Introducing Yok Don National Park
Yok Don National Park, the largest of Vietnam’s nature reserves, has been gradually expanded and today encompasses 115,545 hectares of mainly dry deciduous forest. The park runs all the way up to the border with Cambodia, with the beautiful Srepok River flowing through it.
Unfortunately deforestation is a big problem, particularly in the region closest to the entrance.
Yok Don is home to 67 mammal species including wild elephants, tigers, leopards and rare red wolves. However, these exotica are very rare (and virtually never encountered by visitors). More common wildlife includes muntjac deer, monkeys and snakes.
Within the park’s boundaries are four minority villages, predominantly M’nong but also with Ede and Lao people. Three villages are accessible while the fourth is deep inside the park.
The delicate balance between ecological conservation and the preservation of local cultures is a challenge, considering the poverty of the region’s people and their traditional means of survival, such as hunting.
To explore the national park, you’ll have to either engage your own guide from Buon Ma Thuot or pick one up at the park entrance. Guides cost 170,000d for basic sightseeing or 280,000d per half day for trekking. Overnight trek prices start at 1,000,000d (including accommodation in a ranger station). There’s also a 100,000d boat fee to cross the Srepok River.
Elephant rides (220,000d per hour per person) are available.