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The Social Center in Đắk Nông is the fourth center Maison Chance opened in order to provide health care, housing, free education and vocational training to the disadvantaged of this area. The Central Highlands of Vietnam are known for its primitive forests protected in national parks, rivers, rock faces and mountains. Along with natural wonders and a fascinating geomorphological heritage this place is home to several indigenous ethnic minorities with their own languages and rich cultural traditions.

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Located in Krong No district, the Center can be reached from Ho Chi Minh City by bus. Around 350 km northeast from turbulent Saigon, visitors will find themselves in a peaceful atmosphere with pleasant climate.

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The Center’s guesthouses comfortably accommodate up to 44 people and our in-house restaurant serves a variety of Vietnamese and Western-style dishes and drinks. The Maison Chance Social Enterprise, which was established only in January 2019, uses the revenues from businesses and products made by our talented beneficiaries to cover part of the Center’s running costs.

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There are plenty of things to discover in and around the Center. The magnificent waterfalls Dray Sap and Dray Nur are located in close proximity. This less touristy area in the Central Highlands is also known for its primary forests in the Nam Nung Nature Reserve, which is part of the Geopark Đắk Nông, its amazing basalt rocks and volcanic cave systems.

Adventurers and families will love the walking tour to the unique nature spectacle guided by the local Maison Chance staff. Here are a few impressions of the tour.

Starting from the Social Center to our first destination, Dray Nur, we pass a short forest track.

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Vegetation is composed of forests and uplands on which farmers develop different types of agriculture. Along the way, there are corn fields as well as avocado, coconut and fruit trees.

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After walking some time, we are rewarded with this amazing view. The lush greenery covers the highlands and valleys and the Dray Nur can already be spotted from a far distance.

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As the saying goes „When in Rome, do as the Romans do“… By pulling on a rope attached to a raft made from four plastic canisters and wooden pallets, we cross the Sêrêpốk River just as locals do.

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Marching a little bit through meter-high grass and scrub…

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The ground under our feet changes continuously. Big stones pave the way to the wooden suspension bridge which leads to the waterfall.

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Beneath us flow the clear waters of Krong Ana, the wife river. Together with Krong No, the husband river, which runs along Dray Sap, the two build tributaries of the powerful Sêrêpốk river. The atmospheric noise of the waterfall can be already heard.

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Time to have a break and taste delicious Ca Fe Sua, Vietnamese Coffee with condensed milk – against the backdrop of a picturesque scenery that attracts tourists and locals alike. Not less impressive are the roots of century-old trees which embrace rocks.

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Hidden places surrounded by basalt rocks allow wonderful snapshots…

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We continue our tour, climbing stairs, it goes up and down, another bridge to cross, scrub and finally we arrive…

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…at the top of the waterfall!

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The Đắk Nông Geopark was brought into being in 2015 to protect the rich biodiversity in this area. The flora and fauna system is very various here.

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To reach the second destination, the famous Dray Sap Waterfall, we have to cross the red bridge and follow the path until…

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… we find ourselves in a mysterious, peaceful forest.

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37Different stories told by the Ede people intertwine around the creation of the impressive waterfalls in this area. Legend has it that the beautiful Ede girl H’Mi and her lover were resting in the forest when suddenly a monster with wings, a mountain-big head and bronze eyes appeared. It crashed into the land, its trunk plunged into the ground, stirring up a huge splash of water. As the creature flew around and ejecting water to make a shower the girl was in such terrible shock that she vanished into mist. Her boyfriend grieving about his loss turned into a great tree, reaching out to heaven and digging into the rock. Since that time, that place was called Dray Sap, the Smoky Waterfall.

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The water flows especially strongly in the rainy season, when the fall is about 50 meters high and 100 meters wide. The Dray Sap rumbles all day and night along the cliffs. Locals say the sound of the waterfall is the whisper of stories told about H’Mi and her boyfriend.

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The enigmatic waterfall is surrounded by old trees and a zone with many volcanic caves. Recently the province developed three tourism routes inside its Geopark. Route Nr. 1 carries the name “Rhapsody of fire and water” and leads along Dray Sap and the lava caves. In 2019, UNESCO professionals will officially evaluate Đắk Nông’s dossier asking for recognition of Đắk Nông Geopark as Global Geopark of UNESCO. Results will be revealed in April 2020.

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Text: Nelli