Further away from the tourist fanfare of Vietnam’s other national parks, Bù Gia Mâp is a serene place where visitors can enjoy nature at its most spectacular. Multiple river systems feed into the national park, making Bù Gia Mâp a lush paradise that is excellent for hiking, camping, and chasing waterfalls.
As a watershed of the Dong Nai River, Bù Gia Mâp also features a diverse mix of Southern Vietnam’s plant and animal species, which visitors can view as they tour the national park.
Covering 100 square miles of land, Bù Gia Mâp National Park is in Southern Vietnam’s Bình Phuóc Province. The national park straddles the regional border where the landscape transitions from the Central Highlands to Lowlands. A partially mountainous terrain, water flows through the national park. Some of the park’s streams include Dak Hyut, Dak K’me, Dak Ka, and Dak Sa.
Ho Chi Minh City is about 124 miles (200 km) to the southwest of the national park, meanwhile, Dong Xoài, the closest major city, is about 62 miles (100 km) from the main entrance. As a part of the national park’s buffer zone, there are multiple small villages within Bù Gia Mâp where visitors can arrange a homestay.
Bù Gia Mâp was declared a national park in November 2002. Before then, it was a dedicated conservation area, and even further back, the park was once tied to the war as the country resisted US forces. Bù Gia Mâp guides don’t shy away from the park’s past with tours aiming to educate visitors about the history, biology, and tourism of the area.
With limited information available online about the national park’s history, those who have the chance to visit the area will be able to learn more by taking a tour of Bù Gia Mâp.
What to Do
Booking a tour is the only way that visitors will gain access to Bù Gia Mâp National Park. All guests must be with a guide to ensure their safety and security. With Bù Gia Mâp being close to the Cambodian border, Vietnam also uses local guides to track who is coming and going from the national park.
Local guides are an incredible resource as they help visitors navigate the dense forests. With full itineraries, guests should expect to be very active during their time in the park. For active travelers, Bù Gia Mâp is guaranteed to keep you on your toes with its impressive network of forest trails.
Lower in altitude but still challenging, hiking in Bù Gia Mâp is an experience everyone should have. The verdant forests soothe the eyes and hikers will be fascinated by the wildlife and scenery. A mix of gentle and challenging trails ensures that all visitors will enjoy their time in the national park.
Streams, Waterfalls, and Campsites
Many hiking tours are geared towards popular destinations including the Dak Ka stream and the Dak Mai and Luu Ly waterfalls. The trek to the falls is longer and many tour itineraries make the trip a multi-day adventure. With overnight options, park guests will be allowed to camp and cook, as long as they are accompanied by a local guide.
Some tour companies have all-inclusive packages that include the tent, camping kitchen, and food.
Plants and Wildlife
In addition to the trails, local guides are extremely educated about Bù Gia Mâp’s plants and wildlife. With medicinal and endangered species, the national park is an important landscape for many of Vietnam’s endemic plants and animals. There are 724 plant types in Bù Gia Mâp National Park including the rare kinds of rosewood.
Globally threatened species in the national park include the blank-shanked duoc, guar, and yellow-cheeked crested gibbon. These mammals have been threatened by deforestation and poaching throughout the decades, which makes Bù Gia Mâp one of their last remaining territories.
Conservation goals in the national park are aimed at educating the locals to reduce human impact on the environment, which gives plants and animals a chance to recover their numbers and thrive.
Bù Gia Mâp National Park is about 4 and ½ hours outside of Ho Chi Minh City. Travelers have the option of driving from Saigon to the park’s main entrance or they can fly to Dong Xoài, which is the capital city of the Bình Phuóc Province. From Dong Xoài, the national park is about 2 hours away. The closest communities to the park are ethnic villages in the buffer zone.
Most tour guides operate from HCMC and they will provide transportation for their clients. Tour itineraries are normally multi-day excursions, so visitors will have time to travel to the national park without having to miss out on any activities. A few tour operators may be hired in Dong Xoài too. All visitors must arrive at the main entrance of Bù Gia Mâp with a guide or will be denied entrance.
When to Visit
The dry season is the safest time to visit Bù Gia Mâp National Park because there is less rain and humidity. With drier trails during the months of November to April, guests won’t have to trudge through the mud and fog to reach their destination. However, many visitors will argue that the wet season is the most beautiful time to visit the national park because of the greenery and waterfalls.
Bù Gia Mâp National Park is open year-round, but only fit or experienced hikers should consider tackling the difficult trails during the wet season. The wet season starts in May and lasts until October. The summer months tend to be the rainiest and hottest time of the year. June, July, and August are also popular months for visitors due to summer vacation time.
When it comes to spending time in nature, it is hard to top the experience of Bù Gia Mâp National Park. Often overlooked, this national park is a pristine paradise where visitors can disengage with the city life and embrace nature’s tranquility. From jumping rock to rock across a stream or spending a night under the stars, Bù Gia Mâp will show you what makes Vietnam so spectacular.
Address: Bù Gia Mập District, Binh Phuoc, Vietnam
Phone: +84 98 223 92 54