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Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians



When millions of ox-eye daisies erupt in Vietnam’s capital, it must mean winter is coming. Hanoians are flocking to daisy gardens to capture the moment.

Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
Early blossom ox-eye daisies enchant visitors (Photos: Minh Son/Vietnam+)
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
Late November is the season for ox-eye daisies as they spring up in rows along the banks of the Red River. This year, the flowers are in bloom earlier than in previous years. 
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
It takes farmers four months to grow these flowers. 
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
Thanks to their pure white beauty, these daisies have been popular for many years, and farmers have taken the opportunity to attract visitors to their fields.
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
Visitors passionately pose individually or in groups. They don’t want to miss a chance to capture wonderful moments with the flowers. (Photos: Minh Son/Vietnam+)
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
Each person has their own way of posing as they want to capture beautiful moments with the flowers, which are only in full bloom once a year. 
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
Taking pictures with ox-eye daisies has become a trend, especially among young people.
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
It is said each month in Hanoi is marked by the appearance of its own flower, offering an ideal time for locals to take photos with the blooming flowers as the seasons transition.
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
Each person has their own way of posing as they want to capture beautiful moments with the flowers, which are only in full bloom once a year.
Blossoming daisies charm Hanoians
When millions of ox-eye daisies erupt in Vietnam’s capital, it must mean winter is coming. Hanoians are flocking to daisy gardens to capture the moment. (Photos: Minh Son/Vietnam+)




A slice of biodiverse paradise



Rangers at Bai Tu Long National Conservation Park dedicated to preserving its natural beauty and flora and fauna.

A slice of biodiverse paradise
OUT OF REACH: Cai Lim Island in Bai Tu Long Bay has no mobile phone signal at all. VNS Photos Doan Tung

Now that the summer holiday season has officially ended, the beaches of Quan Lan Island are starting to return to their usual tranquil state, but there is so much garbage still onshore.

Of Vietnam’s many beautiful beaches, pristine and secluded stretches on tiny islands in Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay off the coast of the northern province of Quang Ninh would fight it out with Minh Chau on Quan Lan Island in Bai Tu Long for bragging rights.

The turquoise waters and soft white sand of untouched beaches on Quan Lan Island are perhaps only rivalled by Sao Beach on Phu Quoc Island in the country’s south.

But they have been blighted by tonnes of garbage, including bottles, cardboard, flip-flops, and plastic toys, that have washed ashore. 

Turtle Beach

A slice of biodiverse paradise
LAND MEETS SEA: The white sand and crystal clear waters of Minh Chau Beach on Quan Lan Island.

In the summer, local holidaymakers tend to visit the larger beach, Minh Chau, but only 2km away is another beach where sea turtles used to come to lay their eggs.

“They stopped coming about ten years ago,” lamented Pham Quoc Viet, deputy head of the Scientific Research and International Cooperation Department at the Bai Tu Long National Conservation Park.

Inaccessible by motorbike and separated from the main road by casuarina trees planted five years ago, local park rangers have been trying to return the beach to its former health so that the turtles may return.

“We have put up signs forbidding people from bathing at Turtle Beach,” Nguyen Dinh Ung, deputy head of the forest rangers at the park, said.

The beach actually has rough waves and can be quite dangerous, with an under-current taking unsuspecting swimmers out to sea.

“Even if you can swim, without a lifebuoy you’re likely to be swept out,” Ung said.

A slice of biodiverse paradise

Two years ago, an art project using garbage was introduced at Minh Chau Beach by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) — the London-based international union of governments and civil society groups that has 1,400 members and more than 17,000 experts worldwide.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is the theme of the art camp, which brings together artists who create works using the garbage collected from the beach.

But there were no art works the day we were there, only garbage. “It keeps washing ashore,” local people told us.

A slice of biodiverse paradise
EYE-SORE: A large amount of garbage washed ashore on beautiful Minh Chau Beach on Quan Lan Island after the summer holiday season was over. VNS Photo My Ha

We’d always thought that when the holiday season ends and the beach becomes clean that it stays that way until the following summer arrives.

Quan Lan Island, located in the heart of the Bái Tử Long National Conservation Park, is a tourist destination that welcomes some 50,000 visitors each year. Its beaches are largely undeveloped, with the only accommodation being small homestays.

But the amount of garbage on the island is certainly not small, though no public figures have ever been released. The island is still waiting for waste collection and treatment facilities.

