Van Long Nature Reserve (Van Long Wetland) has a huge potential for ecotourism and humanistic tourism, which plays a critical role in the socio-economic development of the province. In Vietnamese, “Van” means cloud and “Long” means dragon, therefore Van Long implies the area where dragon and clouds converge. The name also expresses the dream, and inspiration of locals about the peaceful life and favorable weather. 

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van long nature reserve
Source: VnExpress 

Renowned as the largest Wetland Nature Reserve in the North of Vietnam, Van Long Nature Reserve stretches in seven communes of  Gia Hung, Lien Son, Gia Hoa, Gia Van, Gia Lap, Gia Tan, and Gia Thanh in Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province. It was once chosen by the famous film studio Legendary Entertainment as one of the settings for the famous movie Kong - Skull Island. After the success of this movie, Van Long Ninh Binh has since quickly become a tourist destination both in the country and over the world. 

I - Why is Van Long Nature Reserve so appealing?

1 - The spectacular landscape of Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve

van long wetland nature reserve

Source: vnexpress

Covering more than 3,500ha, Van Long Vietnam is well-known as a “wave-free bay” as the water surface here is as calm as a giant mirror, reflecting the stunning images of seas of white clouds and glorious limestone pinnacles such as Meo Cao, Mam Xoi, Hom Sach, Da Ban, Nghien, Co Tien, and Mo Coi,... The water here is so transparent that you can easily see the moss at the bottom and algae with other aquatic plants swaying along with the rhythm of the oars. 

Van Long Nature Reserve also consists of 1,000 mesmerizing caves, typically Ca Cave, Bong Cave, Turtle Cave, and Chanh Cave. In particular, Ca Cave is one of the most beautiful caves with a length of 250m, a height of 8m, and a width of 10m. It is unique because of its half-submerged and half-dried features with plenty of fish swimming inside the cave. The landscapes onshore are pretty poetic and peaceful with the scene of flocks of sheep roaming on the vast, green meadow under the glorious sunset, creating a sense of incredible comfort and serenity deep in your soul. 

2 - The diverse ecosystem of Van Long Nature Reserve

van long vietnam

Source: Internet

Besides the spectacular landscapes, Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve has biodiversity with a limestone mountain ecosystem, home to the largest population of Delacour’s langur in Vietnam. The forest here features 457 species of higher vascular plants belonging to 327 genera, and 127 families, of which 8 species were recorded in the Red Book of Vietnam in 1996. 

In terms of fauna, there are 39 species, 19 families, of which there are 12 rare species, particularly Delacour’s langur, Asian black bear, bald uakari, and antelope. There are 9 species of reptiles recorded in the Red Book of Vietnam, namely monitor lizard, banded krait, ptyas korros,... 

Cuc Phuong national park - ideal place for trekking

II - The best way to discover Van Long Nature Reserve 

van long ninh binh

Boat trip in Van Long Vietnam - Source: vnexpress

The best way to admire Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve is embarking on a small bamboo boat, which takes you through lush high reeds along narrow streams at the mountain foot. On the boat ride, you can catch a glimpse of a small valley and have an opportunity to witness storks, cauldrons, and langurs. 

Note that:

- Sightseeing ticket: 20,000 VND / person ($0.88)

- Boat ride ticket: 100,000 VND / boat / 2 people ($4.4)

- Opening hours: 8am - 6pm

- Duration: 1 - 1.5 hours

- Contact: +84 963 106 222 or +84 915 341 058 

- Place to buy entrance tickets and boat tickets: The cooperation of Van Long EcoTourism Services

- Visiting Van Long Nature Reserve in Ninh Binh, you should bring umbrellas, hats and wear sun cream. 

- You should show a good attitude to boatmen so that they will try their best to take you to almost all attractive places in Van Long lagoon. You can tip them about 40,000 - 50,000 VND/ boat ($1.75 - 2.2)

- Do not litter in Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve. Avoid hunting and chasing animals here. 

