Tourists frolic in the stream below Giang Dien Waterfall in Dong Nai Province
Barely an hour from Ho Chi Minh City by car, Dong Nai Province to the east is an ideal place for day-trippers who like waterfalls and the peaceful, stress-relieving scenery around them.
Dong Nai’s waterfalls are easy to reach as they are mostly located close to National Highway 20, the main road from HCMC to Da Lat in the Highlands.
One of the most popular waterfalls, and the closest, is Giang Dien some 50 kilometers from downtown HCMC via National Highway 1.
Here you can swim in the stream, lie on the grassy hillocks, enjoy the wildflowers and even spend the night camping.
Hiring a tent that can fit four adults costs a mere VND100,000 (less than US$6).
If you like hot springs, then Mai Waterfall near the confluence of the Dong Nai and La Nga rivers is the place to go.
Mai is located in a timber plantation in Tan Phu District and boasts pretty scenery and Da Ban Hot Springs, where you can soak your legs to unwind and boil eggs to eat.
The farthest away from HCMC are Ba Giot and Thuong waterfalls. They are about four kilometers apart but can be reached by the same route in Dinh Quan and Tan Phu districts.
Visiting both in one day is easily within the stamina of the average tourist.
The stream at Ba Giot Waterfall flows in rapids and pours over the edge in three falls, which are best viewed from upstream if you want to capture the full grandeur and beauty.
Thuong Waterfall, on the other hand, is milder and set amid green and gentle scenery. The cool stream swirls quietly past big rocks under evergreen trees and is excellent for soaking in and mucking about.
Pedal-boating on the quieter reaches of the water, as well as camping, are available at all these waterfalls.
The jungle of Cat Tien National Park in Dong Nai boasts a few falls in more rugged settings and should be on the itinerary of every cascade lover. The park’s best-known waterfalls are Da Dung, Troi, and Mo Vet.
Each of the waterfalls in Dong Nai is special in its own way, and all are memorable. (Reported by Diem Thu)