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Yok Don National Park

"We spent two days at Yok Don National Park doing bird watching and elephant riding, both of which were unique, wonderful experiences. The open forest makes birds easy to see and the variety of colourful birds was great. My husband knew the birds well, so we did not need a guide and I'm not sure that a guide that is knowledgeable in both birds and English was available. Opportunities to get up close and personal with an Asian elephant were incredible. We did a two hour ride in a saddle one day, then went out early the next morning to help the handler find his elephant in the forest and take it for a swim in the river. It was fascinating to observe such an amazing animal so closely. We stayed at the guest house at the park, which was basic and clean, and the food was good. ".


Twee rangers op pad in het Park

          Het Yok Don National Park - is the largest nature reserve in Vietnam. It was gradually expanded and now covers 115,000 hectares with mainly dry deciduous forest. In winter, most of the trees lose their leaves. The park is close to the Cambodian border, and the beautiful Serepok river flowing through the Park. This river is a tributary of the Mekong and ensures that the mammalian population is maintained. The best time to visit the park is in the dry season from October to April. But the very best time is from October to December, when temperatures are pleasant. The entrance to the Yok Don National Park is 40 kilometers from Buon Ma Thuot.
Unfortunately, illegal logging and poaching the biggest problem of Yok Don National Park.

Yok Don is home to 89 species of mammals, including wild elephants, tigers, leopards and the rare red wolves. However, these exotic animals are very rare (and rarely seen by visitors). In contrast to the rare animals, you see muntjac deer, monkeys and snakes.
Numerous bird species live in the park, including storks and two species of hornbills.
Within the borders of the National Park are four ethnic villages, mainly M'Nong, Ede and Lao. Three villages are accessible by water (up to three people by boat from the park office), while the fourth settlement deeply hidden in the park and is almost untraceable.
One tries to find a balance between preservation of local cultures (given the poverty of the people of the region) and their traditional way of surviving (fishing, hunting).

 

The best known tribes in the park are the Ede and the M'nong. They live still fairly traditional. They live mainly from hunting and fishing. In addition, they cultivate rice, cashews and mangoes. They also keep pigs, chickens and cattle.
The M'nong are also excellent wild elephants catchers. They keep elephants for heavy-duty work: lifting tree trunks and so on. The M'nong are friendly. They catch only baby elephants and they don't harm the elephant parents physically. After catching they train young elephants.
It is advisable to book in advance a multi-day package. You will go with an English speaking guide deeper into the park. You can book at the entrance to the park or with a tour operator in Buon Ma Thuot.


A trip on an elephant

In Ban Don Village you can take a ride on an elephant and is on the edge of the Yok Don National Park. Every half hour a (full) bus is leaving from Buon Ma Thout to Ban Don (Buon Don). It is best to get in at the Coop Market, otherwise the bus is already full. The distance to Ban Don Village is 40 kilometers.
The whole village is actually a kind of museum. You can see how it used to be in the past. Originally the elephants were tamed and trained by the Ede and the M'Nong were, but the village is now an open air museum, where you can ride on an elephant.
The houses in the village are long and are made entirely of wood. The houses are made on stilts. Some are decorated with ornate woodwork. Sometimes the houses reach a length of 100 meters (longhouse). In the beginning, there lived one family, but as the years passed, more children were born, and they built on to the house. The house became a little bit longer. At that time there was no plans to go live somewhere else or they did not want the hassle of building a home in a new place.
It was a matriarchal society. Women are the boss and the children get the name of the mother. In order to enter the house, there were two ladders. Little one was intended for men bigger ladder was for women.

 

The Ede, Mnong and Jarai have an interesting approach on death. The initial funeral involves gong music, funeral songs, rituals and mourning. The tomb is regularly cared for and the spirit is fed until a tomb abandoning ceremony at a much later date. After any where from one to seven years later, when the family has saved enough money, there’s a joyous farewell party to the spirit. Statues are added to the tomb – common figures are of a woman carrying a basket on her back, mother with child, elephant or elephant tusks, peacocks, monkeys, mourners or jars. Objects are offered, a buffalo or pig is sacrificed (spot the jaw bones hanging above the graves) and the whole community joins in feasting and drinking for up to five days. The spirit and sorrow has been released and the tomb is never visited again and left to decay.

 


Dakruco Hotel

A 4-star property, Dakruco Hotel is located in Buon Ma Thuot in Daklak Province. Featuring a spacious area, it is peaceful and delivers a refreshing ambience. Just a 10-minute drive from the airport, the property gives great comfort and is suitable for both business and leisure travelers. Boasting 120 rooms and suites, they feature facilities like a standard spa, fitness center, gymnasium, swimming pool, and sport center including indoor tennis courts, table tennis, and badminton. A flawless property, Dakruco Hotel is definitely worth your stay.

Information and more photos: Dakruco Hotel |click now|

 


 




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