Dong Van Karst Plateau, located in Ha Giang, the northernmost province of Vietnam, at an altitude of over 1,000 metres, was formed by geological forces dating back more than 540 million years. The traces of tectonic processes forming the Earth’s crust hundreds of millions of years ago were found on Dong Van Karst Plateau by geologists.
According to scientists, the landscape and features of Ha Giang rock plateau directly reflect the formation of the Earth’s crust. Scientists have found palaeontological fossils of brachiopods and trilobites dated back to 400 – 541 million years. This is evidence confirming that the Ha Giang area was once part of an ancient ocean.
In addition to these findings, scientists also found traces of prehistoric man in caves here. Besides, the geopark has the Du Gia Nature Reserve (Yen Minh district), Bat Dai Son Natural Reserve (Quan Ba district) which preserve some kinds of endemic plant and animal genes like snub-nosed monkeys, paris polyphylla, and callitropsis vietnamensis.
Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark has abundant flora and fauna and typical tropical monsoon climate. This place is also known for colourful cultures characterised by folk festivals and traditions of 17 ethnic groups. The birth of a geological park called “Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark” is the result of efforts by the government and people of Ha Giang province in the process of finding an appropriate model for sustainable economic development and poverty reduction in a region where industrial and agricultural development is extremely difficult.
On October 1, 2010 in Lesvos (Greece), Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark was officially recognised as one of 77 members of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), becoming the first geopark in Vietnam and the second in Southeast Asia. The province worked out plans to effectively tap heritage values, develop local tourism economy and make tourism a key economic sector in the geopark.
Earlier in 2013, Ha Giang province embarked on building detailed plans for Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark in the 2013 – 2020 phase, with a vision to 2030. The province has also attracted investment capital to promote its individual advantages like heritage values (of geology, culture and biodiversity), micro-climates and nature. This is an important task to implement the master plan of the geopark, to make it an ideal destination for domestic and international tourists, and provide an opportunity for potential investors to create unique tourism products.
With its potentials and internal resources together with the strong determination of the government and the people of Ha Giang province, as well as the assistance and cooperation of local and international partners, the Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark will help Ha Giang to take solid steps in the process of regional and international integration.