What do you expect to experience when you travel to Vietnam? Besides beautiful Ha Long Bay, culture Hanoi, Forbidden Purple City, the Crocodile Lake is deserved to try.
The Unique Crocodile Lake
This is the main draw and the principal reason for coming Nam Cat Tien National Park. If you don’t have enough time to see this, it might not be worth coming Crocodile Lake (Crocodile Lake) in Nam Cat Tien National Park in the southern province of Dong Nai is the second Ramsar site in Vietnam. Coming to this place, tourists can explore the pristine forest, organize picnics, go camping or admire the majestic beauty of ancient cedars. They can also row boats to see crocodiles in the lagoon or enjoy the poetic scenery.
Crocodile Lake is in the core area of Cat Tien National Park, and is under the direct management of the Crocodile Lake ranger station. Reportedly, the name of Crocodile Lake was known before the Cat Tien National Park was established. Crocodile Lake is the largest wetlands in the Cat Tien National Park, with more than 2,500 hectares during the rainy season. But in summer, the wetland area only spans 100-150 hectares.
Crocodile Lake is not only home to crocodiles but also many plant and animal species listed in the Red Book of Vietnam and the world. Like other endemic regions of the Cat Tien National Park, Crocodile Lake is strictly managed and monitored.
What makes the difference for Crocodile Lake is the plethora of crocodiles. Crocodiles are everywhere in Crocodile Lake, which threatens many plant and animal species living in the area. In Crocodile Lake, crocodiles are the masters.
The mysterious and dangerous Crocodile Lake
Crocodile Lake is 15 km from Nam Cat Tien center. Visitors must ride 10 miles of forest roads and then walk 5 km further along the wet trail leading deep into the forest.
The trail is very narrow with large and small limestone slabs covered with green moss and leaves. Visitors can walk and experience the forest road and have the opportunity to explore the flora and fauna biodiversity of this primitive forest.
On the road, they will see a giant cedar with a huge trunk that would require 15 people to hug. The tree roots stretch out over a vast area of tens of meters.
Rowing on the lagoon to see crocodiles swimming leisurely is one of the most exciting feelings that tourists can enjoy here. A small boat can carry a maximum of three people. The boat operator takes visitors through the swamp, approaching the primeval forest.
The banks which are bordered with grass bushes. However, most trips to see the crocs are at night when a ranger with a battery-fueled light accompanies his guests on a trip along the banks of the lake to protect them and to show tourists where crocodiles sit onshore at night. When the ranger sees two red spots in the distance, he will tell his guests to be silent as he moves in slowly toward the spots that he knows are the eyes of a crocodile.
If luck is on their side, the ranger and tourists can get real close to the crocodile and they may also catch the sight of a herd of deer looking for food on the outskirts of the forest as a reward for their trekking for hours in grass bushes and in the dark wild.
The search for crocodiles often ends some hours before midnight, as guests are advised to go to bed early so that they can wake up in the wee small hours in preparation for a boat ride on the lake before the sun rises in the east. It can be a hair-raising trip and not for the faint-hearted.
Crocodiles are not usually afloat on the water to wait and greet curious and nervous people on the boat, but sometimes they hit the boat when they move underwater in the lake. A common scene is of currents of water created by the crocodile when the reptile swims away when the boat approaches.
It’s a nice surprise that many birds of different colors are seen perching in the trees and wandering in grass bushes on islets in the lake in search of food. In the early morning and at sunset, these birds sing in chorus and help visitors forget their fears about what is lurking a few feet away under water.
The water of the lake is so transparent that it reflects beautifully-shaped old trees and birds flying in the sky, making the lake and surroundings like a picturesque painting. Of course, this painting looks different when the crocs are ready to pounce.
For a panoramic view of Crocodile Lake area, visitors should watch it from the House of Forest Rangers. From here they will see the primeval forests, the marshes and colorful butterflies.