The French called Tam Dao the ‘Silver Waterfall‘ when they established their summer retreat here in the early 20th century. Today, it lures Western and Vietnamese tourists alike with its cool climate and tropical forests.
Tam Dao Hill Station
- What is It? A former French colonial outpost in Vietnam north of Hanoi.
- When to Go? From April to early October when comfortably warm weather drives away the fog.
- Nearest Town: Vinh Yen is 15 miles away.
- Don’t Miss: Hiking to the waterfall.
- Trivia: The French founded this getaway in 1907.
There isn’t much in the way of organized activities here however, and most visitors are just looking to escape the heat and hustle of Hanoi. Hiking and bird-watching are both popular activities, especially in Tam Dao National Park.
While the French built a spread of colonial villas, most of these were destroyed the war with the French in the 1950s. The crumbling buildings were replaced by bloc-style soviet architecture in the coming decades, though an increase in tourism is paving the way for restoration projects.
The elevation in this region is 3,000 feet and up, and the temperature is comfortable in every season. If you visit during December or January, be prepared for surprisingly cool evenings and pack accordingly.
Hikes into the forest can be booked at the hill station. There’s a waterfall that can be visited as part of a 30 minute walk. Tour agencies also offer daylong hikes deep into the national park where you may catch sight of the elusive langur, an endangered primate.
This tour is for those people who wish to simply relax without having to rush from one place to another. The French as a holiday resort built tam Dao, 80 km from Hanoi, in the beginning of this century for the well to do. It is situated north west of Hanoi at an elevation of almost 1000m. Because of this the temperature remains a pleasant and comfortable level year round. These days Tam Dao is popular with day-trippers from Hanoi who wish to escape the stress of city life for a day or two.
We leave Hanoi at around 0730 for a 2-hour journey along highway 23. Once we turn off the highway the road becomes narrow and very winding as it climbs into the mountains. We spend the day at Tam Dao lazing by the swimming pool, hiking to the Silver Waterfall or to the Temple of the Goddess of the Jungle. We leave Tam Dao around 1600.
Travel to Tam Dao Hill Station – Getting There
Day-trippers pour in from Hanoi on the weekends, and the drive only takes 2 hours. If you’re up for a road trip, hire a motorbike in Hanoi and prepare for beautiful scenery. You can also take the bus from Hanoi to Vinh Yen (1 hour) where you’ll have to arrange your own transportation for the final 15 miles. Taxis and tourist transport services are widely available. The nearest airport is in Hanoi, a major gateway into and out of the country.
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