After the hike to the Black Virgin Mountain, I decided to go to a national park named Nam Cat Tien the only rainforest of its kind in the lowlands of South Vietnam. I had never been to a rainforest and didn’t know what to expect, there were several hikes you could take but first I rented a mountain bike to discover the park going through roads with many butterflies. I ended up walking a trail to the crocodile lake.
Sadly I came there around noon and didn't see any Siamese crocodiles. On the way I saw a bit of wild life, many small reptiles, some rodents and birds and even without the crocodiles the lake was still beautiful. The lake is classified as one of the Ramsar wetlands which means it is one of the important wetlands in the world because of its ecological value and the high biodiversity.
The next day I already woke up around half past three to be able to spot gibbons. Gibbons start to sing around 5 o'clock in the morning which means that you have to be in the middle of the jungle before they start to be able to track them down. They sing for about one hour. Because it is low season I was the only one in the group getting a private tour. We walked for a long time going straight through the vegetation and even got some leeches as a result. Those blood suckers were crawling on my belly a really disgusting feeling. Luckily my guide knew how to get rid of them before they could start sucking. Going through the vegetation getting leeches, having a private guide however didn't help me spot them and they told me to come again the next day. After spotting nothing I went to the rescue centre of the national park where they rescue four types of monkeys and the Loris a small nocturnal mammal with big eyes.
I saw some gibbons there and a kind English researcher told me more about the monkeys and how they rescued them. She also gave me a tip for a hike in the late afternoon. At a certain path around 3 pm monkeys cross the road and are easy to spot. So, I start walking around the time mentioned before and indeed some of them where crossing. It was an amazing site, sadly I was too slow to actually make a picture. However still satisfied I went to sleep to get up early again.
The next day the gibbon trek was totally different (got special leech crème and it works) we immediately heard the gibbons and I had to run after again a private guide to keep up. When coming closer we had to walk on stones to not scare them away. Looking up I discovered about 5 or 6 gibbons going around in the highest trees. One male even stopped and looked right at me, perfect I got my picture. I am wondering of the male thought I was a female gibbon since females have just like me blond hair. I will however never know.
In the end, I spotted four types of monkeys of which one of them are the gibbons, many reptiles and bird types, a mouse deer and a rare pheasant. An amazing experience and if you ever come to Vietnam in April or May don’t forget to go to Nam Cat Tien. I saw many animals during the sun rise and during the late afternoon to sunset. If possible, I would like to go back to see the crocodiles but I am afraid I will have no time for that during this trip.
In the picture you see the Lagerstroemia trees, trees so old (hundreds of years) that the roots have become bigger than me (1.80 m). Just try to imagine how big the tree itself is!
Write to you soon,