Tam Dao Wildlife guide – update 2023
Tam Dao National Park is located in the north of Vietnam, about 70 kilometers northwest of Hanoi. The park covers an area of more than 36,000 hectares and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including many rare and endangered species.
The park is named after the Tam Dao mountain range, which runs through the park and reaches an elevation of 1,600 meters. The mountain range is covered in dense forests, making it a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
Some of the main attractions and activities in Tam Dao National Park include hiking, visiting waterfalls, and birdwatching. There are many hiking trails in the park that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Some popular trails include the Ta Lung trail and the Thien Nhi trail.
Tam Dao National Park is also home to several beautiful waterfalls, including the Silver Waterfall and the Thac Bac Waterfall. Visitors can also explore the park’s diverse wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as the Asiatic black bear, the red panda, and the Delacour’s langur
Fact: A fact about Tam Dao National Park is that it is considered one of the most important birdwatching sites in Vietnam. The park is home to over 140 bird species, including several that are endemic to the region or are considered globally threatened, such as the Blue-naped Pitta, the Grey-crowned Crocias, and the Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush. Birdwatchers from around the world visit Tam Dao National Park to observe these and other bird species in their natural habitat.
Tam Dao national is a must-visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are 9 highlights to look forward to:
Tam Dao National Park is indeed a beautiful destination for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are some highlights to look forward to:
- Biodiversity: Tam Dao National Park is home to a wide range of flora and fauna, with over 1,200 plant species and more than 200 animal species, including many rare and endangered species.
- Birdwatching: Tam Dao is a popular destination for birdwatchers, with over 300 bird species recorded in the park. Some of the most sought-after species include the Blue-naped Pitta, Silver Pheasant, and Black-throated Laughingthrush.
- Trekking: There are many trekking trails in Tam Dao, ranging from easy to challenging. You can explore the park’s lush forests, scenic waterfalls, and stunning mountain views.
- Waterfalls: Tam Dao National Park is home to several beautiful waterfalls, including Thac Bac (Silver Waterfall), Thac May (Cloud Waterfall), and Thac Gio (Wind Waterfall).
- Cave exploration: Tam Dao has several limestone caves that are worth exploring, such as the Hang But (Buddha Cave) and Hang Khoang (Mineral Cave).
- Wildlife watching: Besides birdwatching, visitors can also observe other animals such as langurs, macaques, civets, and even wild boars in their natural habitats.
- Photography: Tam Dao’s stunning scenery makes it a perfect destination for nature photography, whether it’s capturing the misty mountains, lush forests, or colorful wildlife.
- Cultural experiences: Tam Dao is also home to several ethnic minority groups, such as the San Diu and Tay, who have their unique customs, traditions, and handicrafts. Visitors can learn about their cultures and even participate in some of their activities.
- Relaxation: With its tranquil atmosphere, fresh mountain air, and natural hot springs, Tam Dao is an ideal place for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in nature
Visit Tam Dao for wildlife.
Tam Dao National Park is indeed an excellent destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to a diverse range of fauna, including some rare and endangered species. Here are some tips to make the most out of your visit to Tam Dao for wildlife watching:
- Hire a local guide: A knowledgeable local guide can help you spot wildlife more easily and identify the different species you encounter. They can also provide insights into the animals’ behavior and habitat.
- Bring binoculars and a camera: Binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens are essential tools for wildlife watching. They allow you to observe animals from a safe distance without disturbing them and capture great photos of your sightings.
- Be patient and observant: Wildlife watching requires patience and a keen eye. Take your time, and don’t rush through the park. Stay quiet and watch for signs of movement, such as rustling leaves or branches.
- Visit at the right time: Some animals are more active at certain times of the day or year. For example, birdwatching is best early in the morning, while you’re more likely to spot some mammals at dusk or dawn.
- Respect the animals: Tam Dao National Park is a protected area, and it’s essential to respect the wildlife and their habitat. Keep a safe distance, avoid disturbing the animals, and do not feed them.
