Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak Vietnam
Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak Vietnam

Yok Don National Park, Dak Lak

The Yok Don National Park stretches its area in Dak Lak and Dak Nong Provinces, right on the Cambodian border. On the other side of the border, there are lush protected forests which are home to a rich wildlife, too. The national park is 50km northwest of Buon Ma Thuot City.

 The total area of the Yok Don National Park is 115,000 hectares and the buffer zone is 134,000 hectares. Inside the national park, there are zones for administration, for wildlife rehabilitation, ecotourism,...

The national park is named after the mountain in its area. In local M’nong language Yok means mountain and Don means island. Yok Don is the name of the 482m mountain in the national park. The terrain of the national park is mostly flat with the Serepok (Dak Rong) River runs through a part of it.

Yok Don is the only national park in Vietnam conserving deciduous dipterocarp (Dipterocarpaceae) forests which are thin forests and which have a lot of glades as well as grasslands.

The trees shed their leaves in the dry season from November through April and the forests quickly recover their lush green again during the rainy season from May through October. This characteristics of the forests at the Yok Don National Park make it distinctly different from most national parks in Vietnam with dense and humid tropical forests.

The Yok Don National Park is home to 89 mammal species, 305 bird species, 16 amphibian species, 48 reptile species and 858 plant species… The most visible wildlife at the Yok Don National Park includes elephants, water buffaloes, gaurs (Trau Rung), birds, banteng (Bo Rung).

If you are lucky then you can encounter tigers, leopards (Bao) and giant muntjacs (Linh Duong), Dhole (Soi do, Cuon alpinus), Black-shanked douc (Cha Va Chan Den)...

The population living in the national park includes M’nong, Ede, Muong, Laos, Tay… Illegal poaching has always been a serious threat to the wildlife and especially the elephant communities in the national park. Illegal logging has always been a huge problem, too.

Flora at the Yok Don National Park
- Dipterocarpus obtusifolius (Dau Tra Beng, Dipterocarpus );
- Red lauan (Cẩm liên, Shorea siamensis);
- Shorea obtusa (Cà Chắc, Dipterocarpaceae);

Fauna at the Yok Don National Park
- Lophura nycthemera annamensis (Gà lôi vằn, Silver pheasant);
- Rufous-throated partridge (Gà so họng hung, Arborophila rufogularis);
- Yellow-cheeked gibbon (Vượn má hung, Nomascus gabriellae);
- Golden jackal (Chó rừng, Canis aureus);

Things to do at the Yok Don National Park
- Boat trip or kayaking on the Serepok River.
- Experience of the elephants in the wild. Elephant riding has been forbidden in the national park for protection of the elephant communities.
- Hiking in the forest.
- Bird watching in the forest.
- Visiting ethnic villages in the national park.
- Biking in the forest trails.

Eco tours, bird watching tours, hiking tours at Yok Don
AdventureGreen arranges a wide range of nature tours, adventure tours, wildlife tours, bird watching tours at the Yok Don National Park. Each tour ranges from 2-3 days from Buon Ma Thuot.

The best time for bird watching at the Yok Don National Park is from mid February through the end of March. The sky is clear, the air is dry and the trees have shed their leaves which make the scenes absolutely clear for our birding. The best birding session is from 05:30 A.M to 08:30 A.M.

Accommodations at the national park
It is possible to go camping in the national park. Alternatively there are homestay and simple guesthouses for the visitors to stay overnight in the area.