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National parks ideal for weekend getaways

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If you want to temporarily leave behind the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy fresh air in forests, national parks not very far from HCMC may be venues of choice.

Bu Gia Map, Nam Cat Tien and Lo Go-Xa Mat are among the national parks recommended for travelers for that purpose.

Bu Gia Map National Park

The national park in Binh Phuoc Province, around 200 kilometers from HCMC, covers more than 26,000 hectares. Among this area are 21,316 hectares of natural forest which is home to 724 species of plants and 473 animals comprising rare or threatened species.

In Bu Gia Map, travelers can experience trekking routes through Dac Mai Cascade, S’tieng ethnic people’s village, Dak Ka Stream, Luu Ly Cascade, Dak Bo Cascade, etc. The trekking tours give tourists a chance to immerse themselves in nature, enjoy the beauty of cascades and learn more about local life.

There are two roads leading to the national park. Travelers can follow a ring road along the Dak Huyt River which is known as a natural border between Vietnam and Cambodia. They may choose as well another road via Dak Nong Province.

The trip offers several excited activities, such as catching fishes, swimming in Dak Ka Stream, Luu Ly and Dak Bo cascades and camping at night. Moreover, they should try local specialties whose main ingredients are fishes caught from streams and wild vegetables found in forests.

In November, paths in the national park are covered with wild sun flowers.

Nam Cat Tien National Park

Around 150 kilometers from HCMC, the 700-square-kilometer national park stretches across Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc provinces. More than 60 species of orchid and 40 rare animals living in Nam Cat Tien have been listed in the Red Book. The national park itself is  an UNSESCO-recognized World Biosphere Reserve.

Tourists can explore the national park on foot or by bike.

Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake) in Nam Cat Tien National Park is where tourists can admire crocodiles and birds. The biosphere reserve also features Dao Tien (Fairy Island) which is in fact an area fenced to protect rare animals and plants, and a bear rescue station taking care bears that are found injured in the forest.

The national park offers a service that allows tourists to observe animals at night. The best time to see animals hunting is from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Moreover, tourists should visit Ta Lai to know about local life of Ma, S’tieng and Tay ethnic groups and try local specialties. Those who want to stay overnight can set up camp in the forest or book eco motels nearby.

An observation tower in Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park

Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park

The national park, about 150 kilometers from HCMC, spreads on more than 16,000 hectares in Tay Ninh Province. Its geographical location, height of land and hydrological regime are greatly affected by Vam Co Dong River’s flow and significantly contribute to the local vegetation. Scientists believe in the national parks are semi-deciduous forests, lowland deciduous forests, evergreen forests and melaleuca forests.

The national park is home to rare animals like langurs, white-chested bears, Asian openbill storks, Alexandrine parrots and Sarus cranes. Walking in the forest to enjoy the fresh air, taking a boat trip on rivers and catching mussels are experiences that travelers should not miss. Last but not least, tourists can take pleasure in a tour which takes them to historical relics deep in the forest or a tour of Da Ha Stream where a ranger will teach them forest survival skills.

By Thuy An

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