I wish I’d found this place myself. The Giang Điền Waterfalls aren’t far from Ho Chi Minh City, and absolutely worth a day trip!

However, it’s so far off the beaten path of my everyday travels that only looking for it specifically would find it – it’s not in Ho Chi Minh City at all, but rather, about about 60 minutes (~45km) outside it in the countryside of Dong Nai Province, northeast of Bien Hoa City.

Join me in the Dong Nai countryside for a relaxing surprise!

‘It’ is Thac Giang Điền, or Giang Điền Waterfalls. We didn’t spend more than an hour here, but it was a relaxing start to our trip to Mui Ne, and a lovely morning to spend talking to my friend and colleague Phuong as we strolled around the park.
I was here by one early July Saturday on a bus. I was headed to Mui Ne for a weekend of bonding with my officemates from Compass Education, and by 7:30am we were ready to stop, get some hot breakfast into us, and stretch our legs.
This type of ground cover grass is like felt – it’s wonderful on bare feet!

We took breakfast in one of many small shelters scattered around the top of the waterfalls – it was relaxing and a good omen for the remainder of the trip.

The park was filled with large families out and about for the weekend, including many large tour groups on their way to other places, just like us. You can usually tell because the tour is all wearing some common garment, like hats or fanny packs, with the logo on them.

We had t-shirts. Mine was soooooo tight.

The grounds were very pretty, and it wasn’t too hot yet.

Breakfast was pork and rice or hot soup. I took the soup (it was Huu Tieu, if you care) and finished as quickly as I could – I wanted to explore!

Cool house, bro.

We didn’t stay long but it was enough to take in some manicured gardens, including recreation areas, a small rice field – I had never seen a rice paddy up close – and a traditional type of abode (which you can see above), as well as fields, waterfalls, and some lovely bridges.

I heard conflicting stories about the falls here. One person insisted they were manmade (or maybe he was talking about the park, which is the beginnings of an eco-tourism complex?) while another told me a story about lovers dying (of course) in the falls and the falls gaining their names that way.

The main falls, of which there are three.

The waters this time of year are the color of Mexican hot chocolate – rich and cinnamon-y, colored with the mud and silt washing into tributaries with the rains that start in June. The weather was absolutely heavenly while we were stopped there – early July is a pleasant time of year in the South.

However, I must be honest – all this is nice and pleasant and a pretty magical place to stop for breakfast. But would I have posted something about this if it was just for this? I don’t know.

CAMPING. TENTS, PEOPLE. OH MY GOODNESS.

It’s not particularly interesting place to camp (no hiking? hrm), but it IS a mere hour from HCMC! Gotta get my camp on. Must inquire about prices. Hope that there might be more secluded areas, but not terribly worried if there aren’t.

NEXT TIME, on PARK LIFE: Our hero goes camping. Gonna happen. Give me a bit of time to rustle up a school holiday and a camping partner and we’ll see what we can do with this little burgeoning park.

Got any other camping areas in South Vietnam that I need to check out? Please leave me comments!