Genetic pool

A slice of biodiverse paradise
GREEN SCENES: Rangers patrolling the ironwood forest from which Cai Lim Island gets its name.

Founded in 2001, the Bai Tu Long National Conservation Park will celebrate its 20th birthday next year. Its emblem includes an image of a dolphin. The mammals inhabit the bay, though very few people have caught sight of them.

“Seeing them is down to sheer luck,” Viet said. “I’ve worked here for ten years and never seen them. But the deputy head of the park, on his first trip out to Ba Mun Island many years ago to visit rangers, was greeted by a school of dolphins.”

From the wharf in Van Don, a motorised boat ride of 45 minutes took us to a big earthen island.

“Ba Mun Island is the beating heart of biological diversity in Bai Tu Long Park, as is home to signature flora and fauna,” Viet said.

“The most significant wild animals in the island’s forest are a community of wild deer,” he went on, but added that no camera-trap images exist and little is known about the creatures. The only image is a video of a deer swimming from Ba Mun to another island.

“I think the good management of wild animals has actually put us in more danger when we go out on patrols,” said Nguyen Hai Phong, a young forest ranger on Ba Mun.

He once came across a giant cobra trying to shed its skin. A few years earlier, a two-man patrol was attacked by a wild boar. The younger ranger jumped up into a tree and narrowly escaped, but the older ranger was bitten on the arm, which severed an artery, and he was rushed to hospital in Hanoi for treatment.

A slice of biodiverse paradise
OCEANFRONT VIEWS: The rangers’ house on Cai Lim Island, which looks out over a beautiful mixture of blue, green and turquoise water.

Wild forests elsewhere in Bai Tu Long have also been revived.

While on Cai Lim Island with Viet, he told us it is home to a strong bed of green ironwood trees. Named after the trees that dominate the island, Cai Lim is only accessible by boat and a phone signal is rare. You’re pretty much cut off from the outside world.

“The park has significant marine biodiversity,” said Viet, who graduated from the country’s leading Nha Trang Maritime University in marine research. He is also one of seven certified divers at the park, and conducts regular inspections both on land and underwater.

“Last year, we found a new type of branch coral reef when diving around Mang Khoi Island,” he told us. “Scientists say this type of coral is one of the fastest-growing in the world, by 15cm a year.”

After the discovery was reported to the park authority, a strict protection zone was initiated to protect the coral.

The Bai Tu Long National Conservation Park boasts six ecosystems, including an evergreen forest on an earthen island, an evergreen forest on a limestone karst, mangrove forests, coral reefs, the Tung-Ang ecosystem, and a marine vegetation ecosystem.

Tung-Ang are collapsed sinkholes in underwater mountains. “The flora and fauna have been fully protected from human interference since they were found,” Viet said.

The park has two types of sinkholes, or dolines: one with a gate to the outer sea, and another with underwater currents and caves.

“Cai De Doline is the largest in the park, at 26ha,” he told us. “There’s a whole mangrove forest in the area.”

“This is the best conservation park we have for preserving all creatures and keeping humans away.”

Scientific research has revealed that the 391 species of marine structures here provide a large genetic pool for further studies. Seventeen coral species, noted as under threat of extinction in the Vietnam Red Book of Endangered Species, have also been found in the area.

Conservation work

A slice of biodiverse paradise
LIFE UNDERWATER: At a museum on the park in Van Don District are exhibits of living creatures from the seas.

While Turtle Beach on Quan Lan Island is in desperate need of a regular clean-up if it is to once again be the natural habitat of turtles laying their eggs, the island’s forests have been quite well preserved, so much so that rangers need to be alert while on patrol.

“We hope to get one more patrol boat to add to our fleet,” said Ung, who spent 42 years as a ranger. On a recent late-night inspection on Ba Mun Island, he broke his left leg in an incident.

“A new regulation that came into being last year states that rangers must try and stop any violations of marine areas or forests and hand over suspects to local authorities or border guards. We are unable to issue our own administrative punishment to violators.”

To complete administrative and archiving work in the rangers’ office, which is an important task, more computers are required, according to Ung.

Viet, meanwhile, said the department needed a lot more equipment to monitor the flora and fauna they are charged with protecting.

“We don’t have a flycam to shoot images from above,” he said. “And our camera traps all broke a long time ago.”

