Positioned in the Southern Annamite Mountains, Chu Yang Sin National Park has a stunning topography that is comprised of steep mountains, narrow valleys, and thickset forests. Tropical in climate, the national park has become an ecotourist destination and highlight in South Central Vietnam.
Moderately popular and easier to access, visitors won’t have the park all to themselves, but they also won’t be stuck being paraded around in a massive group.
Chu Yang Sin National Park is 37 miles (60 kilometers) outside of Buôn Ma Thuôt City in the Dak Lak Province. The national park has multiple zones with a core protected area being the main attraction for visitors. Outside of the forested area, a large buffer zone houses a diverse mix of ethnic minorities who live in small communes and villages.
Less remote, Chu Yang Sin is an attainable destination for many of the province’s tourists.
Holiday-goers who are more interested in staying in local hotels will most likely be comfortable arranging for accommodation in Buôn Ma Thuôt City, then traveling to the park by private transportation. Visitors who are comfortable sleeping in more limited accommodation may want to consider staying closer to the park by booking an overnight in a local commune or village.
Chu Yang Sin is one of many national parks that were established in 2002 by Vietnam’s then prime minister. Opened in July of that year, Chu Yang Sin was previously a nature reserve and protected forest area. Other than its establishment, most of the park history is not widely available.
Due to most historical accounts being local to the area, visitors will have to travel to Chu Yang Sin to explore more about the national park’s extensive past. Locals have been living in Chu Yang Sin and the Dak Lak Province for many generations, with inhabited villages and communes continuing to thrive. The ethnic history around the park is significant to Vietnam’s traditions and culture.
The dominant indigenous groups in the area include the Ede and M’Nong people, while minority groups consist of the Mu’ô’ng, H’Mông, Thai, Tay, and Nùng people.
What to Do
Contrary to most of Vietnam’s national parks, where tourists often have free reign over parts of the area, booking a tour is required to enter and visit Chu Yang Sin. The vast majority of tour itineraries will include a hike and a village visit. With most of the forest protected and off-limits, these are the only ways to explore Chu Yang Sin National Park.
Guided Hikes Through Chu Yang Sin
Before visitors can get all excited about heading off into the forest, it is important to plan your trip to Chu Yang Sin by booking a local tour. All hikers must have a valid permit to hike and trek in Chu Yang Sin. The permits must be pre-authorized, so you can’t show up to the park on a whim and ask for admittance.
Authorized tours of Chu Yang Sin will take care of all their clients and ensure that they have the correct permits to enter the park. Hiking tours in Chu Yang Sin are frequently booked as a single or multi-day package.
Short trips to the park won’t be able to go very deep in the forest, but multi-day treks will take visitors all the way to the top of Chu Yang Sin Mountain, which is the highest peak in the park. The summiting trekking tours last for 3 days and visitors will camp overnight with their guides.
Culture at Your Fingertips
Included in a hiking tour or as a separate venture entirely, visitors shouldn’t miss out on seeing Chu Yang Sin’s ethnic villages. The Don Village has become an acclaimed tourist destination because of its chicken. Raised differently, the chicken meat is leaner and said to be more delicious. Served with sauces and a local spicy herb, the chicken has made the village famous.
Aside from eating, homestays provide visitors with the opportunity to observe and learn about the local ethnic culture. From raising chickens to cooking and even fishing, homestays get visitors to actively participate and interact with the local people. Aside from being educational for guests, a portion or all of the fee for a homestay experience directly helps the locals and their village.
Plants and Wildlife
A diverse range of flora grows in Chu Yang Sin National Park. Bamboo, coniferous, and elfin forest formations are present and cover most of the park’s 231 square miles of land. Over very limited portions of the park, grasslands grow at lower elevations. Of all the flora growing in the park, a few of the species are important to the locals because they are ingredients in traditional medicine.
A large number of animal species can also be found in Chu Yang Sin with rare birds frequently being spotted on tours. As an important bird area, Chu Yang Sin is home to eight restricted-range birds including Germain’s peacock and collared laughingthrush.
Large mammals, like the black-shanked duoc, golden jackals, and yellow-crested gibbon, are not commonly seen as they have small recorded populations.
How to Get There
Since most overnights in the park are limited to hiking or homestay tours, visitors tend to congregate in Buôn Ma Thuôt City before traveling to Chu Yang Sin. The city is slightly northeast of the town, but with both public and private transportation options, visitors have easy access to the national park. While some tours meet at the park, a few leave from Buôn Ma Thuôt and provide transportation.
Travelers from other parts of the country have the option of flying or taking a road trip to the Dak Lak province. Domestic flights from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi are options for time-limited travelers and routes frequently drop passengers off in Buôn Ma Thuôt. Visitors who have the time to road trip may pass through Dak Lak Province and choose to visit the park.
When to Visit
By far, the dry season is the best time to visit Chu Yang Sin National Park. Not only is the weather ideal for hikers, and allows for safe navigation, but also coincides with plenty of festivals in the province to celebrating both the end and start of the year. December to April is the prime time to visit Chu Yang Sin National Park because there is less rain to interfere with your outdoor activities.
A Gem in Dak Lak
Home to the highest peaks in Dak Lak Province, Chu Yang Sin National Park is slowly building its international presence. Ecotourism is still on the down-low in the park with few outsiders arranging a tour. All that is about to change. Word has spread about the park’s beauty.
Slowly but surely, Chu Yang Sin is becoming an ecotourist hotspot. Unlike the cold of the north, hikers in Chu Yang Sin will enjoy the tropical climate as they trudge their way up the tallest peaks in the Annamese Mountains. Along the way, Chu Yang Sin awes park guests with its natural beauty and cultural significance.
Address: Đam Rông District, Dak Lak Province, Vietnam
Phone: +84 94 795 05 04