Location: Nguyen Binh District, Cao Bang Province
Ideal for: Hiking
Height: 1,935 meters
Time to summit: 2 to 3 days
Difficulty level: Normal

The Phia Oac area has a complex segmented topography characterized by narrow valleys and high and steep mountains. Many summits are 1000m to nearly 2000m asl, such as Phia Oac (1935m), which is the second highest mountain in Cao Bang.

  1. Introduction to Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park
  2. Interesting points of National Park Phia Oac – Phia Den
  3. When to Visit
  4. How to Get There

Introduction to Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park

Established as a nature reserve a few decades prior, the Vietnamese government decided to award Phia Oac – Phia Den with national park status in 2018. The new national park title aims to not only protect the land but also establish funding for research, conservation, and eco-tourism.

Historically, Phia Oac – Phia Den has been a target due to its rare or luxurious resources. The park’s mountains and terrain have a mixture of karst and granite rocks as well as karst and non-karst formations. The cooler climate in Phia Oac – Phia Den has allowed rare plant species to thrive, many of which are now endangered due to their highly sought bark, leaves, and seeds.

The land around Phia Oac – Phia Den is known for its beauty. During the 20th century, French colonists were drawn to the grandiose landscapes in Cao Bang Province. Reaping the rewards of an untouched paradise, the French constructed many villas throughout the local towns that now serve as vacation houses for tourists.

Looking Up Towards a Limestone Karst in Phia Oac-Phia Den National Park Vietnam. Photo by: Adam Jones.

Geologically, the area is a mixture of limestone, sandstone, shale and granite, which results in karst landscapes mixed with earthy mountains. The diversity of topography, geomorphology and geology together with specific climatic conditions produces characteristic high mountain ecosystems and rich biodiversity of the area.

In the distant past, the area was transformed from an ocean to a continent c.250 million years ago. It witnessed then widespread magmatic activities, with strong but smouldering “flaming mountains” extending deep in the Earth 85-95 million years ago, which caused intensive changes in the surrounding rocks. In the last phases, the gas-rich magma caused even more intensive changes, including the formation of rare and precious minerals. Depending on the composition of the surrounding rocks, different types of minerals were formed, such as tungsten in Ban O and Lung Muoi, tin in Tinh Tuc, and fluorite containing radioactive elements in Binh Duong.

Later mountain building resulted in the Phia Oac Mountain with different ranges of sub climate from the base to the summit. Accordingly, the vegetation is extremely diverse, with multi-layered structure and extensive cover as well as special high-mountain ecosystems such as dwarf and moss forests.

The presence of minerals, the pleasant climate and the beautiful forests were attractive to the French, who occupied this area from the early 20th century and left lots remnants of villas, guest houses and official residences.

Phia Oac is also adorned with indigenous ethnic cultures of the Dao, Nung, Tay, Mong people, with vibrant and various colors and themes, expressed in the costumes, beliefs and folks.

Interesting points of National Park Phia Oac – Phia Den

About geology

Phja Oac – Phja Den National Park has a total area of ​​more than 10 thousand hectares, including 3 main subdivisions: strict protection area, ecological restoration area and administrative service area, with a variety of vegetation things such as: closed tropical humid evergreen forest, monsoon rainy sub-tropical forest and dwarf forest, also known as moss forest – a type of primeval forest on the high mountains characteristic of the temperate climate in northern Vietnam.

Besides, the topography here is also very rich, from winding rivers, valley-like valleys, low mountain ranges extending to tall mountains with great slopes.

Photo by Ha Cuong

In particular, there are many mountain peaks with quite impressive heights: Phia Den peak is 1,391m high, Tam Loang peak is 1,446m high, Niot Ti peak is 1,574m high and Phia Oac is 1,935m high is called the “roof. west of Cao Bang province “.

In addition, the Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park also has a quite diverse geological structure, with a mixture of limestone, granite intrusive rocks and continental rocks, creating many rare minerals such as: gold, silver, tin, uranium and tungsten ores …

About the flora

The diverse flora with up to 1,287 species of 786 genera in 202 families of 6 branches is a special attraction that no one can ignore when visiting Phia Oac – Phia Den national forest.

