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Vietnam Day 4: Trekking Bach Ma National Park

9:39 am – Pho Bo for a late breakfast, then going to Back Ma. Hai invited his cousins – Hung and Hieu. They have a day off today, so they said they would join us.

10:03 am – Met cousins and had a pre-trip coffee. Hung is 28 years old and a lighting installer, and Hieu is 21 years old and a student of Finance and Computer Science.

Elixir of youth.

Elixir of youth.

11:14 am – Driving to Bach Ma. Going to take a few hours.



11:20 am – Arrived at the foot of the mountains, Need to drop off the scooters and take a bus under a tunnel to get to the other side. It is the start of the rainy season here, which means my worst fear, leeches, come out in the forests. Really hoping we don’t see any.

Buying a ticket for passage under the mountain.

Buying a ticket for passage under the mountain.

11:22 am – History lesson. The French built villas in this area in the early to mid 1900s, Viet Minh did not like this so there was a lot of fighting in the region around 1950. That means there are still a handful of unexploded ordinances in the jungle. Fun!

12:40 pm – Made it to the entrance of Bach Ma, got lost a few times. The visitor’s center is in the middle of no where, without the cousins to constantly ask directions, we would not have made it.

12:55 pm – Visitor center said it is too rainy on the top of the mountain, but we can trek to a waterfall a little ways up. Said it should take an hour to get there.

1:30 pm – This trek is absurd. 5 km up a 10% inclined road with a steep side drop. Hai is dying and the rest of us aren’t far behind. I think the visitor’s center lady meant it takes an hour from the start of the actual trail…

10% incline for 3 miles up.

10% incline for 3 miles up.



2:40 pm – Finally made it up the grueling mountain to the waterfall area and it turns out we have another 3 kilometers to walk to get there… but this time through intense jungle.

The look of defeat.

The look of defeat.

3:15 pm – The jungle is scary. As Christine Callahan once said about Namibia, Africa – “It seems everything beautiful here also wants to kill me.” Check her blog by clicking here.



3:20 pm – Could hear the waterfall from far away. The jungle was full of noises and insects, but we actually made it.


4:31 pm – Walking back down now. Sore all over. It is nice chatting with Hieu and Hung (Huong?). Even though we don’t understand 99% of what each other says, you start picking up on gestures and body language.

Hai's foot leech.

Hai’s foot leech.

Caterpillar of doom.

Caterpillar of doom.

Giant green jungle snake.  How did we survive this trip.

Giant green jungle snake. Just wait until I post the giant colorful jungle spider we saw… size of my fist. How did we survive this hike.

7:30 pm – Scootering back and we got stuck in the storm from Hell. The mountains attract typhoon-like storms and we were not prepared at all. Soaked, cold, and afraid of Zeus’ lightning.

Took a sugar cane juice break to try and wait out the storm.  The storm did not like that.

Took a sugar cane juice break to try and wait out the storm. The storm did not like that.

7:41 pm – Made it back to the underground mountain pass. Still typhooning out, and Hai’s nice camera got water in it. Rough end to a long day.


8:32 pm – The other side of the mountain is not storming. We are having a large dinner. Guy singing karaoke and selling people candy at the restaurant was kind of annoying.


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One comment on “Vietnam Day 4: Trekking Bach Ma National Park”

  • Kim Donohue says:

    Amazing journey – I’m jealous except for the leeches, snakes and spiders.

    Large tropical storm headed for northern Viet Nam / Southern China.

    Stay south – keep posting!