Xuan Thuy National Park Wildlife guide – update 2023

Xuan Thuy National Park is a protected area in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam, covering an area of 12,000 hectares. It is the largest wetland reserve in Vietnam, with over 6,000 hectares of wetlands and tidal flats. The park is known for its rich biodiversity, including over 150 species of birds, 80 species of fish, and 30 species of mangroves. The park’s wetlands and tidal flats are a critical habitat for migratory birds, and Xuan Thuy is recognized as a Ramsar site and a part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

The park is a popular destination for ecotourism and bird watching, offering boat tours and bird watching tours with local guides. Xuan Thuy National Park is also home to several traditional fishing villages, where you can learn about the local way of life and enjoy fresh seafood. The park’s conservation efforts include habitat restoration, wetland management, and community engagement

Find out about: Vietnam Birding Tours & National Park Tour

Fact: One interesting fact about Xuan Thuy National Park is that it is the first wetland reserve in Vietnam to be recognized as a Ramsar site, which is a wetland of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar site designation recognizes the park's ecological importance and its role in supporting the conservation of migratory waterbirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Xuan Thuy is a must-visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are 9 highlights to look forward to:

Here are 9 highlights to look forward to for wildlife and nature enthusiasts visiting Xuan Thuy National Park:

  1. Bird Watching: Xuan Thuy National Park is a paradise for bird watchers with over 150 bird species including some rare and endangered species such as the Black-faced Spoonbill, Saunders’s Gull, and Great Knot.
  2. Wetlands and Tidal Flats: The park’s wetlands and tidal flats are critical habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife, making it an important destination for ecotourism and nature lovers.
  3. Mangrove Forest: Xuan Thuy National Park is home to a beautiful and extensive mangrove forest, which is not only beautiful but also important for the conservation of various species.
  4. Fishing Villages: The park is home to several traditional fishing villages where you can learn about the local way of life, enjoy fresh seafood and witness the traditional fishing techniques.
  5. Ramsar Site: Xuan Thuy National Park is a Ramsar site, which is a wetland of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention.
  6. East Asian-Australasian Flyway: The park is an important stopover for migratory birds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
  7. Biodiversity: The park boasts a rich biodiversity with over 80 species of fish and 30 species of mangroves, apart from a wide variety of bird species.
  8. Boat Tours: you can take a boat tour of the wetlands and tidal flats, which offers a unique and immersive experience of the park’s natural beauty.
  9. Conservation Efforts: The park’s conservation efforts include habitat restoration, wetland management, and community engagement, making it a responsible and sustainable ecotourism destination.
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Visit Xuan Thuy for wildlife

Xuan Thuy National Park is a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts, particularly bird watchers. The park is home to over 150 bird species, including some rare and endangered species such as the Black-faced Spoonbill, Saunders’s Gull, and Great Knot. The wetlands and tidal flats of the park provide critical habitat for migratory birds, making it an important destination for bird watching and ecotourism.

You can take a bird-watching tour with local guides, who can help them spot and identify the different bird species in the park. The park’s conservation efforts, including habitat restoration and wetland management, also contribute to the protection of the park’s wildlife and make it a responsible and sustainable ecotourism destination.

Tips

Visit Xuan Thuy

While Xuan Thuy National Park is known for its wildlife, there are still plenty of reasons to visit even if you’re not specifically interested in wildlife. Here are some of the other things you can do in the park:

  1. Relax on the Beaches: Xuan Thuy National Park has several beautiful beaches that are perfect for relaxing, sunbathing, and swimming. You can enjoy the scenery, take a walk along the beach, or just lay back and enjoy the sunshine.
  2. Learn About Local Culture: The park is surrounded by traditional Vietnamese villages where you can learn about local culture and history. You can visit nearby markets, explore traditional architecture, and try local food and drinks.
  3. Explore the Mangrove Forest: The park’s extensive mangrove forest is not only a habitat for wildlife but also a beautiful natural attraction that you can explore on foot or by boat.
  4. Boat Tours: The park offers boat tours of its wetlands and tidal flats, which offer a unique and immersive experience of the park’s natural beauty.
  5. Photography: Xuan Thuy National Park is a photographer’s dream with its stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and colorful local culture.
  6. Trekking: The park offers several trekking routes that take you through the mangrove forests and along the coastline, providing an opportunity to explore the park’s natural beauty.
  7. Cycling: You can rent a bike and explore the park’s surrounding area, including nearby villages and markets.

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 Xuan Thuy national park. You will be surprised what you would have walked past without noticing had you been visiting on your own!

