Adventuring in the Nui Chua National Park
The Nui Chua National Park is located in Ninh Thuan, the driest and hottest province of Vietnam. The highest mountain in Nui Chua is the Co Tuy, about over 1,000 meters above sea level, and the Nui Ong, about 978 meters above sea level. The climate in Nui Chua is inherently dry with the lowest precipitation in Vietnam. It is, therefore, chosen by trekkers to test their limits.
Born in 1994, Mai Van Vinh, nicknamed Mai Vinh, grew up in Ninh Thuan. He has a passion for traveling and often organizes camping tours in the province, including the Nui Chua tour that lasts two days and one night. With a cost of about VND 1.6 million per person, the tour crosses over 25 kilometers and is often organized during weekends. Recently, the tour has not been held regularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
|Mai Vinh took a commemorative photo in June 2021. Photo: VnExpress|
On the first day of the tour, trekkers start at the gate of the Nui Chua National Park at around 9 A.M. The first stop in the journey is the An Du lake, the sacred lake of the Raglai ethnic minority group and the main source of freshwater for the hamlets in Vinh Hai commune, where the national park is located. At noon, travelers take a rest and have lunch at the Ba Co creek, then traverse for some four hours until they can reach the camping site, surrounded by pristine forest and the O Liem river.
The scenery at the Nui Chua is different from other places. At the foot of the mountain lies hot sand and from afar are vast grass fields. Going past the fields, trekkers will reach a thick layer of thorny bushes that come in all shapes and sizes to adapt to dry weather.
|Crossing the cogon grass field. Photo: VnExpress|
“Hot weather and loss of physical strength are what tourists often experience on their first day exploring the park, but the temperature on the mountain drops drastically at night,” Mai Vinh said.
On the second day, travelers wake up early to greet the sunrise. They have breakfast at 8 before continuing the journey to climb up hills, cross over bushes, drought-tolerant forests and stiff slopes before they can reach the top of Nui Chua. The reward for those who dare to cross the harsh trekking route is the breathtaking view of the national park.
|Camping in Nui Chua. Photo: VnExpress|
Trekkers begin to descend during the afternoon. Close to the end of the trip, they can enjoy the pure, cold water of the Lo O lake, which can wipe away all tiredness from the long journey.
The Nui Chua tour ends at Cau Giay village, adjacent to the Vinh Hy bay. According to Mai Vinh, those who join the tour can not only pass by the unique geographical conditions of the national park but also explore the traditional culture and farming methods of the Raglai.
|The Lo O lake. Photo: VnExpress|
For the tour, trekkers need only two sets of clothes made from breathable fabric, trekking shoes, hats and light jackets. Because the Nui Chua tour is physically demanding, it is best to bring along a bottle of salted and lime water or a bottle of vitamin C pills to boost up the body. Other tools and even food are prepared by the national park’s service team so tourists can be at ease. Along the way, tourists can enjoy a variety of dishes such as chicken braised with pepper, pork stew, roasted pork or grilled dry fish.
Mai Vinh also noted that tourists who were blue-collars should frequently do running exercises before joining the tour and remember to not bring too many things. Those who have heart or joint conditions should not join such strenuous trips.
The Nui Chua National Park has a total area of over 29, 856 hectares. It was recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve in late September 2021.
The national park brings together forest, sea and semi-desert conditions, consisting of diverse ecosystems with over 1,500 types of plants, 750 types of animals, 350 types of corals and hundreds of sea animals. Because turtles often come to the beaches in the park every year to lay eggs, these areas are under protection.
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