The Botanical Gardens
The Botanical gardens are around 10km outside of the village of Phong Nha along Road 20.
On arrival you can ask for a map and you’ll be asked to sign in. There are 2 different paths to choose, Route 1, the short route, is 1.5 kilometres. We were told it would it would take one and a half hours; we easily finished it in less than an hour. The longer Route 2 is 2.5 kilometres. If you just want to see the waterfall, simply walk there and back, it’ll only take you 20 minutes. The tropical forest is beautiful, and different species of plants are marked with signs. Keep your eye out for orchids and birds. The hike is especially refreshing during the cold months of December to February.
Points of interest include an animal rehabilitation enclosure, 100-year old Sao trees and Thac Gio, a 30-metre waterfall of clear, cold water. A refreshing splash under the cascade would be just the ticket on a steamy hike. This part of the trail requires some bouldering over slippery rocks, aided by a rope handrail. Wearing grippy soled shoes or sandals is ideal.