The national park covers an area of about 22,000 ha in the districts of Phu Loc and Nam Dong. It was created in 1991 to protect the center of the last corridor of forest stretching from the South China Sea to the Annamite mountain range at the border with the Lao PDR.
With steep mountains and dense forests this area is home to a wide variety of animals and plants. At the base of the mountains there is tropical monsoon forest, above 900 m sub-tropical forest. There are species from both northern and southern Vietnam, and Bach Ma is recognized as one of the areas of Indochina with high biodiversity. Bach Ma mountain peak is the highest point in the park at 1450 m above sea level and is only 18 km away from the coast.
In 1932, the summit of Bach Ma selected by the French chief engineer Girard to become a hill station for the colonial administration of Hue. In the following years, a village including 139 villas and hotels was created, which soon became known as the Da Lat of Central Vietnam. For accommodating holiday makers and to avoid commuting on the steep, 19 km long road to the next major town, there were even a post office, a market, and a hospital. After the French left Vietnam in 1954, the hill resort was soon forgotten and the remains of some of these buildings are now being smothered by the returning jungle.
The South Vietnamese government designated the Bach Ma – Hai Van National Park in 1962 but the conservation initiatives did not last very long. The Vietnam War saw heavy fighting in the park as the summit was used as an advanced helicopter base by the US Military.
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