How To Explore The Whole Yok Don National Park In Vietnam?

Yok Don National Park is one of the most prominent tourist attractions of Dak Lak Province, containing many interesting features and activities, such as mountain climbing, getting up close to elephants, and exploring the cultural identity of the Central Highlands,... Said to be the largest special-use forest in Vietnam, this place also possesses extremely rich and unique biodiversity.

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yok don national park
Source: @Yok Don National Park

With a total area of about 115,545ha, Yok Don National Park was established in 1992 and is currently an attractive eco-tourism destination. This place offers various activities from sightseeing boat rides, and elephant rides, to overnight stays, camping, and climbing,... If you are interested in exploring nature and are a big fan of Vietnamese ecotourism, this park is a must-visit place in Dak Lak province of the Central Highlands. 

I - Why Yok Don National Park?

1 - Diverse flora of Yok Don National Park

The national park of Yok Don has both natural and man-made ecosystems, in which the former occupies over 85% of the area with the characteristic of having the only dipterocarp forest system in Vietnam. The flora here is very rich and diverse with about 1000 species belonging to 132 families and 464 genera, focusing mainly on the orchid phylum, with 559 species. In addition, there are 227 species of large and small timber trees, with high economic value such as dalbergia oliveri and cochinchinensis, afzelia xylocarpa,... This is also home to 116 species of medicinal plants, 35 species of ornamental plants, and other valuable resources.

In Yok Don National Park Vietnam, there are 16 families with over 10 species, namely Anacardiaceae, Cyperaceae, Fabaceae, Poaceae, Rubiaceae, etc. Yok Don is currently the only national park in Vietnam that preserves the Dipterocarpaceae forest, with Dipterocarpus gracilis trees. You can also find here 14 rare and precious species recorded in the Vietnam Red Book.

At the national park of Yok Don in Dak Lak Province, you will be immersed in the fresh forest space, walking on the paths illuminated by the rays of the sun through the dense foliage. There are not only different shades of green here but also a variety of red, yellow, purple,… coming from all kinds of vines, flowers, and leaves in changing seasons. Finding a flat place, spreading a tarp or pitching a tent and camping will be wonderful experiences.

2 - The fauna of Yok Don National Park

yok don national park vietnam

Source: @Dinh Tuan

Due to the characteristics of the dipterocarp forest ecosystem and flat terrain, Yok Don has diverse fauna with characteristics typical of Southeast Asia. According to surveys by scientists from 1991 to the present, there are 384 vertebrate species here. This is the only place in Vietnam where many precious animals are concentrated in large numbers such as leopards, iguanas, red wolves, and Asian elephants,…

Characterized by an abundance of ungulates, such as elephants, tigers, gaurs, and bison, the vertebrate fauna here includes 30 species listed in the Vietnam Red Book and 17 listed in the World Red Book (IUCN 2000). Yok Don National Park is one of the important bird conservation areas, with 20 species recorded in the Vietnam Red Book (2000), 9 endemic species, and 1 narrowly distributed. Some of them that are currently threatened at the global level include the red cashmeal chicken, peacock, the brown heron, polihierax insignis, leptoptilos javanicus,...

Yok Don forest has 48 species of reptiles belonging to 17 families, 4 orders, and 16 species of frogs belonging to 4 families, 1 order. In which, there are 16 species recorded in the Vietnam Red Book (2000), 2 species are at the endangered level, 9 species at the vulnerable level, and 5 species at the threatening level. Lastly, the insect fauna includes 437 species belonging to 83 families and 11 orders, notably the butterfly fauna confirming the biodiversity of Yok Don National Park Vietnam.

Because of such diversity, this national park is a great place if you are a nature lover who likes exploring wildlife. Wandering, you will easily encounter countless animals, listening to the birds chirping in the dense green canopies. In particular, there are many interesting programs to experience with animals, giving you the opportunity to get up close, see with your own eyes and feed them, while still ensuring the safety and health of everyone.

3 - Many interesting experiences in Yok Don 

yok don national park accommodation

Source: @yokdontour

In addition to the biodiversity values, the national park of Yok Don is a place to discover the unique culture of the Central Highlands, the ancient architecture, the unique cuisine, etc. You can visit ethnic villages, stay in traditional stilt houses, learn about the customs, and attend festivals while enjoying specialty foods and drinks. In the area of ​​Yok Don National Park, there are also traces of revolutionary historical sites from wartime such as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the Inter-connection wharf…

This national park is one of the best places for taking an ecotour in the Central Highlands - one of the most pristine Vietnam travel places thanks to its poetic landscapes of mountains and forests, majestic rapids, and a relatively pleasant climate. The top exciting things to experience here are hiking or biking to sightsee, and observing Vietnamese birds and wild animals, combined with camping, fishing, and boating on the legendary Serepok River,… If you are a little bit afraid of having to stay the whole time in the forest, Yok Don also offers many convenient facilities such as motels, canteens, and tourist camps.

