotourism. Ben En River and Muc River are the two biggest rivers there. While Ben En River brings the tranquil atmosphere with fresh air, Muc River features a variety of animals such as fish, birds, insects that live in the caves and islets of the river.
The national park boasts rich flora with 462 species and 125 orders, including valuable woods like green ironwood and mahogany. There are also a wide range of trees such as Cho chi (Parashorea chinensis Wang hsie), Vu huong (Cinnamomum balansae), Sen mat (Madhuca pasquieri), Vang tam (Manglietia fordiana), Lim xet (Peltophorum tonkinensis)... and over 300 species of rare medicinal herbs.
Surrounded by hills and mountains, Ben En is also a home to more than 1,000 animal species, including 91 species of mammals, 261 species of birds, 68 species of fish, 54 species of reptiles, 31 species of amphibians and 499 species of insects.
Nevertheless, Ben En National Park in Thanh Hoa is not only a protected breeding ground of many rare creatures, but also an attractive destination for ecotourism with its poetic and majestic sceneries.
1.3. Tickets to Ben En
- Ticket to Ben En National Park Thanh Hoa: FREE
Tourists arriving at the Ben En eco-tourism site only need to pay for other services such as parking, canoeing along the Muc River…
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2. How to get to Ben En National Park Thanh Hoa?
To get to Ben En National Park, you can choose among some means of transports as follow:
- Private bus service: You can choose fixed-route buses to Thanh Hoa like Tien Phuong or Hoang Long bus service… Remember to check whether the bus arrives in Nhu Xuan district. Upon arrival, you take a motorbike to get to Ben En.
- Personal vehicle: It is the best and most interesting way for you to explore the national park as you can enjoy the scenery on your own way. However, the distance from Hanoi to Ben En is quite long, you should prepare and drive carefully.
- Rent a car: In addition to the above vehicles, you can also rent a car to go on a group tour. This will both ensure safety and help you save money.
3. 6 must-try things to do in Ben En National Park Vietnam
3.1. Contemplating the Muc River by canoeing
The most prominent feature of Ben En National Park is the peaceful Muc River. Covering an area of 4,000 hectares, Muc River consists of 21 islands covered by green forests, along with wonderful caves. This makes a romantic landscape.
One of the must-try things to do in Ben En is enjoying river tours. There are 8 tourist routes by boat that stop by the islands on Muc River. The shortest route is 1.5 kilometers and the longest is 8.5 kilometers. The ticket price of canoes and ships in Muc River ranges from 60,000-120,000 VND/person (depending on whether the tourists are children or adults).
Besides, you can also swim or dive in the river. The water is clean and smooth with light ripples, ensuring safety and making it an ideal activity for travel-makers to try.
Especially in Autumn, there are boating and swimming festivals on the river. The quiet river surface becomes vibrant due to fascinating activities with the participation of many local people and tourists.
3.2. Explore the ancient Ngoc Cave
The nearly 15,000-hectare Ben En National Park in Thanh Hoa possesses lots of mysteries that challenge tourists to explore. Ngoc Cave is regarded as a gem of the national park. The name “Ngoc” originates from the fact that in the middle of the cave, there is a sparkling stone made of stalactites from ancient times.
According to the legends, when bathing in a stream flowing along Ngoc Cave, people will have their sin and dust washed away. Although this has never been verified, local people always believe it. Tourists visit this site because they also want to experience the feeling of purity, specially to drop themselves in the gentle stream.
You can rent a boat to visit Ngoc Cave. Along the way, you will come across an ancient tree - it is the entrance gate of the cave. You can sit on the cliffs and take photos with the sparkling emulsions there. It is an ideal place to enjoy the atmosphere, nature and learn about the past.
3.3. Observe wildlife species in Ben En National Park Thanh Hoa
Ben En National Park has diversified and abundant flora and fauna systems with more than 1,415 plant species and 1,460 animal species, of which many rare species are listed in Vietnam Red Books such as madhuca pasquieri, lophura nycthemera, parashorea chinensis, bears, tigers…
Visiting the park, tourists can have a chance to observe the life of wild animals, enjoy the purity of nature and understand the importance of protecting the natural habitats of wild species. Remember not to touch, feed the animals or make noise, which makes them scared.
3.4. Visit Ben En Museum
Located right next to the welcome gate in Ben En National Park, the museum stores many antiques and historical relics. The museum is built spaciously and modernly, with a cool four-panel window system surrounded by peach trees. From here you can feast your eyes on the panorama view of the river.
If you travel in a group tour, the tour guide will introduce to you the highlights and historical facts related to the exhibited items. It should be noted that cameras or any kinds of physically copying devices are not allowed.
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3.5. Experience the lifestyle of local people
In order to have authentic experiences in Ben En, you should not miss the chance to take part in the activities of local people. Here you can visit and experience the lifestyle of the ethnic people, which are mostly Thai people.
You will be impressed by some unique cultural features like drinking through the nose, catching fish on Muc River or enjoying special festivals… The local people are very friendly and kind, they always welcome visitors to try to cook and taste their local specialties such as sour soup cooked from sesame, bitter soup cooked from pig liver and a special kind of Ben En bitter leaves, grilled fish directly on the side of the river bank.
3.6. Camp at Ben En National Park
The national park of Ben En is a nice place to go camping. This activity is free, you can choose to camp anywhere in the park. You can also rent tents and other camping gears near Ben En. Remember not to leave littler behind before leaving the park.
Apart from Thanh Hoa, Vietnam is home to numerous other spectacular destinations, such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long, where you will be impressed by the mesmerizing blend of landscapes, culture, and cuisine. In these destinations, choosing a comfortable accommodation is key to enhancing your overall travel experience. Thus, it is highly suggested that you stay at the hotels and resorts of Vinpearl.
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With the advantages of nature beauty and diverse ecological system, there is no doubt that Ben En National Park is a must-visit destination when traveling to Thanh Hoa. “The Halong Bay on Land” promises to bring you unforgettable experiences regarding various species as well as a closer look on the lifestyle of local people.