In which, up to 90 species of rare and endangered plants are listed in the Red Book of Vietnam for conservation, including: rocky alpine, rosemary, rosemary, pistachio, chrysanthemum , hazelnuts, slices of flowers and clenched …

Photo by Ha Cuong

Moreover, Mount Phia Oac is also a huge treasure of Vietnamese medicinal herbs, with rare medicinal herbs such as: most flowers, glitter, cordyceps or mountain ginseng … and The tea forests are immense, fresh, attracting many tourists to visit every day.

About the fauna

It will be a huge shortcoming if it comes to the diverse ecosystem of Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park , ignoring the extremely rich fauna here, with 496 species of vertebrates, thousands of insect species, hundreds of birds, reptiles, amphibians, 80 species of seasonal animals and 66 species of butterflies …

Animals are very rich (Photo @ stanleychu2019)

In particular, up to 58 species in this “house” belong to a group of rare and endangered animals, 30 species of mammals listed in the Vietnam Red Book and 3 species of reptiles and 2 amphibian species in the ranking. critically endangered.

Some typical species can be mentioned as: Northeast black gibbon, chamois, musk deer, monkey, civet, civet, white tailed flying squirrel, horse bear, small coolie, big coolie and wild cat. ..

The romantic scene is charming

It can be said that nature is extremely fond of not only giving Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park a fresh and cool atmosphere in four seasons, but also high mountains and vegetation. Blue and white clouds all year round cover the top of the mountain, creating a charming, beautiful scene like a fairyland.

A romantic view on top of a mountain (Photo @ nguyenthihuong3083)

And although this place is also a picture of majestic and poetic at any time, but the most attractive is spring and winter.

When spring comes, Phja Oac – Phja Den is replaced by a bright coat, because countless wild flowers blooming, such as the seductive reds of azaleas, jade green Bridge or dreamlike purple, yellow, white color of the branches of forest orchids.

Flowers in full bloom (Photo @thuhoaiii ____ 95)

In particular, the cool climate and high humidity of the mountain also make the flowers here bloom bigger, the colors are more vibrant and the fragrance is sweeter, making everyone here fascinated.

When winter comes, like Mau Son peak in Lang Son or Fansipan peak in Lao Cai , Phia Oac mountain peak in Cao Bang is also covered by snow and dense fog surrounds, immersed in white color. pure, clear, giving us the feeling of being lost in the magnificent scenery of a dream fairytale from childhood.

Photo by Ha Cuong

Moreover, sometimes there are gentle rays of the sun shining on thin ice that will make them shine sparkling rays or reflect a shimmering 7-color rainbow, making everyone admire and admire. stop.

Photo by Ha Cuong

Revealing, Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park was once a resort of the old French, so today there are still traces of ancient villas or European-style motels. French authorities so that visitors can visit.

Bring many great meanings

The biodiversity of the Phia Oac – Phia Den conservation area is not only of great value in scientific research, gene conservation and environmental education, but also as a “green lung” to regulate climate, carbon sequestration, soil protection, water regulation and erosion, flooding and landslides control, but also develop local tourism, thereby contributing to stabilizing production, improving living standards for people in the area.

Photo by Ha Cuong

With the majestic and poetic scenery, Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park will definitely become an extremely HOT tourist destination of Cao Bang in the future, next to the Pac Bo tourist resort or Ban Gioc waterfall.

When to Visit

Vietnam has two seasons – wet and dry. Generally, weather favors visitors during the dry season which occurs from October to April. In northern areas, like where Phia Oac – Phia Den is located, it can be quite cold in the winter months, with or without rain.

In the mountains, rain or mist can occur year-round. The difference is that the amount of rain in the dry season is much less than during the official wet season, which is from May to October. Most visitors will prefer to visit the national park during the dry season to escape the heat and humidity of summer.

How to Get There

With the national park situated north of Hanoi, most visitors will travel from the capital to Cao Bang City, with a few choosing to further to Tinh Tuc Village. The only way to get from Hanoi to either Cao Bang City or Tinh Tuc is by road. Tourists will have the option of hiring a private driver, taking a public bus, or renting a vehicle to make the journey.

Overnight buses are an affordable option for budget travelers, but it can take up to 8 hours of driving time to reach Cao Bang City. Private drivers are the fastest way to travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang City, and they provide both excellent service and safety. Renting cars or motorcycles is another option, though not recommended for travelers who are wary of driving in a foreign country.

From Cao Bang City, travelers can arrange both public or private transportation into the national park. Tourists who book a tour with a local company will likely find that transportation to Phia Oac – Phia Den is included in their package.

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