It is also one of the most popular destinations in the Central Highlands with its magnificent scenery and wildlife and extremely varied flora.
40 km northwest of Buon Ma Thuot city, Yokdon National Park stretches along the Serepok river, which is a branch of the Mekong River. The park covers about 115,000 hectares of which 97,000 are large forests of evergreen trees called Khop trees.
The park is home to no less than 89 species of mammals, 39 of them endangered. It also has elephants, tigers, monkeys, reptiles and rare birds. Its flora is even more varied, including endemic flora species, palm trees, and precious woods.
Tran The Lien, a Yokdon National Park Management Committee member, said “Yokdon National Park was founded in order to preserve nature and biodiversity and at the same time develop ecotourism. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a Master Plan until 2020 to make the park an attractive ecotourism site”.
Services offered at the park ranging from sightseeing and recreation activities to adventure tours and nature study tours.
These tours provide tourists an unforgettable experience. Tourists can choose to hike in the park, day or night, take a boat ride or paddle a kayak through the mist of a dramatic waterfall. Riding elephants is the most popular service.
Exploring Yokdon National Park on elephant back while listening to the mahout recount about hunting stories is very relaxing, Nguyen Thu Ha – a tourist from Hanoi- said “At first I was a little scared but ultimately I found it very interesting. I felt as if I were touring in a fairy land.”
“Riding an elephant deep in the forest, I heard rustling leaves, a murmuring stream and singing birds all around me. I loved hearing stories about elephants, their lives and their habits. It was a great experience”.
Tourists can camp or spend the night at the home of locals, who are happy to share local specialties like com lam – rice cooked in a bamboo tube – rice wine, and grilled wild chicken.
Gong shows and traditional dances performed by ethnic minority artists inspire a lot of tourists. A great effort is being made to preserve the park’s biodiversity while promoting eco-tourism. Local authorities and residents are working together to make Yokdon National Park a major tourist attraction in the central highlands region.