Hike to Dam Tre Bay

Tuesday - 28/05/2019 23:12
Located along the primitive northeast coast, Dam Tre Bay offers bamboo forest, rugged landscape and a rocky beach, which visitors will likely have all to themselves. But the hike is tricky as you have to time it with the tides or else you can get stranded.

The prize.

The reward.

The hiking distance to Dam Tre one-way is 5.5 kilometres – or less, depending on where you park your motorbike. The first section of the hike requires crossing Bai Dong, a 2.5 kilometre beach close to the airport runway which disappears during high tide. Consult tide charts (do an internet search for “tide Con Son”) and start your hike as the tide is ebbing. Time it so you’ll be finished a few hours before the next high tide. If this all sounds too daunting or you aren’t an experienced hiker, with some advanced notice you canhire a guide from the Con Dao National Park office. We don’t recommend doing this particular hike solo. For a non-English speaking guide to accompany you to Dam Tre, we were quoted 600,000 dong. Regardless of whether you want a guide or not, you need to register/get a free ticket at the park office before setting off.

Part of the hike's challenge.

Part of this hike’s challenge.

To reach the trail, drive along the coastal road towards the airport. There will be a sign and dirt/sand path heading right, leading to the sand. Your safest bet is to park near the end of this trail, up away from the beach. Alternately, if you’re experienced on a motorbike, you can drive on wet sand down the beach stopping a few hundred metres before the wall. Park up on top of the rise in the sand into the tree line, far and high enough or else it can be submerged underwater! This shaves a couple kilometres off the walk; however, you really need to know how to handle a motorbike and need other people to help push the bike up soft sand. The wall belongs to the airport and you are definitely not allowed to walk along it. Continue walking across the beach until you reach the trailhead sign. From here it is three kilometres to Dam Tre.

Happy trails.

Happy trails.

The hike is gorgeous and trail is good, a paved mix of stone and concrete. The jungle is vibrant and lush, trees mixed with towering bamboo that creaks and squeaks with every sway in the wind.

Private idyll.

Private idyll.

Dam Tre is a well protected bay with bamboo covered hills sloping down to the rocky shore (“tre” means bamboo). We had it all to ourselves. Rocks are a bit sharp in the water, so it is best to swim with footwear. The ranger station, where you’ll have to show your ticket, has clean public toilets. Bring a picnic — sharing any goodies with the rangers will be met with appreciation.

There’s a stunning hike along the exposed rugged coast. Look for the rough path rising up from the building wrapping around the eastern edge. It requires navigating some rocks and boulders, though a few concrete steps have been added as well as bamboo handrails which are more for guidance than support. It’s a precarious trail that delivers sigh worthy views and a feeling like you’re at the edge of the world.



The hike to Dam Tre took us an hour one-way. We admit we were having too much fun and were late in getting back — on the return we had to wade waist-deep through the water. 

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