By following these tips, you’ll increase your chances of spotting some of Tam Dao’s amazing wildlife, such as langurs, macaques, civets, wild boars, and various bird species
Visit Tam Dao
If you are visiting Tam Dao National Park not for wildlife, here are some other things you can do:
- Relax in nature: Tam Dao’s fresh mountain air, tranquil atmosphere, and beautiful scenery make it a perfect place to unwind and relax. You can take a leisurely walk along one of the park’s many hiking trails, have a picnic in the lush forest, or simply enjoy the mountain views.
- Visit the Tam Dao ancient church: The Tam Dao ancient church, also known as the Stone Church, is a beautiful and historic landmark located in the heart of Tam Dao town. The church was built in the early 20th century and is a popular destination for visitors.
- Visit the Silver Waterfall: The Silver Waterfall, also known as Thac Bac, is one of the most popular waterfalls in Tam Dao. It’s located about 12 kilometers from the town and is easily accessible by car or motorbike.
- Explore Tam Dao town: Tam Dao town is a quaint and charming place with narrow streets, colorful buildings, and a relaxed atmosphere. You can explore the town’s local markets, try some local street food, or visit the Tam Dao night market, which is open on weekends.
- Soak in hot springs: Tam Dao is also known for its natural hot springs, which are said to have therapeutic properties. You can soak in one of the many hot springs in the park or visit one of the nearby hot springs resorts for a more luxurious experience
There is no ATM here so its better that take cash with you
Go with local guide
We don’t tell you this to sell more tours, but simply because it’s the best way to see more wildlife.
And not to get lost…
The local guides know the park from the inside out and know where the animals often forage. More importantly, the guides have well-trained eyes that will help you to discover everything from the smallest to the largest wonders of Tam Dao national park. You will be surprised what you would have walked past without noticing had you been visiting on your own!
Visit on weekdays
Tam Dao national park is Vietnam’s most popular national park. 80% of the visitors in Tam Dao are Vietnamese. It is great to see that locals are enjoying their own nature parks, which will only make them more aware of what still survives there. And hopefully helps in the protection of these wonderful places. But you might be looking for a place to get away from your busy daily life.
Try to avoid weekends and national holidays. If your planning only allows a visit on the weekend, it is definitely still worth visiting. But you will have to share the roads and the main attractions like the trails with many locals.
Like in other parks around the world with high visitor numbers, wildlife has learned that people are not to be feared. That’s why the popular parks often offer better wildlife observation opportunities than nature reserves with very low visitor numbers and therefore often bigger problems with poaching. The good news is that generally speaking, Vietnamese do not really like walking. Even less when it is in a jungle. So, even on busy weekends, you might still have the forest to yourself.
Do NOT feed the animals
Most people understand you should not feed the wildlife. In Tam Dao, the wildlife is quite shy but if you find some young macaque or mammals “DON’T FEED THEM”
Feeding wild animals can significantly change their behavior. Feeding or leaving unattended food to large animals, such as bears, can lead them to aggressively seek out food from people, sometimes resulting in injury. Feeding can also alter animal behavior so that animals routinely travel in larger groups, which can make disease transmission between animals more likely.
Bring a compass
This really only applies if you are visiting without a guide. Even though there has been some improvement on the more popular trails, still some trails in there are not well-marked. And besides that, there are no good trail maps available. Often (wildlife) trails branch off the original tourist trails and might cause confusion.
All people we have met who thought they had a good sense of direction, get totally disoriented in these jungles. It is easy when following e.g., a river. But once you get into the continuous forest it is really hard. Even the most basic map can help you if you bring a compass. Study the map before you start the trek.
If you do get lost, and know there is a road to the east that cuts through the entire park, a compass will help you find it. Without it, you are completely lost and will rely mostly on luck!
A compass and some basic study of the area/map would have solved this situation. Phone signal has improved a bit in recent years. But still, once you are deeper in the jungle, you won’t be able to call for help. With an analog compass, you do not rely on battery life.
The souvenir shop in the park at the visitor center might have cheap compasses in stock. But to be sure, better bring one from home or buy it before you enter the park, and test if it indeed points in the right direction…
What is there to see?
There are many things to see in Tam Dao National Park, Vietnam, including:
- Stunning natural scenery: Tam Dao is a mountainous region with breathtaking scenery, including lush forests, waterfalls, and mountains. Visitors can enjoy the views from various lookout points, trekking trails, or cable cars.
