One great way to experience the pristine wilderness of Phu Quoc Island is a walk along the jungle trails near Ganh Dau up at the northwestern tip.
Path through the jungle | photo: Frank Fox (cc-by-sa)
If you are near Ganh Dau at the northwestern tip of Phu Quoc Island, you have an easy and safe opportunity to take a stroll through the forest and experience a part of the regions pristine jungle landscape.
Read more about the nature of Phu Quoc and the national park below.
Walking in the jungle, we are not afraid | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
Usually, Phu Quoc National Park is off limits and not really accessible for tourists. As we approached the path into the park itself near Bai Thom, a guard in green uniform chased us away. However, if you approach Ganh Dau from the South, along Dai Beach, a path leads into the forest and it is nice to walk along the trail in the shadow of the trees.
An interesting branch in the jungle | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
At the end of the path you find the huts of a couple forest dwellers. Among them a friendly old woman (unfortunately without any environmental awareness) who lives off the land. She has a small garden behind her shack where she harvests bamboo sprouts to sell them on the market.
Awareness of the forest dwellers | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
The woman told us that Vinpearl is about to raze the forest and build some sort of safari park right here. Well... development can't be stopped I guess.
Bamboo Farm | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
If you can pull yourself together and not ride the motorbike on the path, you may even have a chance to spot some wildlife. Since not all members of our group were as keen on walking as I am though, all we spotted was a nephila spider as big as my palm, sitting in the middle of the largest and strongest spider web I ever encountered. Unfortunately I could not focus properly, so the picture is too blurry.
Bamboo shoots freshly harvested | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
I guess the jungle trails are a nice walk under the trees, I quite enjoyed it.
Jungle Tree | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
Nature on Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc National Park is one of Southeast Asias finest nature reserves and quite well protected for Vietnamese standards. Even if I complained earlier, that they wouldn't let us into the heart of the park, maybe it's better that way.
Phu Quoc Highway through the National Park | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
Here, some data about the nature on the island and the great diversity of species. The most prominent of the endangered animals that find a haven here is the dugong, but the fellow is not alone:
- Phu Quoc National Park covers over 56.000 hectares of land and sea.
- It harbours 929 plant species,
- 43 different mammals,
- 84 species of birds,
- 125 different fish,
- 132 mollusc species and
- 62 interesting kinds of sea weed.
- Endangered mammals:
Small-clawed otter, slow loris, pygmy loris, silvered langur, crab-eating macaque and stump-tailed macaque.
Dugong | photo: (cc-by-sa) Juliem Willem
- The dugong:
The marine section of the park is home to the dugong, the last surviving member of the once large family of dugongidae and the only strictly herbivorous sea mammal in the world.
- Landscape and flora:
Roughly forty percent of the area is consisting of lowland evergreen forests - an ideal habitat for the huge biodiversity, especially plant species. The park also features a mountainous area with 99 peaks.
- A large amount of butterflies is around when you trek in the natural areas of the island. You also encounter a variety of quite bizarre insects to look at, but not to touch.
Hairy caterpillar hanging from a branch | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
Other ways to experience the nature of Phu Quoc Island is to go snorkeling or scuba diving. Also visiting the streams is a great opportunity to relax in the green.
Fairy Stream on Phu Quoc Island | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox
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