Stretching s across an area of 60 kilometers through 3 provinces namely Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan, and Binh Thuan, the exhilarating route of Ta Nang – Phan Dung seizes the title of the most beautiful trekking route in Vietnam. Furthermore, it is considered the tough but the rewarding journey to trekkers. It might be the reason why all pack backers have a desire of “conquering” this route.
The route of Ta Nang – Phan Dung is one of those that possess wonderful scenery in Vietnam, so I really hope that both residents and local authorities bear responsibility for its preservation and conservation before it is extinct.
Theory suggests that the reason why humans of modern society are no longer in contact with nature is that they do not see sparkling stars at night anymore. This is because the artificial light from the electric light bulbs in the city has covered up the natural light in the night sky.
Thanks to the existence of million stars as a strong reminder of who and where the human beings are in the universe, we haven’t forgotten the fact that we are just small entities gathering on a small rock at the middle of the infinite universe.
Furthermore, we do not even care about the shape of the sky, we separate ourselves from “narrow – minded” walls we have built. Disconnecting to the universe, blocking intimate remarks about the fragility of humankind, we are shrinking into the unquestioning world, later on, stay away from the close relation to the universe and the natural environment.
When I first came to Ta Nang – Phan Dung, I was overwhelmed by majestic nature that has been preserved and conserved its nearly untouched beauties.
It was an “arduous” three-day journey which I had to climb up and down steep hills while carrying a full back bag of water and food on the shoulders. Additionally, I would face up to the risks of getting lost if I hadn’t been well- prepared.
We got there in a group of four. Although we had to address with challenges, luckily, we found the right direction.
It’s worth mentioning that we have “owned” some knowledge of living skills, compass reading, and river edge following, so eventually got out of the forest without being severely physically harmed. When leaving, we did not take anything and leave anything behind.
I went back there a year later when the forest was being one of the most attractive tourist spots of young travelers, especially pack backers. I realized that many of them loved exploring the forest at that time. And just a month a go, I gave the amazing Ta Nang – Phan Dung route a try again. However, the forest was in big trouble.
In the morning of the first day, I had to struggle with a backpack that is full of food, clothes and six liters of water for a 3 – day – 2 – night journey, I thought that I could not be off the track, so I “followed” fragments left over from the beginning to the end of the route.
As I step down the trail, I saw a group of young guys featuring expensive trekking suits, selfie sticks, and smart phones on hand. In addition, they brought loudspeakers with them and played music all over the forest.
To be honest, they could be compared to vehicles at rush hours. They all shouted, yelled, and made noise without caring about the surrounding. Moreover, they threw waste unintentionally along their way. How disturbing!
I thought to myself: “They can stay at home and see everything through the Internet. This is not a real and modern way of traveling and exploring”. From a further distance, I saw one carrying all necessary supplies, food, and clothes.
Occasionally, I read a travel advertisement of the trip to Ta Nang – Phan Dung of a travel agency as “Travelers only need to bring the necessary personal facilities, as little as possible. We take care of the rest, including food, water, tents, sleeping bags, flashlights, etc”.
On the second day, we reached Yaly Waterfall. The sudden feeling of shame burst out when I saw piles of beer cans, plastic bottles, and litters scattering on the green grass.
I often filled up my water bottle with the water in the streams, but that time, I had a chance to watch dozens of people throwing garbage and chemicals (shampoo, conditioner, ..) or even considering the stream as a free restroom.
The process of destroying forest resources
The first factor that needs to be mentioned is the desire of exploring the amazing unspoiled tourist attraction, Ta Nang – Phan Dung or Son Doong, for instance. Then, money is also worth considering. At first, they (locals) offer services for a few groups of tourists, then, they set up a business of specialties and souvenirs.
Gradually, these kinds of businesses and services grow fastly to meet the growing demands of tourists and satisfy the need of making their fortunes.
The amazing trekking route of Ta Nang – Phan Dung is a perfect example. Two years ago, I did not see a local resident or visitor except for some friendly woodcutters.
Last month, however, when my group climbed up to the peak of a beautiful mountain to take a short break at the end of the day, I was astonished by a “camping village” around me.
Thus, the local authorities should raise awareness of both residents and tourists of protecting the valuable scenery and resources of this amazing destination.
Honestly, I don’t believe in full package tours. Therefore, if you really want to get there but you think that you are not strong enough to carry a full pack back of necessary facilities, water, and food, you should not give it a try.
Training your physical strength and endurance until you get ready. Don’t cheat yourself. If you are afraid of getting lost, it’s your problem. Searching on the Internet, you definitely find all the maps that you need for your journey.
You need to learn how to use the compass, how to follow the river edge, and grasp all necessary knowledge of your destination and your trip at the same time. Don’t blame for your inadequate preparation to destroy the forest. If you do not know what to prepare, then, google or ask a relative or friend. They are all accessible, right?
There is no reason for giving up. However, if you prefer arranged tours, obviously, you shouldn’t set foot in the challenging but rewarding trekking route.
Objectively, this is a global issue. We have sacrificed the nature in exchange for innovation and benefits. It is not a matter of a single government, police or forest ranger.
It is our own problem that depends on our own decision. Starting protecting the forest now because once it’s gone, it will never come back.