This stunning geopark is set to be Vietnam’s next travel must-see

A woman in a buckwheat (tam giac mach) flower field on October 25, 2014 in Hagiang, Vietnam. Hagiang is famous for Dong Van karst plateau global geological park. Source: Jimmy Tran/Shutterstock

WHEN you think of Vietnam, you may think of the hustle of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, the long stretches of beach of Mui Ne or Da Nang, or perhaps the limestone pillars of Halong Bay. But there could soon be a new tourist hotspot in the Southeast Asian nation, thanks to a new tourism development master plan recently launched by the government.

According to DTI News, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc gave the green light to a plan for the Dong Van Karst Plateau national tourism site in Ha Giang, Vietnam’s northernmost province known for its stunning natural beauty.

The plan maps out a clear vision for the area up until 2030, and hopes to boost visitor numbers by a significant level. The region is expected to receive 950,000 visitors by 2025. This number could go up to 1.1 million by 2030. Tourism revenue under the plan is hoped to reach VND5 trillion (US$220 million) by the end of the next decade.

Designated as a Unesco Global Geopark, the Dong Van Karst Plateau landscape boasts spectacular high mountains and deep canyons, giving it its reputation for its incredible, largely untouched limestone karsts and winding mountain roads.

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It is also home to the unusual and mysterious Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, one of the most endangered species of primate in the world according to Unesco. The rare creature is only found in Ha Giang province and was believed extinct until its rediscovery in the early 1990s.

As part of the masterplan, five tourism zones offering different activities and attractions will be established around Dong Van. Given the area’s natural beauty and ecological significance, special emphasis will be placed on geological, community-based and nature tourism.

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High-end accommodations and entertainment zones will also be prioritised for development to ensure visitors flock to the area for more than just the hiking trails.

The area is home to over 250,000 people from 17 different ethnic groups, each holding a unique culture that has been cultivated over generations. Several archaeological sites have also been discovered, unearthing relics believed to date back to prehistoric and protohistoric times.

Both the natural and cultural significance of the Dong Van Karst Plateau makes it a worthy stop on any traveler’s itinerary. We just hope the upcoming development doesn’t ruin any of its rugged charm.