II - Top 8 experiences in Yok Don National Park Vietnam

There are many interesting activities in the national park of Yok Don, but you should contact the management board in advance to get advice, and weather information if there was any unexpected situation,...

1 - Getting closer to Yok Don National Park elephants

yok don national park elephants

Source: thrillophilia

Elephants of Yok Don previously took part in carrying passengers, but since 2014 the place has gradually changed and reduced this tourist activity. By 2018, the national park had cooperated with Animals Asia to completely switch to an elephant-friendly tourism model. Now, their well-being comes first - elephants can exhibit natural behavior in their environment, with no human constraints or chains. If desired, you will be arranged to join tours limited to a maximum of 5 people, going to different places in the forest to observe, learn about elephants and feed them.

Your guide will tell you about each elephant’s personality, their past, and why they live in Yok Don National Park. There are also interesting stories about the long history of elephant training and care of ethnic minorities in the area. You will hear both information about the national park, the species of trees and wild animals living in the forest, the medicinal plants that the local people use,.. You can even see traces of wild elephants living here, like footprints, tracks of them foraging or even droppings.

Half day tour

- Duration: 3 hours

+ Morning: 8am - 11am

+ Afternoon: 1:30pm - 4:30pm

- Price: 600,000 - 800,000 VND / person ($26.21 - 34.94)

- Note: You should book in advance so that the national park can confirm and make a plan.

Full day tour

- Duration: 8 hours

- Price: 1,200,000 - 1,400,000 VND / person ($52.41 - 61.15)

- Note: You can have a picnic-style lunch in the forest before going to meet the elephants in the afternoon.

2 - Cycling in Yok Don National Park

The national park of Yok Don has more than 200 km of dirt roads, convenient for you to explore by bicycle through Phat waterfall, Drang Phok lake, Yok Don mountain… In particular, the Bay Nhanh waterfall is an ideal place to visit - the only place where the legendary Serepok River splits into seven branches creating a beautiful scene. Because elephants walk freely in the park, you are not allowed to go into the forest by yourself, but hire a guide along, to ensure the safety of yourself and the elephants.

- Price: 100,000 VND / bicycle / day ($4.37)

- Note: Get a free map at the reception area before you go sightseeing by bike.

- Motorbike renting: 300,000 VND / motorbike / day ($13.1)

3 - Bird watching

yok don national park tour

Source: dinhtuan

Bird watching is an interesting part of your Yok Don National Park tour. Participating in this activity, you are able to see the diverse bird species of Yok Don. This program takes place early in the morning so you will have to stay overnight here.

- Duration: 3 hours

- Price: 300,000 - 500,000 VND / person ($13.1 - 21.8)

4 - Night hiking and camping in Yok Don

On this hiking trip, you will be able to explore and learn about the typical scenes, the animals that only appear in Yok Don at night. Camping in the grasslands or under the cool canopy of the dipterocarp forest is also an extremely interesting experience. Waking up in the morning, you can enjoy the fresh air of the mountains and forest and listen to melodic chirping sounds in Yok Don National Park.

Half day tour

- Duration: 3 hours

+ Morning: 8am - 11am

+ Afternoon: 1:30pm - 4:30pm

- Price: 150,000 - 450,000 VND / person ($6.6 - 19.7)

Full day tour

- Duration: 8:30am - 4pm

- Price: 200,000 - 600,000 VND / person ($8.7 - 26.2)

Overnight tour

- Price: 1,200,000 VND / 2 person ($52.4), included hammock / tent

- Note: 400,000 VND / additional guest ($17.5)

5 - Joining a traditional cooking class

In this program, you will prepare a meal together with your guide and an Ede family at Jang Lanh Village - 700m from the national park. Local dishes are often fussy and time-consuming to prepare, focusing on taste rather than presentation, and combining a lot of ingredients. 

More details about the cooking class in Yok Don National Park

- Price: 300,000 - 400,000 VND / person ($13 - 17.5)

- Note: Maximum of 3 people / tour and guide is included in the price.

6 - Cruising on the Serepok River

yok don national park kayaking

Source: trekking-camping

The magnificent Serepok River is 332 km long, flowing through the national park of Yok Don before entering Cambodia. Cruising along the river, you will be able to see the beauty of the water space, combined with bird watching, and sunset admiring if you choose to tour in the afternoon.

- Duration: 1 hour

- Price:

+ Rowing wooden boat: 400,000 VND / 2 person ($17.5)

+ Motor boat: 400,000 VND / 3 person ($17.5)

7 - Trekking through the forest

On this trip, you will discover the wonderful natural beauty, the mysteries of precious biodiversity and the ecosystem of Yok Don National Park. In addition to trekking through the green space, you will also have a relaxing time bathing and swimming in Dak Lau stream, Dak Ken stream, and Dak Tol stream. The guide can introduce you to valuable medicinal plants and forest experiences, helping you recognize species of birds based on their sounds. 

