Want to see wildlife in Vietnam? Vietnam is among the most naturally diverse countries in Asia. The country’s coastlines, caves, mountain ranges, swamps, rivers, and tropical forests provide a habitat for wildlife but habitat loss and poaching are serious challenges facing the wildlife of the country.
Why travel to Vietnam: Vietnam is a safe tourist destination and is one of the few travel destinations that encompass incredible scenery, deep and heroic history. The beauty of nature is one of the major reasons to visit Vietnam. Other important reasons are opportunities to get to know local people and their unique culture.
Vietnam is home to a plethora of temples, shrines, pagodas, and religious sites. These enchanting structures range from Hindu shrines to Buddist monasteries. There are 30 national parks across Vietnam dotted from north to south, coast to border region. A lot of time and money has been invested into regenerating forests and safeguarding biodiversity, especially after the post war devastation of the 1960s and 70s.
#1 Asian Elephants
The Asian elephant is the largest land mammal on the Asian continent. They inhabit dry to wet forest and grassland habitats in 13 range countries spanning South and Southeast Asia. Asian elephants are found in isolated pockets of India and Southeast Asia, including Sumatra and Borneo.
Where to see wildlife in vietnam: Elephants
While there were once thousands of wild elephants in Vietnam, experts from Animals Asia say there are only 114 left in the country. Despite the small wild elephant population, human-elephant conflict is a serious and ongoing problem in Vietnam. There are five groups of wild elephants, with the largest population found in Yok Don National Park (in Dak Lak Province), an area of 100,000 hectares.
Elephant capture and training has been debated in the tourism industry but Yok Don National Park offers a truly ethical experience to encounter elephants in their natural habitat within a respectful range.
#2 Asiatic Black Bears ( Sun/ Moon Bears)
Found from southern China to eastern India and as far south as Indonesia, sun bears, also called Malayan sun bears, take their name from the marking on their chest. The Sun Bear is the smallest, least well-known and one of the rarest of all the bear species.
The Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary, near Hanoi, rescues and rehabilitates moon bears, which are also known as the Asiatic Black Bear. For Animals Asia, their primary mission is to rescue these bears from bile farms and provide them with a safe environment.
This is a great organization to support whilst viewing these bears in an ethical environment.
#3 Indochinese Tigers
Indochinese tiger is only found in the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos,Thailand, and Vietnam.
Currently, the Indochinese tiger is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. It’s believed there are around 350 Indochinese tigers left in the world. This low population is due to poaching and habitat loss.
Where to see wildlife in Vietnam: Indochinese Tiger
Pu Mat National Park : Pù Mát National Park is a national park in Nghệ An Province, in Vietnam’s North Central Coast region. It is praised as the largest forest in north-central Vietnam and a flagship national wildlife deserve.
#4 Indochinese Leopards
n Indochina, leopards are rare outside protected areas and threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation as well as poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.
Only one population of Indochinese leopards remains in all of eastern Indochina, and that population is facing a steep decline, according to new research. The leopard once appeared throughout all of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It is very rare and special to witness a Indochinese Leopard.
In Vietnam, 12 species of leaf-eating monkeys are have been recognized, spreading from the North to the South. They are in three genera, Pygathrix, the Douc Langurs, Rhinopithecus, the Snub-Nosed Monkeys and Trachypithecus, or Crested Langurs.
Most commonly seen:
Singing Gibbons: Gibbons belong to a group of animals called primates. They are small apes that live in South East Asia.
Where to see Wildlife in Vietnam: Monkeys
- Yok Don National Park.
- Cuc Phung National Park.
- Monkey Island In Nha Trang.
- Cat Tien National Park.
- Phong Nha National Park.
#6 Pygmy Slow Loris
The pygmy slow loris is a species of slow loris; a nocturnal primate, found east of the Mekong River in Vietnam, Laos, eastern Cambodia, and China. The slow loris is one of the few venomous mammals on earth, and the only venomous primate. They have been known to occurs in a variety of forest habitats, including tropical dry forests, semi-evergreen, and evergreen forests.
