Places - April 14, 2018 | 04:00 pm PT

A trekking adventure into the heart of central Vietnam

Bach Ma National Park challenges visitors in stark contrast to the traditionally slow pace of life in Hue.

A little under 50 kilometers to the south of Vietnam's former capital Hue, Bach Ma National Park prides itself on offering bold expeditions into the forest.

The park is known for its biodiversity, with more than 1,400 species of fauna and flora spread out across 37,000 hectares and guarded by a mountain peak standing 1,430 meters above sea level.

It's collection of lakes and waterfalls along the trail attract avid trekkers looking for a one-day adventure.

Although a staple of Hue tourism, Bach Ma is visited more by international travelers  than locals. Their adventurous nature, unsurprisingly, is cited as the rationale.

The adventure starts gently with a drive up the mountain to a 2-floor roundhouse known as Vong Hai Dai that acts as viewpoint and rest-stop. The trail then winds past five pristine lakes and waterfalls.

Driving three kilometers down, you reach the starting point of the adventure to the first lake. The seven-kilometer mission is a steep descent down concrete steps and uneven rocks, with trees surrounding the narrow paths to shield you from central Vietnam’s harsh sun.

Ropes have been installed to help you negotiate cramped walkways, with rugged cliffs on one and a straight drop on the other. They will be your reliable friends throughout the four-hour trek.

Further on, danger awaits in the shape of a narrow wooden ladder and an abrupt elevation change.

At the third and largest lake, take a break for lunch and a swim.

To avoid getting wet crossing streams, you might have to start getting acrobatic.

After seven kilometers of sweaty, unsteady steps, you reach the last stop at Do Quyen Waterfall, where throngs of ramblers settle on large rocks. The relaxing falls reward your efforts with views of far-away mountains.

Hoai Sa