Bach Ma National Park



Bach Ma National Park

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Located in the Hue- Danang provincial frontier, at an elevation of 4,757 ft (1,450 m), Bach Ma National Park was originally established as a hill station in the 1930s by the French. The Viet Minh did not take kindly to this imperialist occupation, and the area was subjected to many attacks during the First Indochina War. By the time the war came to its close, most of the French had abandoned their beautiful villas. Later, in the 1960s, the Americans fortified Bach Ma and there were many bitter confrontations with the members of the Vietcong in the hilly forests. After the communist victory in 1975, however, the hill station lay forgotten for many years.

Fortunately for Bach Ma, in the early 1990s it under went a revival. In 1991, the authori ties granted national park status to this vast 145 sq miles (375 sq km) of forested land. Although sprayed with defoliants during the Vietnam War, the forest is showing encour aging signs of recovery due to dedi cated conserva tion efforts. The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, which includes mo re than 2,140 plant species. Many of these are said to have medicinal properties. More than 130 species of mammals have been identified in the park area. Among them are the rare saola, the giant muntjac, as well as the recently discov ered Truong Son muntjac. Primates living here include langurs, lorises, macaques, and  the white- cheeked gibbon.  It is possible that leopards and tigers inhabit remote corners of the park, but this has not been confirmed. Bach Ma  National Park is also a bird- watcher’s paradise, with an  astounding 363 species listed by the park authorities, among them the endangered Edward’s pheasant. While little remains of the former French hill station, a few ruins can be seen amid the foliage, lending the jungle an eerie atmosphere. A narrow path leads to an observation post at the park’s highest point which, weather permitting, affords glorious views across the rugged Truong Son Range.

Bach Ma National Park can only be reached by private transport. Those who enjoy walking may like to wander along the Pheasant Trail where the calls of gibbons are often heard, or the Rhododendron Trail which leads to the 300­metre tall Do Queyen waterfall. Check that the park is open before visiting as road repairs can affect accessibility.

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