Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Wildlife guide – update 2023
Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is a protected area located in the southeastern part of Vietnam, in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. The reserve covers an area of approximately 11,075 hectares, including a mix of forest, freshwater, and saltwater ecosystems.
The reserve is known for its diverse flora and fauna, including several rare and endangered species. It is home to over 500 plant species, more than 200 bird species, and 22 mammal species, such as the Malayan sun bear, clouded leopard, and Asian elephant.
The reserve is also known for its natural hot springs, which are a popular attraction for visitors. The water from the hot springs is believed to have therapeutic properties and is used to treat various ailments.
Visitors to the reserve can participate in a range of activities, such as hiking, bird watching, and wildlife photography. There are several trails that visitors can explore, including the 5-kilometer Ba Chuong Nature Trail, which takes visitors through the forest and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
The reserve is located about 125 kilometers southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, and visitors can reach it by car or bus. It’s recommended to hire a guide to explore the reserve, as they can provide insights into the local flora and fauna and ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.
Fact: One interesting fact about Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is that it is home to the world's largest population of painted terrapins (Batagur borneoensis), a critically endangered species of turtle. The painted terrapin is a freshwater turtle that is native to Southeast Asia, and it is highly valued for its meat and eggs, which are considered a delicacy in some parts of the region. The reserve has been working to protect the painted terrapin population by implementing conservation measures, such as setting up a breeding program and monitoring the turtles' nesting sites. As a result of these efforts, the painted terrapin population in the reserve has increased significantly, from just a few individuals in the 1990s to over 1,000 individuals today. This success has led to the establishment of similar conservation programs for the species in other parts of Southeast Asia.
Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu is a must-visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are 9 highlights to look forward to:
Here are 9 highlights to look forward to when visiting Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve:
- Painted terrapins: As mentioned earlier, the reserve is home to the world’s largest population of painted terrapins, making it a must-visit for turtle enthusiasts.
- Hot springs: Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu is famous for its natural hot springs, which are believed to have therapeutic properties and are a popular attraction for visitors.
- Diverse flora and fauna: The reserve is home to a rich array of plant and animal species, including several rare and endangered species such as the Malayan sun bear, clouded leopard, and Asian elephant.
- Birdwatching: With over 200 bird species, the reserve offers a fantastic opportunity for birdwatchers to spot a variety of avian species.
- Hiking: Visitors can explore the reserve’s trails and enjoy the beautiful scenery, including lush forests, mountains, and waterfalls.
- Wildlife photography: Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu offers many opportunities for wildlife photography, allowing visitors to capture stunning photos of the park’s flora and fauna.
- Freshwater ecosystems: The reserve includes several freshwater ecosystems, such as streams, rivers, and lakes, that are home to a variety of aquatic species.
- Saltwater ecosystems: Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu is also home to a saltwater ecosystem, which includes mangroves and a diverse array of marine life.
- Local culture: The reserve is located near several small villages, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about local culture and traditions
Visit Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu for wildlife.
Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is a fantastic destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The reserve is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, including several rare and endangered species. Here are some of the wildlife you can see when visiting the reserve:
- Painted terrapins: Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu is home to the world’s largest population of painted terrapins, a critically endangered species of freshwater turtle.
- Malayan sun bears: These small bears are native to Southeast Asia and are known for their distinctive orange fur.
- Clouded leopards: These elusive big cats are known for their striking patterned fur and are found throughout Southeast Asia.
- Asian elephants: These majestic animals are the largest land animals in Asia and are an important part of the region’s cultural heritage.
- Bengal slow lorises: These small, nocturnal primates are known for their big eyes and are found in the forests of Southeast Asia.
- Great hornbills: These impressive birds are known for their large beaks and are found in the forests of Southeast Asia.
- Reticulated pythons: These large snakes are found throughout Southeast Asia and are one of the world’s longest species of snake.
- Oriental pied hornbills: These striking birds are known for their black and white plumage and are found in the forests of Southeast Asia.
- Grey-headed fish eagles: These large birds of prey are found near freshwater habitats and are known for their distinctive grey head feathers
Visit Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve
Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is a wonderful destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts in Vietnam. Here are some tips for visiting the reserve:
- Getting there: The reserve is located in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, about 140km southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. The easiest way to get there is by car or motorbike.
