Van Long Nature Reserve

Van Long Nature Reserve  is the largest waterlogged nature reserve of Northern Delta, belonging to Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh. It has very diversified and unique ecological system and is a favourite residence of many types of fauna and flora. Along with Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex and Tam Coc – Bich Dong National Park, Van Long is also a top-list destination in tourists’ planned trips. It is considered as an “inland Ha Long” with imposing cliffs, mountains and vast lakes which form a stunning scene.

Van Long Nature Reserve in Ninh Binh

Stunning scene in Van Long

Although it was opened for tourism in 1998, Van Long is still as primitive as ever. It has totally 33 caves with different sizes but only a few of them are open to tourists. Among 33 caves, the most beautiful one is Ca Grotto inside Hoang Quyen Mountain. It is 250m long, 8m high and 10m wide, with stalactites in shape of fish, catfish, tilapia and other animals. According to legend, ancient people caught a fish of 45kg in weight inside this cave so it was named “Ca” (means “fish” in Vietnamese). There are also the highest Thung Doi cave as well as the largest Bong cave.

Van Long Nature Reserve - Ninh Binh Tour

Bong Cave – the largest cave in Van Long

Van Long is the biggest wetland nature reserve site in the northern delta with an area of 3500 hectares is home to thousands of terrestrial and aquatic animals and plants. Among them there are rare and endangered species such as waterfowl, a giant water bug in Vietnam’s Red Book, and Delacour’s langur, a critically endangered species at home and abroad. Animals here inhabit seasonally, so you can see flocks of white storks flying and making nests in autumn, sky ducks pluming in the end of spring and start of summer. Van Long Nature Reserve holds two national records: the biggest community of Delacour’s langur and the largest natural painting.

Van Long Nature Reserve - thousands of white storks flying

Van Long nature with thousands of white storks flying

If you would like to experience less touristic area with the similar beauty of mountains & caves, we suggest you a rowing boat ride in Van Long nature reserve. Simple local sampans made of bamboos that you can’t experience anywhere in Vietnam.It is good to do with two people on this sampan, you will be more comfortable and relaxed to enjoy the landscapes of this pristinely natural wetland. If you love to experience how hard to row the boat, you can ask your friendly rower for a try – it could be an experience with good photos to mark your trip to Ninh Binh. The boat ride is not long like the one in Tam Coc or Trang An, here, the boat journey is around 1,2 hour. However, it is quite pristine with natures of mountain background, wild plants living along; and lesser known among tourists.

Van Long Nature Reserve - Boat rowing along Van Long

Boat rowing along Van Long

What is the most ideal time for visiting Van Long to have great trip?

Our suggestion to visit Van Long wetland is in early morning or late in the afternoon – the moment when birds flying out & coming back in a day, and the ideal seasons for more birds you could see are in winter & spring time ( between November and April). For a green & pink colour of lotus blooming flowers growing along the riverside, the right time is between May and August.