He can shoot underwater footage while on diving patrols, but the quality is limited.

Next year, when the park celebrates its 20th anniversary, Ung plans to retire after a long career as a ranger. The young diver-scientist, Viet, hopes to continue preserving natural resources and keeping the environment safe.

“I also hope we can introduce eco-tourism, to earn some revenue for reinvesting in costly preservation work,” he said.

As for young forest ranger Phong, he hopes to celebrate his wedding by the dock on Cai Mun Island.

He also plans to bring his future in-laws to where he works, so they will understand why he is away from home for so long protecting the wildlife for his children’s children to admire. VNS

by Nguyen My Ha   


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Thung Nham Bird Park in Ninh Binh province



Bird watching is a relaxing pastime for many people as it helps us connect with the nature. 

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112 km Away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, the Thung Nham bird park has become a favorite spot for bird lovers in Vietnam. Join us to find out more about this magnificent place. VNA


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A day in Nam Du archipelago



Situated to the southeast of Phu Quoc Island, Nam Du Archipelago in the southern province of Kien Giang consists of 21 islands and islets. 

It is a rather untouched destination and is often referred to as a “miniature Ha Long Bay” in the southern sea of Vietnam.

In recent years, Nam Du has been mentioned as an intriguing, pristine destination for young travelers interested in the exploration of new places.

Hon Ngang, Hon Mau, Hai Bo Dap and Bai Cay Men have become popular due to the beauty they were endowed with by nature.

Hon Lon (literally the Big Island) is the biggest island in the archipelago, with a lot of beautiful beaches like Dat Do, Cay Men, Ngu and Gieng with lines of coconut trees, some of which are up to 70-80 years old.

Along the coastal street in Hon Lon are many fantastic destinations for visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of Nam Du archipelago.

From the 300m high lighthouse there, one can enjoy the most beautiful view of the whole area. Admiring the sunrise and sunset on this island is also among the most unforgettable memories for tourists.

From Hon Lon, it takes about 30 minutes by boat to reach Hon Ngang (literally the Horizontal Island), the most prosperous and populated island in the archipelago. Residents earn their living by fishing and raising grouper or cobia in cages. It also has the biggest port of Nam Du, attracting a number of fishing boats. Besides the lovely blue sea, the island’s fringes of high coconut trees and rugged stone cliffs with different terrains and colors are praiseworthy.

Another activity visitors should not miss in Hon Ngang is hiring a boat to visit seafood cages or to enjoy fresh seafood dishes such as squid congee, grilled or stir-fried mussels, grilled garfish, and several types of local snails. During the night, from Hon Ngang, visitors can enjoy the sparkling view of Hon Lon fantastically lit by lights.

More than 2km to the southeast of Hon Ngang is Hon Mau which has about 120 households. This is a potential location for resort tourism thanks to its beautiful beaches, which are named after seasonal winds such as Chuong with a long white sand bank leading to the deep blue water. Bac, with stones of beautiful colors and patterns. Nam, a calm beach with small waves and a gentle wind through the year making it a perfect location for trading and boat anchoring. Nom, which has nice lines of coconut trees. Swimming in the blue sea, wandering around to enjoy the beaches or exploring the daily lives of fishermen on the island are all enjoyable.

Coming to Nam Du Archipelago, one can integrate into the normal life of fishermen. Locals are hospitable and always welcoming to visitors. At night, people can camp, sing, or listen to interesting stories about life in the archipelago. It is much nicer if one enjoys the local seafood grilled near the sea. A trip of three days and two nights is perfect for exploration of this place.

Stunning pictures in Nam Du:

Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 1
 After a storm, the clouds form gaps for rays of sunlight to pass through. 
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 2
 Local people say this place is the most beautiful rock in Nam Du
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 3
 It seems that nature is embracing and protecting people here. 
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 4
 Humans sometimes don’t appreciate nature. 
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 6
 A beautiful afternoon and visitors are taking pictures with their phone. 
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 7
A good place to take amazing pictures
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 8
 Lonely tree or Nam Du tree is the name that many tourists give to this tree. 
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 9
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 10
 People can live in harmony with nature. 
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 11
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 12
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 13
 Standing in front of the sea, many visitors find their hearts peaceful.
Một ngày ở quần đảo Nam Du tuyệt đẹp - 14
 From a distance, the islands are like ships surfing the ocean. Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong

Le Ha


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