Tam Dao National Park
Tam Dao National Park (Vietnamese: Vườn quốc gia Tam Đảo) is a protected area zone in North Vietnam. It was established in 1996, succeeding from the Conservation Forest Tam Dao which was formed in 1977. The park is about 85 km northwest of Hanoi.
Its exact location is at 21°21’ to 21°42’ North latitude, 105°23’ to 105°44’ East longitude. It spans a large area along the Tam Đảo range and administratively belongs to 6 districts and 1 city: Lập Thạch, Tam Dương, Bình Xuyên and the city of Vĩnh Yên of Vĩnh Phúc Province; Sơn Dương of Tuyên Quang Province; Đại Từ and Phổ Yên of Thái Nguyên Province.
Tam Dao National Park is based in the Tam Đảo range, which is one of the terminal spurs of a larger mountainous area in the Northwest region of Vietnam. It runs 80 km from north west to south east, and has more than 20 peaks with altitudes of over 1000m. The highest summit is Tam Đảo North with an altitude of 1592 m. Three other peaks with beautiful scenery are Thien Thi at 1375 m, Thach Ban at 1388 m and Phu Nghia at 1300 m. Sharp peaks with sloping sides and numerous, deep partitions are characteristic of the topology.
At an elevation of 930 metres, Tam Đảo town was established by French colonists in 1907 as a tranquil hill resort in northern Vietnam. Several luxurious villas designed for the French still remain. It is now an enclave administratively belonging to Vinh Yen city.
The boundary of the national park is located at an altitude of 100 m around the Tam Đảo range. There is a larger buffer zone (which has area of approximately 535 km2) which surrounds the national park which has an altitude below 100 m. Seventy per cent of the area of the park is covered by natural and artificial forest. The natural forest is about 220 km2 and the human altered forest is about 30 km2.
Due to the tall mountainous range that splits the area into two parts, the national park’s climatic condition is divided into two areas with different rainfalls. This difference and some other factors such as the effect of human activity divide the park into some smaller climatic zones which increase the bio-diversity in the park.
There are two sites for tourists in the park. The first is Tam Đảo town which was established in 1907. Tam Đảo is nestled in a valley covering only 3 km2. There now remain a stone church, some villas and palaces built by French colonists. It has Thac Bac (The Silver Fall), Rung Rinh peak and Tam Đảo 2, a remnant of another resort built many years ago.
The second tourist location is Tay Thien site. It includes Tay Thien Quoc Mau Temple (literally The “Temple of East Heaven National Mother”) and many pagodas. Along with Thien Vien Truc Lam (literally: “Dhyana Palace in Bamboo Forest”) in Da Lat and Yen Tu, Thien Vien Truc Lam Tay Thien is a center of Vietnamese Buddhism.