VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

Ha Noi

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BA VI NATIONAL PARK

IDD Code:(+84) 34
Centred on scenic Ba Vi Mountain (Nui Ha Vi), Ba Vi National Park (tell: 881205; admission 10.000d. motorbike 5000d) attracts Hanoians looking for' a weekend escape from the city. The park has several rare and endangered plants in its protected forest, and its mamnals include two species of rare 'flying' squirrel. Human encroachment on the area has made the chances of seeing any of these pretty rare. There's an orchid garden and a bird garden, and hiking opportunities through the forested slopes of the mountain. There's a temple to Uncle Ho at the mountain's summit (1276m) - it's a hard but beautiful 30-minute climb up 1229 steps through the forest - with spectacular views of the Red River valley and Hanoi in the distance. At least there are views between April and December when the air is clear; at other times it's damp and misty but eerily atmospheric. The road to the summit car park is seriously steep, slippery and narrow, but road widening is ongoing.
Steeping & Eating
Ba Vi Guesthouse (tell: 881 197; r 120,000- 150,000d) spreads over several blocks in the heart of the park. Prices arc an extra 50,000d per room on weekends and there's a big swimming pool that is chaos in the summer months. Go for one of the less-noisy guesthouses away from the pool and restaurant area if you're here on a weekend. You must have your passport with you to check into the guesthouse here. Despite its unpromising appearance, the park restaurant serves good, cheap, fresh-cooked food; a tasty meal for two costs around 50,000d, so make this your lunch stop if you're on a day trip. The toilets are terrible - pec behind a tree.
Getting There & Away
Ba Vi National Park is about 65km west of Hanoi, and the only practical option for visiting is by hired vehicle from Hanoi. Travelline by motorbike, it is possible to visit Ba Vi before taking a beautiful riverside road down to Hoa Binh and onwards into the northwest. There has been some confusion between attractions near Ba Vi town, which is well away from the park boundaries, and Ba Vi National Park. Make sure your driver known you want the national park.