Bach Ma National Park protects a unique natural forest stretching from the Eastern Sea to the Vietnamese-Lao border. Located at the end of the North Truong Son Mountain Range, Bach Ma’s tallest mountain peak is 1,450 meters high. Other mountains over 1,000 meters include Nom (1,259 meters) and Truoi (1,154 meters). Long narrow valleys with complex stream and river systems surround the mountains. The eastern part on the national park has a large system of salt-water lakes and lagoons offering scenic splendors.
During the 1930s, the French used the site for a resort, which had 139 villas, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a market, post office, and a road system connecting the mountain range to Highway 1. Today, Bach Ma remains an ideal holiday resort, thanks to its natural beauty and a cool climate with summer temperatures between 18 and 23oC. the park has Viet Nam’s highest rainfall, nearly eight meters annually.
Bach Ma National Park boasts a wide range of biodiversity, including species endemic to both northern and southern Viet Nam. It has 1,406 recorded plant species, of which thirty are listed in Viet Nam’s Red Book. And even several species new to science, such as Elaeocarpus bachmaensis and Cissus bachmaensis.
The park also has diverse fauna: eighty-three, large mammal species from twenty-three families and nine orders. Among the species, sixty-eight appear in Viet Nam’s Red Book, including the sao la (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), Vu Quang muntjac deer (Megamuntiacus vuquangensis), Truong Son muntjac (Muntiacus truongsonensis), and the white-cheeked gibbon (Hylobates gabrillae). Other animal species include birds (333 species), amphibians (21), reptiles (31), fish (39), butterflies (256), beetles (178), and termites (28). Data on small mammals are still incomplete.
Surveys conducted have shown that Bach Ma has an especially diverse array of bat species compared with other Vietnamese reserves, with fifty-nine species recorded plus some other unidentified specimens. Eight of its species appear in Viet Nam’s Red Book 2000, and five are listed in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature Resource) Red List of Threatened Animals 2.000. Among these species, the long sells horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus paradoxolophus ) only has five known populations, with at most only between 150 to 250 bats per population. Captured bats include a Thai evening bat (Thainycteris aureocollaris), recorded only for the second time in Viet Nam. Scientists first recorded this species in 1999 in southern Viet Nam. Other species include the Old World fruit bat family (Pteropodidae) belonging to the suborder Magachiroptere. The Bach Ma fruit bats (with ten species and seven genera belonging to this family) have the most diverse species composition compared with those found in Viet Nam’s other national parks and nature reserves.
With is advantages in biodiversity and natural beauty, Bach Ma is becoming an important eco-tourist destination in central Viet Nam.
(Source: Vietnamese Culture Book – Hữu Ngọc and Lady Borton Authors)