- Entrance fee: Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee to access the reserve, and the fee varies depending on the type of vehicle and the number of people in your group.
- Accommodation: There are several options for accommodation near the reserve, including hotels, guesthouses, and camping sites.
- Wildlife watching: To increase your chances of spotting wildlife, it’s best to visit the reserve during the early morning or late afternoon when animals are most active.
- Respect the environment: When visiting the reserve, it’s important to follow the park’s rules and regulations to help protect the environment and the wildlife that call it home.
- Hire a guide: To learn more about the reserve’s flora and fauna and to ensure your safety, it’s recommended to hire a guide.
- Take appropriate gear: Remember to bring appropriate clothing and gear for outdoor activities such as hiking, wildlife watching, and swimming
There is no ATM here so its better that take cash with you
Go with local guide
We don’t tell you this to sell more tours, but simply because it’s the best way to see more wildlife.
And not to get lost…
The local guides know the park from the inside out and know where the animals often forage. More importantly, the guides have well-trained eyes that will help you to discover everything from the smallest to the largest wonders of Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve. You will be surprised what you would have walked past without noticing had you been visiting on your own!
Visit on weekdays
Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is Vietnam’s most popular Nature Reserve. 80% of the visitors in Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu are Vietnamese. It is great to see that locals are enjoying their own nature parks, which will only make them more aware of what still survives there. And hopefully helps in the protection of these wonderful places. But you might be looking for a place to get away from your busy daily life.
Try to avoid weekends and national holidays. If your planning only allows a visit on the weekend, it is definitely still worth visiting. But you will have to share the roads and the main attractions like the trails with many locals.
Like in other parks around the world with high visitor numbers, wildlife has learned that people are not to be feared. That’s why the popular parks often offer better wildlife observation opportunities than nature reserves with very low visitor numbers and therefore often bigger problems with poaching. The good news is that generally speaking, Vietnamese do not really like walking. Even less when it is in a jungle. So, even on busy weekends, you might still have the forest to yourself.
Do NOT feed the animals
Most people understand you should not feed the wildlife. In Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu, the wildlife is quite shy but if you find some young macaque or mammals “DON’T FEED THEM”
Feeding wild animals can significantly change their behavior. Feeding or leaving unattended food to large animals, such as bears, can lead them to aggressively seek out food from people, sometimes resulting in injury. Feeding can also alter animal behavior so that animals routinely travel in larger groups, which can make disease transmission between animals more likely.
Bring a Outdoor clothings
Most of the time in Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu quite humid and hot, you should prepare suitable clothing and suncream
Bring a compass
This really only applies if you are visiting without a guide. Even though there has been some improvement on the more popular trails, still some trails in there are not well-marked. And besides that, there are no good trail maps available. Often (wildlife) trails branch off the original tourist trails and might cause confusion.
All people we have met who thought they had a good sense of direction, get totally disoriented in these jungles. It is easy when following e.g., a river. But once you get into the continuous forest it is really hard. Even the most basic map can help you if you bring a compass. Study the map before you start the trek.
If you do get lost, and know there is a road to the east that cuts through the entire park, a compass will help you find it. Without it, you are completely lost and will rely mostly on luck!
A compass and some basic study of the area/map would have solved this situation. Phone signal has improved a bit in recent years. But still, once you are deeper in the jungle, you won’t be able to call for help. With an analog compass, you do not rely on battery life.
The souvenir shop in the park at the visitor center might have cheap compasses in stock. But to be sure, better bring one from home or buy it before you enter the park, and test if it indeed points in the right direction…
Park restaurants close early?
Where you eat will largely depend upon where you stay as you’re likely to eat most of your meals dinner at least at your hotel or guesthouse. If you are out and about in the Nature Reserve, you can eat at one of the restaurants at HQ. The Restaurant is located next to the information center and is a better option than Dipterocarpus doesn’t ask in terms of food and surroundings.
The menu consists of reasonably priced Vietnamese rice, noodle, meat, and fish dishes – expect to pay around 150,000 VND for a dinner of stir-fried chicken, rice, and a vegetable side with a drink, less if you just want noodles or a stir-fried rice.
Buy leech socks and insect repellent
On our tours, we provide leech socks when necessary, but if you’re visiting the park on your own and plan on trekking in the jungle, especially in the months of Jun to October, buy a pair of leech socks and insect repellent in the souvenir shop in the park.
