Happy to leave Saigon and to head for the hills with “Bobby” our new guide for the next four days. Bobby took us on a lovely route through coffee, tobacco, cashew and peppercorn plantations on a red, dusty dirt track. The perfume from the blossom on the coffee plants is delightful, just like jasmine. Should have learnt by now to be more cautious when spending a penny, or 2,000 dong, over here, on the side of the road. Really hadn’t bothered to look in the dusty dirt, then spotted the black scorpion.
Overfed en-route, two pineapples, expertly carved and served with spicy, chilli salt, yum yum. 20 mins later, a stop for Pho Bo, beef noodle soup. 30 mins later, dragon fruit. Groan.
Cat Tien National Park, Unesco recognised is at least, partly protected by its river boundary on one side, a quick ferry ride for us. Our lodge is a charming thatched bungalow but very well equipped. Treated to a night safari on the back of a truck with 20 others. There are rumours of a handful of wild elephants in the park but well away from the tourists. The last rhino was poached in 2010. We did see a number of wild deer, a bird and possibly a civet. Best part was our 3 km walk back to our lodge in the dark, on our own. A swift beer before going to bed. We met one of the resident guides in the Park, an Indian guy who has been coming here for a couple of years and very knowledgeable about the area and its wildlife. Highly recommended to get up at 5:00am to cycle 9km into the jungle to hear the gibbons wake up. Ok, best get off to bed now then. Torches charged, phew, as no power overnight to charge them.