The park is one of Vietnam’s most significant and essential special-use forests. Because the climate, weather, and topography of Hoang Lien change depending on its altitude, it has a vibrant ecosystem of plants and animals with many unique traits.

Over the years, more and more tourists have been coming to Hoang Lien National Park. This forest is an excellent place for nature lovers and ecotourists.

Where is Hoang Lien National Park?

The highest peak in Indochina, Fansipan, is in the national park. It is part of the Hoang Lien Son range and is 1,000-3,143m above sea level. The park covers 28,500.56 hectares and is in the provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau.

Where is Hoang Lien National Park?

This park is an extension of the Ailao Shan mountain range from China, which runs east of the Himalayas and divides the area into two subregions with temperate and subtropical climates.

Because of these features, many biologists worldwide think Hoang Lien National Park is one of Vietnam’s most biologically diverse places.

There are three parts to Hoang Lien National Park: the strictly protected area (11,800 ha), the ecological restoration area (17,900 ha), and the administrative, tourism, and service area (1,400 ha) (70ha).

The park also has a buffer zone of 38,724 ha that is next to and covers part of the area of neighboring communes in the Van Ban district of Lao Cai province and Than Uyen, Phong Tho district in Lai Chau province.

How do tourists get to Hoang Lien National Park?

Hoang Lien National Park is about 20 km from the center of Sa Pa town. Tourists must get over the steep, winding roads on the O Quy Ho pass and the Hoang Lien pass to get there.

How do tourists get to Hoang Lien National Park?

As visitors continue to follow the winding path around the mountainside at an altitude of more than 1,000m above sea level, they will see all of the Northwest mountains’ beautiful natural scenery.

The green of the great forest fills the overlapping mountains, the clouds are white, and the rushing sound of the waterfall can be heard in the wind. These things paint a wild, poetic picture of nature that makes people want to keep exploring.

From the bus station in Sapa town center, tourists coming from other cities can easily rent a motorbike or take a taxi to the foot of Hoang Lien National Park.

But because the trip to the national park is still rough and wild, visitors are encouraged to hire a local guide to ensure their safety and learn about the ecosystem along the way here.

The rich biodiversity of Hoang Lien Son National Park

Hoang Lien National Park’s plants and animals are diverse, rich, and unique to Vietnam. For example, many species can only be found in Hoang Lien and elsewhere in Vietnam.

The rich biodiversity of Hoang Lien Son National Park

The World Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Plant Conservation Program chose Hoang Lien National Park as a Center for Diversity of Plants (IUCN).

The Global Environment Fund also puts the park in class A, the highest biodiversity value in Vietnam. In 2006, ASEAN named Hoang Lien National Park an ASEAN Heritage Park.

Hoang Lien National Forest’s plants

There are 2,847 species of higher vascular plants in Hoang Lien National Park. These plants belong to 1,064 genera, 229 families, and six botanical branches. This park is where rare forest flowers like orchids and azaleas grow and bloom yearly.

Hoang Lien National Forest's plants

Many orchids are only found in Sa Pa, like the Sapa Jellyfish Orchid (Anoectochilus chapaensis Gagnep.) and the Moi day orchid (Epigeneium chapaense Gagnep).

In 2019, the Himalayan Lobster, a new species of orchid, was found at 2,500m in Hoang Lien National Park (Corybas himalaicus). This species of orchid is unique. You can often find it in mossy patches by the side of the road or on big rocks in mossy forests.

In particular, from late March to June every year, when the azaleas bloom, the Hoang Lien forest shines in red, pink, purple, yellow, and white.

From a distance, tourists can see a forest with thousands of green trees, each with a patch of blooming azaleas, wild orchids, and plum flowers.

Also, Hoang Lien National Park has many ancient tree trunks which have been standing for hundreds of years. These trunks are as wide as a few people hugging and as tall as several tens of meters. They are like “green giants” that will surprise visitors.

Hoang Lien National Park is known as the “kingdom of flowers” and the home of “green giants.” It is also home to 754 species of valuable medicinal plants.

Hoang Lien National Forest's plants

Some species of medicinal plants, like Vu Phap Ginseng, Ginseng Bamboo, Hoang Lien, Bean Trong, Tho Hoang Lien, and Hiep Duong Hoac, are only found in Vietnam.

The only place where the valuable medicinal herbs Orchidaceae, tinsel orchid, 1-leaf orchid, lime bulb tuber, and chrysanthemum are still growing is in Sa Pa.

Hoang Lien National Forest’s different animals

In addition to the wide variety of plants, the National Park is home to many different kinds of animals. 

Hoang Lien National Forest’s different animals

There are 66 mammals, 347 species of birds, 41 species of amphibians, and 61 species of reptiles. The Red Book lists 16 rare species, including thorn frogs.

This place has common animals like flying squirrels, wild cats, chamois, and black gibbons, and endangered animals like red eagles, silver langurs, and black gibbons.

Hoang Lien National Park is also home to 347 different species of birds, such as the giant spotted eagle, red-crested pheasant, and a yellow-billed hornbill, which are all very important to Vietnam.

Not only do they learn about the variety of nature, but visitors also experience many well-known places in Hoang Lien National Park, such as the Silver Waterfall, the Golden Waterfall, the Fairy Waterfall, the May bridge, and the ancient stone contains many legends.

The best time to explore Hoang Lien National Park

Visitors should come to discover Hoang Lien National Park between December and April. It is dry and great for hiking, exploring, and learning about nature.

The best time to explore Hoang Lien National Park

Also, this is the least turbulent storm time of year in Lao Cai, which is suitable for travel and sightseeing.

At any time of year, visitors to Hoang Lien National Park should bring a thin sweater because it gets cold at night and tight clothes to keep mosquitoes away.

And especially insect repellents, some topical drugs to avoid mosquitoes, and squeeze. Some essential medical first aid tools include medicines for stomach pain, headaches, and lowering a fever.

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