- Unique flora and fauna: Tam Dao National Park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including some rare and endangered ones. Visitors can spot colorful butterflies, various bird species, and other wildlife while exploring the park.
- Tam Dao ancient church: This beautiful and historic church is a landmark of Tam Dao town and attracts many visitors. The church was built in the early 20th century and is located in the town’s center.
- Local markets and street food: Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by exploring the town’s markets, trying out delicious street food, and interacting with the friendly locals.
- Tam Dao cable car: The cable car ride in Tam Dao is an exhilarating experience that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests. It’s a great way to explore the park and take in the natural beauty from above.
- Silver Waterfall: The Silver Waterfall, also known as Thac Bac, is a popular attraction in Tam Dao. It’s a beautiful waterfall located about 12 kilometers from the town and offers a refreshing escape from the heat
Apart from the activities mentioned earlier, here are some other things to do in Tam Dao National Park:
- Trekking: Tam Dao National Park has many trekking trails that offer different levels of difficulty and stunning views of the surrounding nature. Visitors can choose a trail that suits their level of fitness and explore the park’s mountains, waterfalls, and forests.
- Photography: Tam Dao’s natural scenery, unique flora and fauna, and historic landmarks make it an excellent destination for photography enthusiasts. Visitors can capture stunning photos of the park’s landscapes, wildlife, and cultural landmarks.
- Camping: Visitors can spend a night under the stars in Tam Dao National Park by camping at one of the designated campsites. It’s a unique and exciting way to experience the park’s natural beauty and tranquility.
- Rock climbing: Tam Dao National Park offers some excellent rock climbing opportunities for experienced climbers. The park has several cliffs and boulders that offer challenging routes and stunning views.
- Mountain biking: Mountain biking is a fun and adventurous way to explore Tam Dao National Park’s rugged terrain and enjoy the fresh mountain air. Visitors can rent a mountain bike from the town and explore the park’s trails and roads.
- Cultural experiences: Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting the nearby villages and interacting with the friendly locals. Visitors can learn about traditional crafts, music, and dance, and even participate in some cultural activities.
How to get to Tam Dao?
Tam Dao National Park is located about 70 kilometers northwest of Hanoi, Vietnam. Here are some ways to get there:
- By car or motorbike: Visitors can rent a car or motorbike in Hanoi and drive to Tam Dao National Park. The journey takes about 2 hours, and the road is scenic but can be challenging in some parts.
- By public bus: Visitors can take a public bus from Hanoi to Vinh Yen city, which is the nearest city to Tam Dao. From Vinh Yen, visitors can take another bus or taxi to Tam Dao. The total journey takes about 3-4 hours.
- By private transfer: Visitors can arrange for a private transfer from Hanoi to Tam Dao National Park. This is a convenient and comfortable option that offers door-to-door service.
- By motorbike tour: Visitors can also join a motorbike tour that takes them through the scenic countryside from Hanoi to Tam Dao. This is a unique and exciting way to explore the region and enjoy the scenery along the way.
Once you arrive in Tam Dao, there are several options for getting around, including taxis, motorbikes, and bicycles. The park is also small enough to explore on foot if you prefer to walk.
Weather & Climate in Tam Dao
Tam Dao National Park has a subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Here’s an overview of the weather and climate in Tam Dao:
- Spring (March to May): Spring in Tam Dao is mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 16°C to 24°C. The weather is generally dry, with occasional rain showers.
- Summer (June to August): Summer in Tam Dao is hot and humid, with average temperatures ranging from 26°C to 30°C. The weather is also wetter, with frequent rain showers and occasional thunderstorms.
- Autumn (September to November): Autumn in Tam Dao is cool and dry, with average temperatures ranging from 17°C to 25°C. The weather is generally sunny and clear, making it a great time to visit the park.
- Winter (December to February): Winter in Tam Dao is cold and dry, with average temperatures ranging from 10°C to 16°C. The weather is also foggy, with occasional snowfalls at higher elevations.
Overall, the best time to visit Tam Dao National Park is during the autumn months (September to November), when the weather is mild and pleasant, and the scenery is beautiful. However, visitors should be prepared for occasional rain showers throughout the year, especially during the summer months.