These animals reside in rainforests and degraded habitats as well as bamboo thickets in Vietnam and evergreen forest in Laos. They have been observed at altitudes as great as 1500 m.
The Sunda pangolin also known as the Malayan or Javan pangolin, is a species of pangolin. It is found throughout Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. Vietnam is home to two species of pangolin, the Sunda pangolin and the Chinese pangolin. The Sunda pangolin inhabits in the South of Viet Nam while the Chinese pangolin in the North.
They make their homes in primary and secondary forest, but will also use gardens and oil palm and rubber plantations. Sunda pangolins are critically endangered. Like their fellow pangolin species elsewhere in Asia and Africa, they are being poached to extinction for their meat and their scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine, though there’s no evidence they are effective.
Where to see Wildlife in Vietnam: Pangolins
Both species are generally found in forested areas and are secretive in nature making it difficult to study population trends. The largest threat to Pangolin survival is the illegal hunting and trade of pangolin and pangolin products.
There are two species of crocodile that can be found throughout Vietnam: the Siamese crocodile and the saltwater crocodile.
Crocodile Lake is home to 200 crocs and is one of Cat Tien National Park’s highlights. Getting here involves a 9km drive or bicycle ride from the park headquarters and then a 5km hike to the swamp; the walk takes about three hours return.
Where to see Crocodiles: Wildlife in Vietnam
Nam Cat Tien National Park is located in Tan Phu, Dong Nai which belongs to Cat Tien National Park. Nam Cat Tien National Park currently covers an area of 38,100 hectares of spectacular forest.
Bau Sau is the second largest wetlands in Vietnam, home of wild aggressive crocodiles. A popular activity is trek to Crocodile Lake (Bau Sau) which gets not only crocodiles but also a great variety of bird and mammals. The Siamese crocodile is a typical animal. These crocodiles are endangered. Rarely, visitors can see them in the wild. We can observe their hunting. It’s so interesting and attractive.
#9 Spinner Dolphin
The species name, longirostris, is Latin for “long beak,” referring to their slender shaped beak. Regarded as one of the most acrobatic of dolphins, spinner dolphins are well known for their habit of leaping from the water and spinning up to seven times in the air before falling back into the water.
Spinner dolphins live in warm ocean waters around the world. There are different populations, including one near Thailand, along the Pacific Ocean coast of Central America, and around the Hawaiian Islands. Capable of surviving in brackish fresh and salt water, the Spinner Dolphin is an incredibly rare sight in Vietnam.
It is believed that the spinner dolphin is one of the most common species of dolphin, along with the bottlenose, though its numbers, have halved in seven years.
Where to see wildlife in Vietnam: Spinner Dolphins
Dolphins have appeared in groups in the waters off Hoi An Town in the central province of Quang Nam and Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.
#10 Asian Water Monitor
The Asian water monitor is a large varanid lizard native to South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the most common monitor lizards in Asia, ranging from coastal northeast India, Sri Lanka, mainland Southeast Asia to Indonesian islands where it lives close to water. Asian Water Monitors are quite intelligent and can become very friendly and even seek out human affection.
Where to see Asian water Monitors in Vietnam:
They live close to bodies of water and are often seen swimming, using the strong tail to move forward.
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW)
is a national Non-Profit Organisation in Vietnam that was founded on the critical need for more effective solutions to secure a future for Vietnamese wildlife.
Their mission is to
- Tackling the illegal wildlife trade in Asia, with a current focus on endangered primate rescue and reintroduction in southern Vietnam.
- Engaging communities through conservation education and awareness.
- Encouraging responsible tourism, respecting wildlife and wild places.
Vietnam is a cultural hub of rich history and extensive natural resources, home to countless wildlife and opportunities to encounter and witness wildlife in the wild. Let us know if you have seen or hope to see any wildlife of Vietnam!