50 kilometers from the charming city of Dalat, Bidoup Nui Ba National Park is located between Dam Rong and Lac Duong District, Lam Dong Province. The park has all the qualities to become a tourist attraction: breathtaking scenery, complete immersion in nature and exotic culture of ethnic minorities.
I. Overview of Bidoup Nui Ba National Park
Founded in 2004, the park was named after the two highest peaks of Langbiang plateau: Bidoup and Nui Ba. It is one of the largest biosphere reserves of Vietnam with an accumulated area of 70,038 hectares, housing nearly 2,000 species of plant and 60 species of animal. If you are a natural lover, or a trekking enthusiast who desires a change of atmosphere from the bustling Dalat, this is certainly an ideal destination.
II. Diverse Ecosystem of Bidoup Nui Ba National Park
The most striking features of Bidoup Nui Ba National Park is its incredibly diverse system of flora and fauna, many of which are listed in the IUCN Red Book. With 91% of the park composed of forestland, you will have an amazing time trekking through coniferous woodlands, grasslands and bamboo groves.
Among the thousand flora species, 91 of them are exclusive to Lam Dong and its surrounding regions. That’s why their whereabouts were used to classify these species. Just have a quick search for dalatensis, langbianesis and bidoupensis. You will be surprised by the remarkable vegetation that nature has granted this area.
The national forest houses several kinds of orchid, the vivid and aromatic flower that radiates delicate, extravagant beauty. Hosting nearly 250 species, it has earned the title ‘Kingdom of Orchid’.
During your travel, you may encounter rare animal species such as black bears, vampire flying frogs or yellow cheeked gibbons. Also, the park used to be the habitat of a distinctive species of giant bull, with each reaching up to 2.5 meters in size and weighing around 1 tonne. Some ongoing speculation tells that one or two individuals still exist these days.
Thanks to its positioning at abnormally higher altitudes (650 meters to 2,288 meters above sea level), Bidoup Nui Ba National Park offers a refreshing atmosphere that can hardly be found in overcrowded tourist attractions.
III. Activities to Try at Bidoup Nui Ba National Park
1. Having a Walking Trip
Before you set off, there are a few possible routes, with each one possessing a unique charm. You can come across and admire the stunning Thien Thai Waterfall via a short track of 3.5 kilometers. The vigorous streaming of the valley creates a holistic scene that goes beyond your imagination, hence explaining its reputation as ‘Kingdom of the Immortals.’
For a little more challenge, climb up the peak of Langbiang mountain via a steeper, longer track of 9 kilometers. The reward comes at the end of the hike, when a panoramic view of the park lies in front of your eyes.
If you can spare 2 days of your travel in Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, a 30 kilometer hiking trip throughout the forest is worth considering. There are accommodations available for sleeping overnight, and several exciting activities awaiting you when the sun sets.
Because of the vast area of the park, it is advisable to ask for assistance from a local guide or one of the forest rangers. Walking definitely requires some exertion of energy, but it is the best way to discover the land’s nature and culture.
2. Building a Bonfire and Camping Overnight
To many travel enthusiasts, overnight camping is an exhilarating experience, and luckily, it is possible at Bidoup Nui Ba National Park. Just prepare necessary equipment, including those for nighttime recreational activities, take a ride to the park, travel around before finally stopping at Bidoup Mountain. There, pitch your tent, build up a bonfire and have a cozy time with your loved ones in the chilly midnight weather of Langbiang plateau.
3. Exploring Culture with Native People
Vietnamese people are well known for their hospitality, and the people in the Langbiang plateau is no exception. Besides being a diligent tour guide, they also give you various chances to gain an insight of their culture.
For those camping overnight, have a taste of the traditional rice wine (often known by the name ‘ruou can’) around your bonfire. The liquor’s sweet, intense flavor is the precise depiction of the local’s characters. They are warm-hearted, passionate individuals who always keep their doors open for fellow human beings.
You may be accustomed to drinking in glass, but to fully appreciate the flavor of ‘ruou can’, you must drink it through the straws attached to the wine pot.
And what could be a better way to socialize than a dance? Sometimes, people from the tribe (known by the name K’ho) would gather around a large bonfire and have a dance party. You will notice a peculiar, echoing sound of the gong, a unique instrument of ethnicities in the Central Highland. Come close and with just a little instruction from the friendly locals, you will master the gong dance.
IV. Extra Tips for Visiting Bidoup Nui Ba National Park
- Getting to the park: Most people visit Bidoup Nui Ba National Park as a part of their travel in Da Lat. With a distance of 50 kilometers from the city centre, the best way to get there is on a motorcycle. With an affordable price of 130,000 VND for a full day rental and around 100,000 VND for a filled-up gas tank, you are ready for a wonderful trip to the one of the most famous conservation areas in the region.
- Finding an accomodation: A 2-day trip is recommended for anyone who wishes to explore the diverse ecosystem of Bidoup Nui Ba National Park. The easiest way to find a sleeping place is directly asking your tour guide. He will take you to villagers’ homes with extra guest rooms, or villas specialized for tourists.
- Trying local delicacies: In the breezing weather of Langbian at night, nothing is more appetizing than fragrant, sizzling grilled meat. The juicy meat is complemented by a special spice blend, which goes so well with the traditional ‘ruou can’. Just remember to order one or two hours beforehand in order to get a well-prepared dish.
Bidoup Nui Ba National Park is more than just a place to learn about nature, it allows you to explore a novel culture, make friends with amicable people and challenge your physicality. With this guidance, we hope you will create some unforgettable memories with your travel.
Keyword: Bidoup Nui Ba National Park: a Conservation Centre of Biodiversity in Central Highland