Nam Cat Tien National Park
A heaven for lovers of nature and outdoor activities, Cat Tien National Park is one of six biosphere reserves recognized by UNESCO in Vietnam. The park protects one of the largest areas of lowland tropical rainforests in Vietnam and is home to 362 bird species, hundreds of butterflies, fauna, singing gibbons, crocodiles, bears and even elephants.
Treks organised through park headquarters (HQ) are a popular choice, with walks from half-day to overnight available. The overnight trek includes a homestay in Dac Lua village. A bear rescue centre, operated by WAR, is located at park headquarters and a primate rescue, rehabilitation and release project is on aptly named Gibbon Island. The other animal-related attraction - besides the wildlife you will see all around the park - is Crocodile Lake. An entry fee is applied for both.
Bicycles are another good way to get around and can be hired at the HQ and Ta Lai Longhouse. Inside the park it’s all proper roads so if you want more of an adventure you’re best off finding mountain-biking routes outside the park. Ta Lai Longhouse can help with this and can also arrange kayaking excursions if you prefer to travel on water.
Chua Chan Mountain
Around 130 kilometers southeast of HCMC, Chua Chan is the second highest mountain in the south of the nation, at 800 meters above sea level. The mountain has gained fame with a pagoda called Buu Quang on the peak and a strange banyan tree with three roots nestled in the middle of the mountain, which has drawn attention from large numbers of pilgrims in neighboring provinces.
From HCMC, tourists can start their journey along National Highway No.1 to reach Long Khanh Town, and then drive about 30 kilometers on Provincial Road 766 to Xuan Loc Town and continue another three kilometers to get to the mountain. Upon arrival, travelers have two options to reach the peak of the mountain. The first option is to take a cable car ride costing at VND 200,000 (US$8.78) for a round trip or negotiate around 400 stone steps to the mountain top. After conquering the mountain, tourists can camp overnight on the summit with a rented hammock at VND 60,000 per night in order to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
Giang Dien Waterfall
Giang Dien waterfall is a particularly interesting natural landscape which has been expanded and built into an ecological resort. Starting from Long Khanh, bendy small streams join Buong river and pour into Dong Nai river, Giang Dien is formed by three waterfalls of Chang, Nang and the major waterfall of Giang Dien.
Giang Dien originated from an interesting legend. Village patriarchs told that Mạ ethnic minority people lived in this place many years ago. At that time, here was a couple who loved each other very much but they could not come to the marriage and committed suicide. This stream turned into two waterfalls namely Chang (He) and Nang (She) or called Doi (Couple).
Rough stones are located among white water foams, creating a wonderful beauty spot. Along the waterfall bank is small and big rocks heaped up together like a foundation for banana to flower in spring. The suspension bridge named Mimosa floats in the middle of natural lawns and flower gardens, bringing visitors from the major waterfall to the Doi waterfall area with fresh water.
Long Khanh Orchards
Orchards in Long Khanh, Dong Nai Province, are highlighted with ripe red rambutan trees along the roadsides. If you like, you can stop at any orchard to buy rambutan, mangosteen, durian or custard apple. Walking in the garden covered with cool shady trees, visitors are interested in looking at ripe bunches of rambutan hanging over their heads or yellow bunches of strawberry dangling from the branches to the roots.
The most interesting of garden tourism is that visitors could climb up the trees and pick fruits to scale, pay money and free to eat. If visiting in a big group, visitors could be able to buy the whole tree. When eating overfilled, garden owners have responsibility to cut the rest of fruits on the tree for tourists to bring home. In addition, the gardeners also provide “full stomach” service which allows you to eat as much as you can. The price for this service ranges from VND 20,000 to VND 80,000 depending on the price of each year and each kind of fruits.