Picnicking at Giang Dien Waterfall
Many people living in Ho Chi Minh City agree that you have to get out of the busy, polluted atmosphere every now and then to take a breath. But sometimes that is difficult, especially for those who just have one day off or don't want to stay somewhere overnight.
In this case, here is something for those who want to combine nature and entertainment on their day off: Giang Dien Waterfall Tourist Area, just more than an hour outside the city in Dong Nai province Vietnam.
Passing the populous and industrial urban landscape on National Highway 1A, you don't see it coming at all.
Reaching the waterfall, you may be surprised at the abundance of nature and the romantic tourist area although, as a first disclaimer, the site cannot be compared with the famous waterfalls of the Central Highlands.
But then again, it is much closer to Ho Chi Minh City than Dalat and other hilly resort towns. The name reveals the place's history - Giang Dien means "water field" so that it is likely that the area used to be a field.
Naturally, it's not all nature anymore since the tourist area has been set up. And be prepared: While the stream is clear and clean in the dry season, silt coming from the upper reaches will turn it yellow and muddy in the rainy season.
But keeping these two aspects in mind, it's fun. Along the waterfall, you can jump from stone to stone arranged neatly in a long line, possibly reminding you of the childhood game you used to play.
Standing on top of the cascade, the spray underneath you obscures your view, creating a mysterious atmosphere and, on a sunny day, a colourful rainbow.
To take a rest after jumping on the stones, you can lie down comfortably and even sleep on the grassy area among plants and flowers.
Many families and groups of friends also picnic here, spending the day barbecuing, fishing and even swimming in the cool stream.
Alternatively, the surrounding restaurants also offer some good fare and delightful decorations, making you think you are in a Vietnamese village.
Venturing a little farther across the Giang Dien suspension bridge, you will find a 10-hectare fruit garden in the tourist area.
Especially young people and researchers may also be interested in visiting a nearby farm that breeds lizards, scorpions, salamanders and other reptiles.
Le Ky Phung, a well-known breeder of reptiles for export and director of Phu An Ltd., actually set up the Giang Dien Waterfall Tourist Area three years ago with a total capital of more than VND 100 billion.
The area's first 37 hectares are already open to the public. And the getaway will improve further.
Dinh Dung, sales director of the tourist area, says under the second phase, the area will get a swimming pool, tennis court and even some fun fair rides to attract more local and foreign tourists.