Ta Nang Trek DIY Guide

Ta Nang Trek DIY Guide

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Local Vietnamese consider Ta Nang trek as one of the best routes in the entire land offering panoramic views, mountain passes, and a glimpse of local ethnic culture in this isolated part of the country. Despite its popularity, it’s still an off-the-beaten track best for adventurous people who want to stray away from the touristy spots of Vietnam. I love how trekking this route made me feel; it was as if I was not in Vietnam! It’s entirely unique from other beautiful landscapes you will see in Vietnam. Check my uploaded photo album here.

Ta Nang's skies during sunset
Ta Nang’s skies during sunset

Local Tours

When I was new in HCMC, I came across a local tour provider who offered me this 35-kilometer trekking adventure for $136 or 3 Million VND. There was no way I would spend that much money for a trek that I could do on my own. It’s even more expensive than the fee you have to pay ($120) for climbing the highest mountain in Vietnam, Mount Fansipan. You can read my complete guide here if you plan to hike Mt. Fansipan, too.

Planning was a little challenging because there was no available complete guide online that I could follow. But thank God I’ve made friends with two Vietnamese locals who have done it, so I was able to plan from scratch. :))) #ThankYouGod

The contents in this post include my trip’s experience: achievements, mishaps, and lessons learned so your Ta Nang trek will be more convenient and error-free.

Ta Nang trek
Ta Nang trek

Getting There

From Saigon, take the Thanh Buoi sleeper bus at 11pm. Book tickets to Ta Hine  town through the hotline at 1900 6079. We departed at around 10:15 but we arrived super early, so I would suggest 11 pm as the ideal time. You will arrive at  Ta Hine bus stop (Chợ Ninh Gia in the map) at around 4am.

From where the bus dropped us off, there were already taxis available even at 4am. Ride a taxi to the start of the trek, Taxi Drop off at the map with coordinates 11.579434, 108.514771. You can say Toa Cat Village (village marker below) but you have to go past that until the Taxi Drop Off marker. You can say “đi thẳng” which means go straight. From there, you can have breakfast from the stores that sell food.

Ta Nang Trek: Toa Cat Village marker
Ta Nang Trek: Toa Cat Village marker

Bus Departing Terminal: 586 Dien Bien Phu street, ward 22, Binh Thanh District (very near Pearl Plaza)

Bus Drop Off: Chợ Ninh Gia

Taxi Drop Off: Past Toa Cat Village (11.579434, 108.514771)
Note: Don’t forget to get the mobile number of the taxi driver, just in case!

Ta Nang
Ta Nang

Ta Nang Trek Route

First map shows the entire route from Ho Chi Minh to Ta Nang and back; you will traverse the route and exit in Phan Dung Province.

The second map is your walking trail. With your GPS and this map, you will not get lost. It’s better to  use an offline map and GPS such as maps.me. The trail is visible; hard to get lost.

However, it was not the case for us. We got lost following a path in google maps which seemed to lead to the highest peak at 1300 meters. We aimed for that, only to find out that we were tracking a dead end. The span that covers the last 200 m elevation gain (1100 to 1300) was a steep ascend that we braved to conquer. But it led to an extremely wild forest where it was impossible to find a way, so we went back to around 1100 meters and camped somewhere among the pines. Considering my buddies, we just went back the same route the next day, booked another Thanh Buoi bus at 1pm and arrived back to Saigon at 7pm.

Ta Nang

Ta Nang Trek: steep slope we climbed.
Ta Nang Trek: steep slope we climbed.

Should you be able to successfully follow the correct path, make sure  you have already set camp by 4 to 5pm. I’m assuming it’s just a few kilometers before Yavly falls, which you can refreshingly enjoy after a short stroll the next morning. Based on experience, our pacing was at 15 minutes per 1 kilometer if walking nonstop. assuming 5 minute break per kilometer, you will spend 1 hour for every 3 kilometers. This is entirely dependent on your physical capacity.

You will exit at a village in Phan Dung and ride a taxi to Lien Hung where you will catch a bus going back to Saigon. According to my Vietnamese friends, there are a lot of bus heading for Saigon from Lien Hung, so even without booking, you don’t have to worry about catching one.

 

Suggested Itinerary

Assuming you will make the trip over the weekend, this is  my suggested itinerary:

Day 0 Friday
2300 – ETD from Saigon

Day 1 Saturday (Around 15 km total)
0400 – ETA Chợ Ninh Gia (Ta Hine bus stop), catch taxi
0500 – ETA Toa Cat Village, breakfast
0530 – Start of Ta Nang trek, with intervals for rest
1100 – Lunch
1600 – Set camp, watch sunset, dinner, etc.

Day 2 Sunday (Around 20 km total)
0530 Catch the sunrise, breakfast
0630 Break camp and aim for Yavly falls
0900 ETA at Yavly falls
1000 Continue to the end of trail marker (16 kilometers)
1400 Finish Ta Nang trek, late lunch, ride taxi to Lien Hung
1600 ETA at Lien Hung, ride the bus
2200 ETA at Saigon

Important Reminders and Suggestions

  1. Rent your tent from Saigon. Contact this number 0903310884 to rent a 2-pax tent for 70k per 2 days. You have to deposit 150K though, which she will give back when you return the tent.
  2. Don’ t forget to pack a warmer for when  you sleep, and a mat for the tent floor. It gets wet from the cold.
  3. Don’t overpack!!! You will walk at least 35 kilometers! Don’t exceed 30% of your weight. I carried 13-14kg and I weigh 48kg.
    The second day is easier because by then, you have already consumed most of your supplies

    Ta Nang Trek: pack lightly!
    Ta Nang Trek: pack lightly!
  4. Bring ready-to eat food. Forget about cooking. 🙂
  5. Bring a lighter for starting the campfire.
  6. I carried 3.5 liters of water, and I still had some to spare by the end.
  7. Protein and carbs are your friend during this trip.
  8. Extra pair of clothes to change with after the Yavly falls dip.
  9. Leave no trace! Bring a plastic bag to put your rubbish, and carry it till you reach the end.
  10. For this trip, 4 is the magic number for cost efficiency. The taxi costs 400 each way.

    Ta Nang Trek buddies
    Ta Nang Trek buddies taking cold drinks after the entire trek
  11. Don’t forget to download an offline map.
  12. Bring enough sun protection.
  13. Check the weather! Don’t go if it’s going to rain. According to locals, May to October is usually the rainy season.
  14. Wear good walking shoes/sandals.
  15. Learn some basic vietnamese, esp the names of the places like Toa Cat Village, Ta Hine, Ta Nang. Knowing how ro say amounts in Vietnamese is definitely helpful.
  16. Train your body! A lot of walking and biking prior to the trip would really be helpful.

    Ta Nang trek's visible trails
    Ta Nang trek’s visible trails

Our Actual Expenses

Here is the breakdown of our individual expenses for our Ta Nang trek, which is mainly on transportation. Food and water is not included of course.

Round trip bus tickets – 420K VND
Round trip Taxi fares – 180k VND
Tent rental – 38K VND per pax for 2 days
Total: 638K VND (30 USD)

Recommendations

This trek is one of the most adventurous weekends I had from Saigon. If I have another time, I would go back to finish it. You have to really be fit to enjoy it, else you will lag your team behind of schedule. There are other weekend escapes close to nature that you can check out. I made this list especially for that. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!

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