❤Although I am a regular participant in forest experiences, there is no place that holds me back as many times as Bu Gia Map. I often share with my friends that every season, every day has its own beauty, so even staying at Bu Gia Map for 365 days is still not full of interesting surprises. If you’ve been to Bu Gia Map, you’ll probably agree that I’m not exaggerating.❤=================🚌When I first heard of Bu Gia Map from a program on VTV2, I just found it’s quite funny with the name (in Vietnamese). Yet many years later, I was set foot here and then fell in love with this land. Bu Gia Map, not sure where the name came from. Some people say that they speak from the S’tieng language, usually Bu Gia and Gia Mac, there is also information that Bu is “village”, and Gia Map is a proper name.🚌Bu Gia Map National Park is located in Binh Phuoc province, nearly 200 km north of Ho Chi Minh City, sharing a part of the forest area with Dak Nong province and away from Cambodia by way of border patrol, running parallel to the natural border of the Dak Hut river.
🏜Streams, waterfalls, and rich flora and fauna🚲 With an area of about 26,000 hectares, the “specialties” of Bu Gia Map are beautiful streams and waterfalls. Perhaps it is also thanks to the forest with many large old trees and layers of vegetation, which helps to keep the water droplets from the sky for the trees to use all year round – a valuable feature of tropical moist evergreen forests. Hundreds of kilometers of streams crept through the forest, creating an interesting new path while avoiding the hungry squirrels waiting under the layers of dry leaves on the ground.
🛺Do you know why walking in the stream is more interesting than walking on land? If I ignore the cool feeling of the water, then walking under the water must have a lot of interesting things, making me go all day in the stream and still not get bored. Walking in the water, you can’t see what the next step will be, it may be a deep valley, it may be a slippery moss, it may be a rotten tree or a sharp rock. Because you don’t know what is ahead, you’ll have to go slowly and steadily. That feeling is like you are practicing meditation, putting all your consciousness into every step, and always in a state of readiness to accept a challenge ahead.
Bu Gia Map is also a conservation area for many endangered plant and animal species such as the five-colored langur, yellow-cheeked gibbon, rare orchids of Vietnam and Asia. Currently, according to the 2012 biodiversity statistics, Bu Gia Map National Park has more than 1,100 species of plants, more than 100 species of mammals, 240 species of birds, and 270 species of insects. In which, there are endemic species named after this National Park such as Cyrtodactylus bugiamapensis, Camellia bugiamapensis.
🏜The misty dawns and the night hunts🛺You can choose a higher position to see this rich forest from above. In the morning, it’s foggy and chilly, the chirping of langurs calls to each other, then just enjoy a hot cup of tea and breathe the fresh air. There is no phone signal, no Internet, leaving chaos in the city behind. Your five senses seem to blend in this primordial space.
At night, without electricity, we took a few flashlights along the road near the ranger station to “hunt animals at night”, or more precisely, hunt with our eyes because no one brought a camera. Just look, to feel the life that is still going strong and colorful at night.🏜Meals in the forest of the S’tieng peopleComing to Bu Gia Map, it is also an opportunity to enjoy the special dishes of the S’tieng people such as Thut soup, cooked by putting ingredients in a ‘lo o’ tube (another type of bamboo) and using a tree to indent many times to mix ingredients. The ‘lo o’ tube is a tool to cook soup and other dishes, while bamboo is a tool to cook extremely delicious lam rice. This rice dish is often served with grilled pork or chicken, which is equally unique with crispy yellow skin. Or you can also save a little of rice lam for the next day’s forest trip to eat with peanut salt. After a few tens of kilometers through the forest, that is the happiest thing we could have.
Bu Gia Map is like a hospitable and generous host, giving all his precious products to guests from afar. The friendly rangers, the simple and gentle S’tieng people make each return trip promise another trip so that we can be embraced by Mother Nature together.