Tam Dao National Park, a protected area located 53 miles (85 kilometers) northwest of Hanoi, was founded in 1996 as one of the largest national parks in Vietnam. The park covers a vast area of tropical mountains rich in biodiversity – it’s home to 490 species of flora and 281 species of fauna. For birdwatchers, the park offers the chance to spot rare species like the Blue-naped Pitta, Purple Cochoa, Pale-footed Bush Warbler, Rufous-headed Parrotbill and the Chestnut-headed Tesia.
Tam Dao town, which lies within the confines of the national park, was established in the early 1900s by French colonists as a hill station to escape summer heat. Another worthwhile site in the area, the Tay Thien site, is considered the birthplace of Vietnamese Buddhism and includes a monastery, temple and several pagodas.
The best time to visit Tam Dao National Park is during the summer, but remember to pack rain gear, as the area is affected by tropical monsoons.