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Xuan Thuy National Park - The first Ramsar site of Vietnam and Southeast Asia

Posted By : Threeland Travel / Vietnam Travel Guide

Xuan Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh Province is an important mangrove area in Vietnam and is home to many rare bird species from all over the world. 

Nam Dinh Province in Vietnam is well-known for its magnificent religious landscape, particularly the Xuan Thuy National Park, which is home to hundreds of species of flora and wildlife. Xuan Thuy National Park is a coastal wetland conservation area in Giao Thuy district, Nam Dinh province. This is Southeast Asia's first mangrove forest to join the international RAMSAR convention. With an interesting and attractive ecological system and many rare and precious birds returning here to reside, this place has created a beautiful and vivid picture of a typical countryside right at the mouth of the northern coastal river. Xuan Thuy National Park is also an important "bird station" for international migratory birds. There are more than 200 species of birds present in the national park, including the black-faced spoonbills, which are listed in the Vietnam’s Red Data Book.  

1. What is the Ramsar Convention? 

Ramsar Convention is a convention on wetlands signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971, it is an international convention for the conservation and rational use of wetlands and their resources. The aim is to prevent increasing encroachment into wetlands; recognize their ecological function and their scientific, cultural and economic values. 

Up to now, Vietnam has 9 flooded areas recognized as Ramsar sites. In 1989, the alluvial area south of the mouth of the Red River in Xuan Thuy district, Nam Dinh Province (Xuan Thuy national park) was recognized as the 50th Ramsar site in the world and the first Ramsar site in Southeast Asia and Vietnam.  

2. About the ecology of Xuan Thuy National Park

Xuan Thuy National Park is a coastal wetland conservation area where the Red River empties into the sea (known as the Ba Lat estuary) and has the Vop River as its southern boundary. with an area of up to 7,100 hectares, including the Con Ngan, Con Lu, and Con Xanh alluvial areas, and a buffer zone of 8,000 hectares, including 3,000 hectares of mangroves.

Con Ngan is the largest place in the national park that includes aquaculture lagoons and is covered mostly with mangroves. Con Lu includes wide sandy beaches and alluvial flats with a smaller area than Con Ngan. Con Xanh has the smallest area and is covered with alluvium by the Red River. Con Xanh and Con Lu are often flooded at high tide.

In the national park area, the highest point is only 3 m, with the deepest water level at about 6 m. This national park in Vietnam is the home of many aquatic species of very high value and includes many kinds of wild animals and plants and rare migratory birds.

The vegetation in the Xuan Thuy national forest system is mainly mangrove apple and holly-leaved acanthus, which grow naturally and are scattered throughout the area. Particularly in Con Lu, horsetail she-oak trees are planted over a large area and are also an important habitat for migratory birds that live here. The seaweed species belonging to the two branches of green seaweed and red seaweed that have the highest economic value is the yellow seaweed.

The fauna here is outstanding, with nearly 220 species of birds. When the bird migration season arrives, the number of waterfowl can reach 30,000. Spoon-billed Sandpipers, spoonbills, Chinese white storks, yellow-billed storks, pelicans, Saunders's Gull, and so on are examples of rare and valuable birds.

 3. Experience in traveling to Xuan Thuy National Park

3.1. Transport

Nam Dinh Province is about 110 kilometers from the center of Hanoi. Therefore, to visit Nam Dinh, visitors can choose to travel by one of the following means: motorbike, car, train...
+ Take a passenger car: you can go to Giap Bat bus station to catch a bus from Hanoi to Nam Dinh for the price of 80,000–100,000 VND per passenger.

+ Ride a motorcycle: The Hanoi-Ninh Binh Expressway (Highway 01) is a great option for those who enjoy beautiful roads and seeing the countryside.

By train: For those who like sightseeing along the way, you can take the train from HaNoi station to Nam Dinh station with a frequency of 7 times per day and ticket prices ranging from 30,000 to 115,000 VND.

