A survey was conducted on the species composition, richness and abundance of Papilionoidea (excluding Lycaenidae) butterfly fauna in habitats with various degrees of disturbance and altitudes in tropical forests at Tam Dao National Park, northern Vietnam in 2001. The transect method was used to collect data in the survey. Six transects representing different habitat types at two sites, one site located at a low elevation of 200–250 m a.s.l., and the other located at a high elevation of 950–1000 m a.s.l., were chosen: three transects for each site, with a length of 500 m for each transect. A total of 3594 individuals of 127 species in 240 sets of data were recorded from various habitats. The differences in butterfly composition, species richness, abundance and diversity in different habitat types and altitudes were analyzed. The results showed significant differences of butterfly diversity among the different habitat types and between the low and high altitude sites. The butterfly diversity, species richness and species abundance in the low elevation habitats were higher than in the high elevation habitats. The highest diversity of butterflies occurred in the mixed habitats of agriculture, scrub and clearing lands of high disturbance. However, butterflies most important for conservation are associated with undisturbed or moderately disturbed forests only.