Ta Kou Nature Reserve is not to be missed. It was formed on October 26, 1996 in Tan Lap commune, Ham Thuan Nam district, about 30 km South East of PhanThiet. The drive from Mui Ne is about one hour. The southern boundary of the nature reserve follows the coastline, beginning where the nature reserve stretches inland for about 20 km. The nature reserve is bordered on the west by the Phan river, and to the north, the Tre stream forms the border. These two rivers flow into the East Sea on both sides of the nature reserve.
Most of the nature reserve consists of low, rolling hills, at elevations from 50 to 100 m. The reserve has a total area of 11,866 ha. The most significant and obvious feature of the reserve is Ta Kou Mountain, which rises to an elevation of 694 m.
The Reclining Buddha
Its not officially known if the park contains any significant wildlife but it does face signifficant pressure from the development which surrounds the park on all sides. There are many birds found in the reserve and monkeys are said to live in the area surrounding the pagoda.
Visitors may hike up the mountain for free or take the gondola through a beautiful tropical rainforest to the pagoda at the top. The current pagoda at the top of the mountain was built in 1879, but many years before there was a thatch-roofed structure. Some time after its construction, the pagoda was separated into two structures; the upper one still in the original location is called "Linh-Son-Truong-Tho" and the lower position "Linh-Son-Long-Doan," but both of them are called the Mountain Pagoda. The site also includes 3-door gates, temples, Buddha statues, tomb towers, and a cave. Local lore says that a boy staying at the pogoda monestary once followed the nearby cave all the way to the sea when his mother called him to come home.
The reclining Buddha is called "Thich-Ca-Nhap-Niet-Ban" and lies at the highest position about 100 meters from the pagoda. The statue is 49 meters long, and is the largest reclining buddha in Vietnam. About 50 meters from the reclining buddha are 3 standing statues about 7 meters high.
There is a tourist restaurant at the top of the mountain near the pagoda, as well as a cheaper vegetarian eating area at the pagoda itself.