And wear long pants that you can tuck into these leech socks. You will probably regret wearing shorts.It sounds more scary than it is, leeches are small worm-like creatures of 1 to 3 cm long. They don’t transmit diseases. Though there have been some unusual cases of hookworm entering the bite site.
This is not scary either and definitely not common. But if you start to notice a strong itch a couple days after and see a red trail meandering just below your skin starting from the leech bite site, then it is wise to either take deworm medication or freeze it with nitrogen ice or the freeze spray used for sports injuries.
The leech bite does not hurt, usually, you don’t feel anything at all. The only ‘problem’ with leeches is that if they attach long enough, more than 30 seconds or so, they will inject anticoagulant. When you remove them afterward, they will keep bleeding for quite a while. So, getting blood stains on your clothing is the only real trouble.
For some people, just the idea of being ‘attacked’ by leeches is the biggest issue Lol.
Traveling to Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu you will not have to worry about the accommodation to stay overnight. There are many options for you to choose from, from the homestay to the resort. Below are some options for accommodation in Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve you can choose to stay.
What is there to see?
Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is a diverse and beautiful destination with a variety of natural wonders to explore. Here are some of the highlights of the reserve:
- Forests: The reserve is home to several types of forests, including mangrove, salt marsh, and evergreen forests.
- Beaches: The reserve features several pristine beaches, including Ho Coc Beach, which is known for its white sand and crystal-clear water.
- Hot springs: The reserve is home to several natural hot springs, which are believed to have healing properties.
- Wildlife: As mentioned earlier, the reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as painted terrapins, Malayan sun bears, clouded leopards, and Asian elephants.
- Birdwatching: The reserve is a popular destination for birdwatchers, with over 230 species of birds recorded in the area.
- Trekking: The reserve offers several hiking trails that wind through the forests and hills of the area, providing visitors with stunning views of the landscape.
- Camping: Camping is allowed in designated areas of the reserve, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the area up close.
Aside from the natural wonders and wildlife watching opportunities, Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve offers several other activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the top activities to consider:
- Cycling: Biking is a popular way to explore the reserve, with several trails winding through the forests and hills of the area.
- Swimming: With its beautiful beaches and clear waters, the reserve is a great place to swim and relax.
- Fishing: The reserve is home to several species of fish, making it a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts.
- Boat tours: Visitors can take boat tours of the mangrove forests and salt marshes, providing a unique perspective on the reserve’s natural beauty.
- Spa treatments: Several hot spring resorts are located near the reserve, offering visitors the chance to relax and rejuvenate in natural hot springs.
- Cultural experiences: The reserve is also home to several ethnic minority communities, providing visitors with a chance to learn about their unique culture and traditions
How to get to Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve?
Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is located in the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam. Here are some ways to get there:
- By car or motorbike: The most common way to get to the reserve is by car or motorbike. From Ho Chi Minh City, take Highway 51 towards Vung Tau City, and then follow the signs to Binh Chau Hot Springs. The nature reserve is located near the hot springs.
- By bus: Several buses run from Ho Chi Minh City to Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, with stops in the towns of Xuyen Moc and Long Dien. From there, you can hire a taxi or motorbike taxi to take you to the reserve.
- By tour: Several tour companies offer day trips and overnight tours to Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve from Ho Chi Minh City, which can be a convenient option for travelers who prefer organized tours.
- By train: If you prefer to take the train, you can take a train from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet City, and then transfer to a bus or taxi to take you to the reserve
Weather & Climate in Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu
Binh Chau-Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is located in the southern region of Vietnam and has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.
The dry season typically lasts from November to April, with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 90°F). This season is characterized by low humidity, clear skies, and warm temperatures, making it an ideal time to visit the reserve for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and swimming.
The rainy season typically lasts from May to October, with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). During this time, the reserve experiences high humidity and frequent rain showers, which can sometimes last for days. However, the rains also bring a lush green landscape and the opportunity to see the reserve’s waterfalls and streams at their fullest.
It’s important to note that the weather patterns in Vietnam can be unpredictable, and sudden storms or typhoons can occur at any time of the year. Visitors should keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan accordingly, especially during the rainy season