Awesome Xuan Son National Park

the bridge over the little river in Xuan Son

Table of Contents

Xuan Son National PArk

Xuan Son National Park is not a location commonly known by tourists visiting the North of Vietnam. This untouched park gives tourists an opportunity to experience rural Vietnam in its natural form. Located just 130km east of Hanoi, Xuân Sơn National Park offers the ideal escape from the chaotic city streets.

nice wee pond in Xaun Son National Park
nice wee pond in Xaun Son National Park

Why Visit?

The park has become a more popular destination for Vietnamese holidaymakers over the last 10 years. A few locals have now opened their traditional stilt houses as homestays, offering hospitality for those wanting to stay overnight.

Unlike some of the more commonly known tourist destinations such as Sapa, Xuan Son is still very much untouched. The centre of the national park is completely removed from the outside world and feels a thousand miles away from modern civilization.

The vast park sprawls across an area of 150 square km and sits at the southern-eastern edge of the Hoang Lien Mountains. In 1986 the park was established as a nature reserve, protecting its natural beauty.

It is extremely refreshing to experience the simple life of the local Muong and Dao ethnic groups. A welcome reminder that not everybody is connected to the outside world by the internet or their mobile phone.

a really old tree in Xuan Son National Park
a really old tree in Xuan Son National Park

Arriving by Motorbike

The motorbike drive from Hanoi to Xuân Sơn National Park takes around 4-5 hours. Coffee breaks included. The journey itself is filled with incredible landscapes and views around every turn. Leaving Hanoi at 07:30am should see you safely arrive around midday. Once the long drive along the CT08 out of Hanoi is behind you, the journey really comes into its own.

This route is part of several of our tours and as you can see here it fits into the 7 Day Dinosaur Loop. 

Skirting Around Ba Vi National Park

The route takes you along the edge of Ba Vi National Park, where on a clear day you’re able to see the three mountain peaks. Following this is a long stretch of road lined with rice paddies.

For miles, you only encounter the odd farmer out in their paddy fields or walking their water buffalos. Already you start to feel the slow pace of rural Vietnam. Shortly after you start to notice a different type of crop, one that is not commonly seen in Vietnam. Tea plantations.

As the hills begin to build, the rolling tea plantations begin to show themselves, creating this extremely diverse and jaw-dropping scenery. In places, the plantations even resemble Sri Lanka. Truly stunning.

The final part of the drive consists of a winding road that begins to ascend into the rolling mountains and jungle. On a cloudy day, you’ll find yourself quite literally with your head in the clouds!

As you arrive at the very centre of the park, you are welcomed by the Muong and Dao ethnic groups going about their day to day lives. Their traditional homes on stilts sit on the valley floor and are surrounded by mountainous scenery and lush jungle.

winding roads in Xuan Son National Park
winding roads in Xuan Son National Park

Suggested Motorbike Route

In order to make the best of your drive from Hanoi, it is important to bypass the southern entrance to the National Park and opt for the road entering the park in the northeast.

By continuing on the QL32 past the main entrance to the park, you will be able to experience the rolling tea plantations around the edge of the park before driving into the mountains.

Then, when you decide to leave the park you can complete the loop around through back to the southern entrance. Just be aware it can get a little bit bumpy in parts!

What To Do In Xuan Son National Park

Ban Coi and Ban Lap Villages

The very centre of the park you’ll find the small villages of Ban Coi and Ban Lap. Both villages are inhabited by the Muong and Dao ethnic groups. The villages themselves are a wonder to stroll through. Surrounded by stunning mountainous scenery, they offer a serene atmosphere, feeling very isolated from the outside world. Children play in the flowing streams whilst the adults tend to their livestock and farmland. As the sun is setting, locals gather to play volleyball and drink cans of bia at the local Bia Hoi.

Ban Coi and Ban Lap, Xuan Son National Park
Ban Coi and Ban Lap, Xuan Son National Park

6km Hidden Waterfall Hike

At the centre of Bản Cỏi, you’ll find a road leading to a 6km hike to a waterfall, signposted from the main road. The hike itself takes you along a path next to the river toward the base of the mountains. The further you get down the path; you begin to notice flooding damage from the wet summer months. Due to this, sadly the path does not lead all of the ways toward the waterfall.

However, this doesn’t stop the locals using the stream as a path, so it shouldn’t stop you!

During spring and autumn when rainfall is low, it is possible to hike along the flowing stream to the base of the waterfall.

Trekking

The park itself is filled with hidden paths and areas to explore. Tour companies do offer guided hikes in the park if trekking through the dense jungle is your thing. Trekking in Xuân Sơn National Park will have you hiking up to the peak of High Ten Mountain and walking long jungle trails into the depths of the trees. At the centre of it, all Coi Cave can be found deep within the park and offers a different type of setting to explore.

The pool near Coi Cave offers a fantastic opportunity to cool off on a hot day. You can swim here for free and there are swimming costumes for rent and a changing area. The locals have set up small stalls selling snacks that are renting inner tubes. It is a fun, friendly place.

Trekking in Xuan Son National Park can be challenging, so make sure you’re ready to get roughed up by the jungle!