Details of the trekking tour: 

Half day tour

- Duration: 3 hours

+ Morning: 8am - 11am

+ Afternoon: 1:30pm - 4:30pm

- Price: 150,000 - 450,000 VND / person ($6.6 - 19.7)

- Note: Included guide.

Full day tour

- Duration: 8:30am - 4pm

- Price: 200,000 - 600,000 VND / person ($8.7 - 26.2)

>>> If you are interested in trekking trails in Vietnam, feel free to read the article: Why trekking in Vietnam is the best experience for backpack travelers?

8 - Fishing at Yok Don National Park Vietnam

Yok Don has up to six natural streams rich in fish and shrimp flowing through, with countless great fishing and relaxation spots. Natural streams wind like lovely silks, as clear as mirrors reflecting the beautiful surroundings. If you have a little adventurous spirit or like a challenge, you can go fishing at night and experience the feeling of waiting for a bite in the dark.

Detailed information about the fishing tour: 

Half day tour

- Duration: 3 hours

- Price: 150,000 - 450,000 VND / person ($6.6 - 19.7)

Full day tour

- Duration: 8am - 4pm

- Price: 200,000 - 600,000 VND / person ($8.7 - 26.2)

III - Other information about Yok Don National Park 

1 - Traveling to Yok Don

The national park of Yok Don is located in both Dak Nong and Dak Lak provinces, about 40km northwest of Buon Ma Thuot City. From Buon Ma Thuot City, you can travel by numerous means of transportation such as:

Bus (green - pink color)

- Duration: 1 - 1.5 hours

- Frequency: 30 minutes / trip from 6am - 5pm

- Price: 22,000 VND / ticket ($1)

- Bus boarding point

+ Provincial bus station: No.71 Nguyen Chi Thanh Street, Tan An Ward, Buon Ma Thuot City

+ CO.OPMART: No.71 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Tan An Ward, Buon Ma Thuot City

+ On Le Hong Phong Street, near Dak Lak Provincial Museum

Taxi to Yok Don National Park

- Price:

+ From Buon Ma Thuot City: 500,000 VND / 4-seater car / trip ($22)

+ From Buon Ma Thuot airport: 650,000 VND / 4-seater car / trip ($29)

- Liable taxis:

+ Quyet Tien Taxi: 02623 813 813

+ VINASUN Taxi: 026 238 27 27 27

+ Mai Linh Taxi: 02623 819 819


You can rent motorbikes at some hotels or travel agents in Buon Ma Thuot City for about 120,000 VND - 200,000 VND / motorbike / day ($5.24 - 8.74) and park your motorbike at the entrance to the national park

2 - Yok Don National Park accommodation

yok don national park camping

Source: Đoàn Xuân Sơn

If you have an adventurous spirit and want to be as close to nature as possible, you can choose to sleep on a mat, a military hammock, or in a tent, near the headquarters. The tent is quite adequate, having a mosquito net, a rain cover, mattress, pillows,...

- Tent: 150,000 VND / night / 2 guests ($6.55)

- Hammock: 50,000 VND / day ($2.2)

- Screening: 20,000 VND / day ($0.9)

You can also rent a room in 3 guest houses, built-in beautiful locations with windows overlooking the river, lake, forest,… The room rate already includes breakfast for one person, if you order more, there will be an additional charge of 50,000 VND / person ($2.18).

- Price: 350,000 VND / room / night ($15.3)

3 - What to eat at Yok Don National Park?

You can bring your own food, otherwise, the canteen located right near the gate of the national park, open from 6:30am to 7:30pm is a nice choice. A meal consists of a Vietnamese vegetable dish, an omelet, a fish or a meat dish, and a fruit dessert, with a menu that includes vegetarian options and is subject to flexible change. While going on a tour in the national park, you can order a meal through the reception or your guide, or enjoy a meal at the Ranger Station with the amiable rangers.

- Breakfast with coffee: 50,000 VND / person ($2.2)

- Lunch or dinner: 100,000 - 300,000 VND / person ($4.4 - 13.1)

- Drinks: 10,000 - 20,000 VND / serving ($0.45 - 0.9)

4 - Items to bring when visiting Yok Don National Park

To have a comfortable trip and get the most satisfactory experience, you should prepare the following items:

- Culturally appropriate and safe clothing that can cover shoulders and feet, hats, sunglasses, and sturdy footwear.

- Backpacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and personal medicines.

- A thin raincoat, especially when you come here in the rainy season (May - October)

- Flashlight (for activities in the dark)

- Binoculars, particularly if you intend to join a bird-watching tour in Yok Don.

5 - Map

Coming to the national park of Yok Don, you will have the opportunity to admire the beautiful landscapes such as the Bay Nhanh waterfall, Yok Don peak, and winding streams,… and participate in interesting activities such as making friends with elephants, cruising on the majestic Serepok river, cycling and camping. In addition, Yok Don National Park Vietnam also preserves many cultural and unique values of the Central Highlands such as traditional stilt houses, delicious specialties, and singing performances. 

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