Visit on weekdays

Xuan Thuy national park is Vietnam’s most popular national park. 80% of the visitors in Xuan Thuy 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.

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…

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What is there to see?

Xuan Thuy National Park offers a variety of sights and activities to visitors. Here are some of the top things to see and do in the park:

  1. Bird Watching: Xuan Thuy National Park is a popular destination for bird watchers with over 150 bird species, including some rare and endangered species such as the Black-faced Spoonbill, Saunders’s Gull, and Great Knot.
  2. Wetlands and Tidal Flats: The park’s wetlands and tidal flats provide a critical habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, making it an important destination for ecotourism and nature lovers.
  3. Mangrove Forest: The park is home to a beautiful and extensive mangrove forest, which is not only visually stunning but also important for the conservation of various species.
  4. Traditional Fishing Villages: The park is home to several traditional fishing villages where You can learn about the local way of life, enjoy fresh seafood, and witness traditional fishing techniques.
  5. Boat Tours: You can take a boat tour of the wetlands and tidal flats, which offers a unique and immersive experience of the park’s natural beauty.
  6. Ramsar Site: Xuan Thuy National Park is a Ramsar site, which is a wetland of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention.
  7. Biodiversity: The park boasts a rich biodiversity with over 80 species of fish and 30 species of mangroves, apart from the wide variety of bird species.
  8. Beaches: The park’s beaches are beautiful and offer a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.
  9. Local Culture: You can learn about the local culture by visiting nearby villages, exploring traditional markets, and trying local food
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Other activities

In addition to wildlife watching and the activities mentioned earlier, here are some other things you can do at Xuan Thuy National Park:

  1. Camping: Xuan Thuy National Park offers camping facilities, allowing you to immerse yourself in the park’s natural environment and enjoy the peace and quiet of the surrounding area.
  2. Kayaking: You can rent a kayak and explore the park’s wetlands, tidal flats, and mangrove forests at your own pace, providing a unique and up-close experience of the park’s natural beauty.
  3. Fishing: Fishing is a popular activity in the park, and you can try their hand at traditional fishing techniques or go on a guided fishing tour.
  4. Beach Sports: The park’s beaches are ideal for playing beach volleyball, soccer, or other sports with family and friends.
  5. Wildlife Photography: Xuan Thuy National Park is a great destination for wildlife photography, with opportunities to capture images of various bird species, as well as other wildlife.
  6. Educational Tours: The park offers educational tours that teach visitors about the park’s history, ecology, and conservation efforts.
  7. Relaxation: Xuan Thuy National Park is a great place to unwind and relax, offering a tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle of city life

How to get to Xuan Thuy?

Xuan Thuy National Park is located in Nam Dinh Province, about 150km south-east of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. Here are some ways to get to Xuan Thuy:

  1. By car or motorbike: You can rent a car or motorbike and drive to Xuan Thuy National Park. The journey takes around 3 hours from Hanoi. If you prefer to take a taxi, you can also arrange a private taxi service.
  2. By bus: Several bus companies operate services between Hanoi and Nam Dinh city. From Nam Dinh city, you can take a local bus or taxi to Xuan Thuy National Park.
  3. By train: The nearest train station to Xuan Thuy is Nam Dinh Station, which is located about 18km from the park. Trains from Hanoi to Nam Dinh take around 2-3 hours, depending on the type of train.
  4. By organized tour: Many tour companies offer organized tours to Xuan Thuy National Park, which usually include transportation, accommodation, and activities.

Once you arrive at the park, you can explore the park on foot or rent a bike or boat to explore the surrounding area.

Weather & Climate in Xuan Thuy

Xuan Thuy National Park has a subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Here is an overview of the weather and climate in Xuan Thuy:

  1. Spring (March – May): Spring is a pleasant time to visit Xuan Thuy, with mild temperatures and low humidity. The average temperature during this season ranges from 20°C to 28°C (68°F to 82°F).
  2. Summer (June – August): Summer is hot and humid in Xuan Thuy, with temperatures ranging from 28°C to 36°C (82°F to 97°F). This is also the rainy season, with occasional heavy rain and thunderstorms.
  3. Autumn (September – November): Autumn is a good time to visit Xuan Thuy, with clear blue skies, cool temperatures, and low humidity. The average temperature during this season ranges from 20°C to 28°C (68°F to 82°F).
  4. Winter (December – February): Winter is the coldest season in Xuan Thuy, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). This is also the dry season, with clear blue skies and cool breezes.

Overall, the best time to visit Xuan Thuy National Park is from September to November, during the autumn season when the weather is cool and dry. However, the park can be visited throughout the year, depending on your interests and preferences. Just make sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear depending on the season.

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