Trekking could be something you do for a few hours or a few days. The park is vast, and if you decide to spend a few days, you’ll be able to ride up to smaller paths and really immerse yourself in the dense jungle. Be wary though, it’s HOT and sweaty.

Plus, you’ll need to keep covered up to avoid mosquitos.

Where To Stay?

Locals have opened their doors to travelers over the last decade, offering an opportunity for individuals to stay overnight in one Xuan Son’s traditional stilt houses.

Homestay Ky Tam and Homestay Xuan Son

Both homestays offer a comfortable place to rest for the evening for around 250-300k ($9-13). Booking can be a challenge, as neither have websites with an online booking option. However, both list their phone numbers online and can take bookings over the phone.

If you do have some issues communicated because of a language barrier, ask them to text you their email address. This way you can translate your request and send it via email.

Be sure to ask the homestay in advance if you’d like food preparation. This way you can sit down to a hearty Vietnamese meal (often with the family) when you arrive weary from your 5-hour journey.

Homestay Ky Tam

Phone: 098 986 60 05

Address: Bản Lấp, Tân Sơn District, Phu Tho Province

Homestay Xuân Sơn:

Phone: 098 457 74 58

Address: Bản Lấp, Tân Sơn District, Phu Tho Province

Areca Homestay

Phone: 097 598 29 79

Address: Xóm Dù

Ky Tam Homestay, Xuan Son National Park
Ky Tam Homestay, Xuan Son National Park
traditional Vietnamese dinner at Ky Tam Homestay, Xuan Son
traditional Vietnamese dinner at Ky Tam Homestay, Xuan Son

Camping

If you enjoy camping, then this is always an option in Xuan Son National Park. There are plenty of places to set up camp and embrace the outdoors. Xuan Son is a very special place, a place where you can truly feel you are cut off from the pressures of the modern world. So jump on a bike, get booked into a homestay and crucially, turn off your phone as this can be a truly magical and immersive experience.

the bridge over the little river in Xuan Son
the bridge over the little river in Xuan Son

Quick Connect

Honda XR 150 motorcycle rental

Engine Type

air cooled, OHC, single cylinder

Displacement

149 cc

Bore X Stroke

57.3 mm x 57.8 mm

Ignition

CDI

Fuel System

20 mm piston valve carburettor

Compression Ratio

9.5:1

Starter

electric with kick starter backup

Gearbox

5-speed

Front Suspension

telescopic fork, 180 mm axle travel

Rear Suspension

single shock swing arm, 150 mm axle travel

Front Brakes

dual piston caliper, 240 mm disc

Rear Brakes

mechanical drum

Front Tyres

90/90 19

Rear Tyres

110/90 17

Wheelbase

1362 mm

Seat Height

825 mm

Ground Clearance

243 mm

Kerb Weight

129 kg

Fuel Capacity

12 litres

Dimensions

2091 mm (L) x 811 mm (W) x 1125 mm (H)

Honda CB 500X motorcycle rental

Engine Type

liquid cooled parallel-twin four stroke

Displacement

470 cc

Bore X Stroke

67 mm x 66.8 mm

Ignition

PGMI – FI

Fuel System

fuel injection

Compression Ratio

10.7:1

Starter

electric

Gearbox

6-speed

Front Suspension

41 mm SFF-BP USD Forks

Rear Suspension

Prolink Mono with 5 stage pre load adjuster

Front Brakes

dual 296 mm discs with 4 piston calipers; ABS

Rear Brakes

240 mm disc; ABS

Front Tyres

110/80R19M/C (59H)

Rear Tyres

160/60R17M/C

Wheelbase

1445 mm

Seat Height

830 mm

Ground Clearance

180 mm

Kerb Weight

199 kg

Fuel Capacity

17.7 litres

Dimensions

2,155 mm (L) x 830 mm (W) x 1,410 mm (H)

Honda CRF 300 motorcycle rental

Engine Type

single cylinder, DOHC, liquid cooled

Displacement

286 cc

Bore X Stroke

76 mm x 63 mm

Ignition

Full Transistor Digital

Fuel System

PGM-FI electronic fuel injection

Compression Ratio

10.7:1

Starter

electric

Gearbox

5-speed

Front Suspension

43 mm telescopic upside down

Rear Suspension

Prolink Mono with 5 stage pre load adjuster

Front Brakes

256 mm disc, 2 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

220 mm disc, single piston caliper

Front Tyres

80/100 21

Rear Tyres

120/80 18

Wheelbase

1455 mm

Seat Height

880 mm

Ground Clearance

285 mm

Kerb Weight

142 kg

Fuel Capacity

7.8 litres

Dimensions

2230 mm (L) x 820 mm (W) x 1200 mm (H)

Daily

Total

Rider (XR 150)

$140

Rider (CRF 300)

$180

Rider (CB 500X)

$180

Pillion

$120

Damage Waiver

$20

Private Room

$40

Support Vehicle

$150

Tourist

One-Way

Expat

Pricing

N/A

N/A

Damage Waiver

$0/day

N/A

N/A

Security Deposit

N/A

N/A

Required Docs

passport

N/A

N/A

Mileage Limit

unlimited

N/A

N/A

Touring

N/A

N/A