Thanh Hoa – Authorities and management boards of nature reserves and national parks in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa have full tapped available advantages and mapped out plans to promote tourism development in the locality.
Thanh Hoa is home to Ben En National Park and a part of Cuc Phuong National Park; and Pu Luong, Xuan Lien and Pu Hu Nature Reserves; and Nam Dong and Sen Tam Quy species reserves. The province has eight protection forest management boards and 11 conservation areas of scenic spots, and historical and cultural relic sites.
The Ben En National Park, about 50km to the southwest of Thanh Hoa city, is a relatively popular ecotourism site with rich biodiversity. The park was set up in 1992 with a view to conserving the ecosystem in mountainous areas of Nhu Thanh and Nhu Xuan districts.
Ben En is dubbed “Ha Long Bay on land” thanks to its pristine natural beauty. A highlight of its magnificence is Ben En Lake, which covers an area of about 4,000 hectares and is tens of metres deep. The lake, consists of Thuong (Upper) and Ha (Lower) lakes, is located at around 200 metres above sea level and has a still surface with clear water all year round.
With a total area of 16,600 ha and 30,000 ha of forest in the buffer zone, the Ben En National Park boasts a combination of diverse terrains from mountains, rivers, streams to lakes, creating different types of ecosystems, especially the tropical evergreen forest ecosystem on low earth and karst mountains, and the river, stream, and lake ecosystems.
Given the park’s rich biodiversity, its management board recently carried out a scientific project on surveying and assessing the situation and conserving and sustainably developing medicinal plants in Ben En from 2020 to 2022.
To exploit tourism potential of the park towards attracting more visitors, the Ben En National Park Management Board has developed a master plan on eco-tourism, resort and entertainment tourism development in the special-use forest of the Ben En National Park in the period of 2021-2030.
Attention has been paid to opening tours from the Ben En National Park to community tourism sites in adjacent communes, focusing on camping, kayaking, and walking activities. Businesses and travel agencies have also strengthened coordination to provide high quality services to visitors.
About 130km northwest of the provincial capital city of Thanh Hoa and 190km south of Hanoi, Pu Luong is close to several favoured tourist attractions in Hoa Binh province’s Mai Chau, Tan Lac and Lac Son districts, providing explorers with a full circle of exciting adventure.
Pu Luong is a nature reserve established in 1999 with its area covering Ba Thuoc and Quan Hoa districts. It is considered a valuable natural reserve for scientific research, socio-economic and ecotourism development.
It is the best to travel to Pu Luong at the end of May and early June since it is the occasion to start a new rice crop when terraced fields here wear a layer of green, looking all fresh and peaceful.
Mid-summer is also a good time to go to Pu Luong as it is situated in a low land limestone area, with many tropical forests and few inhabitants, making its climate quite pleasant even during hot days.
The Management Board of the Pu Luong Nature Reserve has paid attention to developing a variety of tourism products here such as community-based tourism, eco-tourism, and hiking tourism.
It has built a project of eco-tourism, resort, entertainment tourism and growing medicinal herbs in the special-use forest in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve in the 2022-2030 period.
The management board has also paid heed to upgrading infrastructure, especially roads, to lure private businesses’ investment for tourism development.
There are many stilt houses in the villages where visitors can explore daily life of the locals and spend the night. They can also stay in a wide range of hotels and resorts inside the Pu Luong Nature Reserve, for example, Puluong Natura Bangalow, Puluong Retreat, Puluong Eco-Garden, and Puluong OhayO, which offer a combination of local architecture and modern elements.
Many high-end and large-scale resort projects are being implemented in the reserve, towards meeting the demand of domestic and foreign tourists./.