Kon Ka Kinh National Park is located on the Kon Tum Plateau, in the areas of districts Mang Yang, KBang, and Dak Doa of Gia Lai Province. The center of the park is situated in the Commune of Ayun, Mang Yang district, northeast of Gia Lai Province.
With the purpose of preserving subtropical forests in the high mountains with species of gymnosperm, Kon Ka Kinh National Park was one of four national parks in Vietnam, together with three other national parks in Vietnam: Ba Be, Chu Mom Ray and Hoang Lien), also one of 27 national parks in ASEAN was listed on ASEAN Heritage Park. Kon Ka Kinh National Park is a priority zone for the protection of biodiversity of Vietnam as well as ASEAN.
- Location: Ayun Commune, Mang Yang District, Kon Tum Plateau, Gia Lai Province
I. Topography of Kon Ka Kinh National Park
To the north of the national park, elevations gradually increase towards Mount Ngoc Linh, the highest point in the central Annamites. To the south and west, the topography is flatter, and altitudes are below 500 m. Altitudes within the national park range from 570 m in the Ba river valley, to 1,748 m at the summit of Mount Kon Ka Kinh.
Streams from the eastern part of the park supply water source Ba River, a twisted river running north-south until it meets the confluence A Yun River and then changes its direction to northwest-southeast before emptying into Southern Asia Sea in Tuy Hoa city; while to the west of the river lays distributaries of Mekong River. Due to the sloping topography, rivers in this park are short, running fast and creating many waterfalls.
II. Biodiversity Values
Due to the characteristics of its topography, climate, soil conditions, and other factors, this park contains a great deal of biodiversity. According to the survey results, Kon Ka Kinh National Park contained 687 flora species of 459 genus and 140 families, of which the class of Magnoliopsida is dominant (104 families, 337 genus, 528 species). Second domination is Liliopsida (15 families, 82 genera, 111 species).
Other diviso of Pteridophyta includes 16 families, 32 genus and 40 species. Gymnosperm includes 5 families, 8 genera, 8 species. Moreover, Kon Ka Kinh is also the home to several endangered and preserved endemic species. Most of the area in the park is covered by protozoa with the above-mentioned typical flora.
Kon Ka Kinh National Park contains 33,565 ha of natural forest, equivalent to 80% of the total area of the national park. The national park supports a range of montane habitat types. Of particular importance are 2,000 ha of mixed coniferous and broadleaf forest containing Fokienia hodginsii.
Kon Ka Kinh National Park is home to 428 animal species, of which, 223 species of vertebrates living on land (34 ordos, 74 families) and 205 species Invertebrates (such as butterfly) of 10 families of (Lepidoptera).
The National Park is also a globally important site for the conservation of amphibian diversity. Kon Ka Kinh supports a number of amphibian species endemic to the Annamite mountains, including four species assessed as globally threatened during the Global Amphibian Assessment: Leptobrachium banae, L.xanthospilum, Rana attigua and Rhacophorus baliogaster.
The park is of importance to local people as a source of natural resources, such as firewood honey and rattans. Also, the national park supports at least 110 plant species with known medicinal uses. Use of plants in traditional medicine is widespread amongst local people, although the commercial potential of these species remains largely unrealized.
III. Tourist Activities in Kon Ka Kinh National Park
Kon Ka Kinh National Park offers people with a lot of amazing activities from natural paths ecotourism, cultural tourism, studying wild animals tourism to holiday tourism.
From Pleiku, jump into a car to get to Kon Ka Kinh National Park. After visiting the park for a while, you can go to visit the House of Specimen animals and plants so as to learn about the biodiversity values. Next, go to visit the beauty of wild orchid collection.
In the evening, you can learn about “The Space of Gong Culture” and taste some delicious dishes such as grilled meat and Can wine, bamboo cooked rice whilst sitting around the bond-fire.
Ha Dung village is also a recommended place for every tourist. It has a total of 6 streams with a wide range of old trees and wild animals like wild boars, grey-feet chimpanzees, porcupines, deer and so on.
IV. Best Time to Visit
The best time to conquer the top of Kon Ka Kinh National Park is between December and March, which is the dry season in the Western Highland. During this season, the weather is cool and there are lots of flowers blossoming. And local people hold numerous festivals including elephant race festival or buffalo fighting festival.
V. What to Eat?
After contemplating all the beautiful areas in Kon Ka Kinh National Park, it’s time for you to enjoy some tasty food.
1. Dry Pho
This special food is said to be the best in Pleiku. If the noodle in Hanoi is served in 1 bowl, the dry pho in Pleiku needs two bowls: one including noodles and toppings such as ground pork, chicken meat, fried onions while the other containing the broth made by boiling knuckle bones with some spices. And of course, you will eat this dish with fresh herbs and black soy bean sauce.
2. Can Wine
This kind of food is communal in every festival in this region. The main ingredient of Can wine is glutinous rice. It is such a strong fragrance that can make you drunk right at your first time smelling it. Normally, at Rong House, ethnic minorities will place a huge jar of Can wine in the center of people groups. Then, they use small, long bamboo tubes instead of straws to drink it.
This custom is seen when there is a marriage or celebration in the village. If you come here to visit, you might be offered this wine as a warm welcoming.
3. Crab Sauce and Bamboo Shoots Noodle
Another unique food in Gia Lai Province is the crab sauce and bamboo shoots noodle. The food has a very strong smell of the crab sauce as the sauce is kept for 24 hours before being used. Thus, not everyone dare to try this dish.
However, for those loving the smell and taste of crab sauce mixed with vermicelli, bamboo sauce, lemon and pork, they would never forget this impression.
VI. Where to Stay?
When coming to visit Kon Ka Kinh National Park, you don’t need to worry about your accommodation. There are numerous hotels available for you. Here are some recommendations you can consider to stay.
1. Cao Nguyen Hotel
- Location: 16 Hoang Van Thu, Dien Hong Commune, Pleiku City, Gia Lai Province
- Tel: 0269 3829 037
2. Duc Long Gia Lai 2 Hotel
- Location: 1 Cu Chinh Lan, Dien Hong Commune, Pleiku City, Gia Lai Province
- Tel: 0269 37 48 777
3. Le Centre Hotel
- Location: 22B Le Lai, Tay Son Commune, Pleiku City, Gia Lai Province
- Tel: 0269 3824 725
VII. How to Get There?
There are many options for you to pick up. But the two main ways that are used often are airplane or bus.
To get to Pleiku from other cities in Vietnam, you should book a flight connecting between Pleiku and those places. Luckily, in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh, there are lots of daily flights operated by Vietjet Air, Vietnam Airlines or Jetstar Pacific. The booking process is super simple so you can totally do it by yourself.
There are also many buses running to Pleiku from south to north. You can choose Tan Phat, Hong Hai or Mai Linh companies. The ticket price ranges between 200,000 VND and 300,000 VND from Ho Chi Minh. However, this kind of transportation takes a large amount of time and you may get tired along the trip.
In brief, Kon Ka Kinh National Park contains scenic landscapes and other natural features of interest to visitors.