From Nam Dinh city to Giao Thuy district, you will travel another 50 km and then ask locals the way to the national park in Vietnam. 
Or to save more time and effort, you can refer to Vietnam Travel Packages of Threeland Travel for the best experience. 

3.2. The best time to go to the national park

The most beautiful time of year for tourists to visit Xuan Thuy national park is from October–November to March–April the following year. Because this is the time of year when many rare and valuable birds migrate here to the green and bustling space teeming with thousands of birds to live and avoid the harsh winters of the north.

Or you can also travel to the national park in the summer to enjoy the cool breeze from the sea and admire the brilliant colors of the golden sunlight. In the summer, although there are not many birds coming back, visitors can still see native birds such as mallards, kingfishers, etc., or colorful birds such as pitta nympha, yellow-breasted bunting, etc.

3.3. What to eat?

Traveling to the national park is also an opportunity for you to enjoy the special dishes of Nam Dinh province in Vietnam, such as Vietnamese fermented pork roll, Sa Chau fish sauce, jellyfish salad, mangrove honey, or fresh seafood of the sea, such as clams, oysters, shrimp, crab,...

3.4. Where to stay?

Visitors to Xuan Thuy National Park can stay at the guesthouse in the park to conveniently enjoy the scenery and watch the sunrise and sunset. Or you can stay at a homestay in the community tourism village of Giao Xuan commune, which is also a great choice.

4. Some interesting experiences when coming to Xuan Thuy National Park

4.1. Take a boat to visit the national park

The Xuan Thuy National Ecosystem is recognized by UNESCO as the core area of the world biosphere reserve in the inter-provincial coastal zone of the Red River Delta. This is considered the platform of international migratory birds, with more than 200 species, including more than 50 species of waterfowl and 100 species of migratory birds. Therefore, Xuan Thuy National Park will become an attractive eco-tourism area for domestic and foreign tourists when traveling to Nam Dinh.

The interesting thing about coming to the national park is that visitors can take a boat tour around the park. The boats here are equipped with life jackets to ensure the safety of tourists. And the best time to walk around the national park is in the evening, when visitors can watch the sunset and immerse themselves in the wild biosphere space here.

After wandering around the national park, visitors can enjoy a simple dinner in a hut in the middle of a peaceful river. Dinner and night views are also interesting experiences for visitors to enjoy in a peaceful and quiet space.

4.2. Welcoming the dawn in the clam field

Besides visiting Xuan Thuy National Park, tourists return to the mainland and rest at hotels and motels. And if you want to have a memorable experience in your life, you should set up a tent to sleep in the pine forest next to the clam field so that you can wake up early in the morning to catch the wonderful sunrise.

In the Xuan Thuy area, there are many clam fields, and people here mainly do clam farming. So, definitely visit the clam field and enjoy life and experience clam catching with the locals here.

4.3. Architectural works: Indigenous culture

Besides, visitors can visit the architectural works and learn about the local culture here. You can visit unique architectural works such as churches, boo houses, pagodas, etc., which are works of harmony between traditional and modern architecture.

Visitors also can experience the daily work of the people here, such as making juice or learning how to collect honey.

In terms of culture, this place is also very special, and visitors can enjoy very good old melodies such as chau van, cockfighting, etc. on festive occasions or during community activities.

5. Notes when traveling to Xuan Thuy National Park

- If you want to spend the night sleeping in the pine forest, remember to rent a tent for camping.
- Please bring jackets, thin blankets, and mosquito repellent if you want to experience this form of wild nature.
- If traveling by motorcycle, bring complete vehicle documentation: a driver's license, insurance, a helmet, and an identity card.

Hopefully, with the information provided above, you will have the most convenient and safest trip to Xuan Thuy National Park, Nam Dinh, and will be able to visit more interesting tourist destinations when you travel to Nam Dinh. To make your trip to Xuan Thuy National Park more interesting and memorable, remember to choose for yourself the best tour in Vietnam from Threeland Travel.