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.