Besides, camping in Van Long lagoon is a good idea. However, currently, there are no tour agencies providing this camping service, so you have to prepare necessary items and food by yourself. If you stay in a hotel or any kind of accommodation near the lagoon, it is advisable for you to ask them about camping in the lagoon to get more details.  

III - Other information about Van Long Nature Reserve

1 - When is the best time to visit Van Long Vietnam?  

van long wetland

Source: vnexpress

Van Long is characterized by the tropical monsoon climate with four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The average temperature is about 24°C and the average rainfall is more than 2,000mm. From December to April next year, it features cold and dry weather with less rain. 

Thung Nham bird park in Ninh Binh

Van Long Nature Reserve attracts a number of tourists any time of the year, but the most suitable time is May and June every year when the entire surface is covered with the stunning pink color of blooming lotus. The area seems to be cloaked in the bright golden color of ripe rice plant paddy fields amidst the surrounding mountains in various sizes and uniquely eye-catching shapes. This is an ideal opportunity for you to take stunning, romantic photos. In the period from November to April next year, Van Long Nature Reserve attracts numerous flocks of birds for nesting. The entire area appears to be more charming and more peaceful with thousands of white birds flying above the water's surface, which creates an extremely poetic scenery. 

2 - Restaurants near Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve

After visiting the nature reserve, you go back to Van Long boat wharf. There are several restaurants near the wharf for your reference such as:

Ngoc Phuong Restaurant 

- Address: Trung Hoa Street, Gia Van Commune, Gia Vien District - about 1.4km from Van Long Nature Reserve

- Signature dishes: dishes from goat, freshwater fish, snake, soft shell turtle, and scorched rice

- Opening hours: 7am - 10pm 

- Contact: +84 978 130 232

Golden Rice Restaurant 

- Address: Thong Nhat Street, Gia Van Commune, Gia Vien District 

- Signature dishes: diverse from soup, hot pot, spring roll, dishes from goat meat, pork, crabs, eel, and duck. 

- Opening hours: 6:30am - 9:30pm 

- Contact: +84 913 562 585 

Tuan Tu Restaurant 

- Address: Gia Long Street, Gia Van Commune, Gia Vien District

- Signature dishes: street food, Vietnamese traditional food, Asian food, vegetarian food

- Opening hours: 24 hours 

- Contact: +84 948 118 864 

3 - Accommodation near Van Long Nature Reserve

van long nature reserve in ninh binh

Van Long Garden Resort - Source: @vanlonggarden

If you visit the reserve in the late afternoon, you can book a hotel and guesthouse overnight. The day after, you can continue to Van Trinh cave, Kenh Ga Hot Spring, and Cuc Phuong National Park, etc. which are also the popular tourist spots in Ninh Binh. Below are two most famous and closest hotels and resorts in the reserve:

Van Long Garden

Van Long Garden is actually a resort having a simple but unique architecture and a professional resort of accommodation with well-aired stilt houses, dining rooms, and especially a swimming pool. 

- Address: Gong Vo Village, Gia Hoa Commune, Gia Vien District - about 3km from Van Long Nature Reserve

- Contact: +84 985 319 295 

Van Long Resort 

The resort is located right in the center of Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve, featuring 12 rooms with the main material of sapele wood. The furniture and decorative items are meticulously and sophisticatedly made. It also has a vegetable garden and a flower garden of all kinds providing fresh ingredients for the restaurant. 

- Address: Gong Vo Village, Gia Hoa Commune, Gia Vien District

- Contact: +84 229 365 8192 

Top hostels in Ninh Binh

4 - Van Long Vietnam Map  


Because of its biodiversity, Van Long Nature Reserve has become the very first one in Vietnam and South Asia recognized by IUCN in the green list of protected and conserved areas (GLPCA) on September 18th, 2020. Van Long Ninh Binh was honorably achieved two records of VIETKINGS - Vietnam Record Organization in 2010: “The place with the biggest population of Delacour’s langur” and “the place with the largest natural landscapes”. It is absolutely worth a visit to this amazing nature reserve in Ninh Binh province besides numerous attractive spots such as: Tam Coc - Bich Dong, Trang An Landscape Complex, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Cuc Phuong National Park,... 

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