Many domestic and foreign tourists have traveled to Tra Su Cajuput Forest in An Giang Province to enjoy beautiful landscapes and serenity of the must-see destination in the Mekong Delta.
About Tra Su Cajuput Forest
Tra Su Cajuput Forest is located in Van Giao Commune, Tinh Bien District, An Giang Province, about over 20km from Chau Doc City and 10km from the Cambodia border. Belonging to the national specialized forest system in the western region in Southern Vietnam, it is an ideal destination for ecological and scientific research tours in the Mekong Delta, thanks to its wonderful diverse wildlife.
Prior to 1975, Tra Su was destroyed by the enemy’s bombs and became uncultivated area. After the war, authorities in An Giang Province invested to reforest cajuput and build a 12km long, 4m wide and 4m high dyke system that helps prevent the area from being swamped during flood season. The forest has been designated as a special restoration zone since 1983, with the target of becoming a renowned scientific forest and nature reserve.
The forest includes a 845ha special-purpose forest surrounded by a 645ha buffer zone. It is the habitat for many colonies of water birds, bats and various others such as rare and endangered animals and reptile species. Scientists estimate that it is home to over 70 species of birds, including 2 very rare species of Giang sen (Mycteria leucocephala) and the Dieng Dieng (Anhinga Melanogaster); 11 species of animals belonging to 6 families and 4 orders; 20 species of reptiles; 5 species of amphibians; 23 species of fish, including Ca com (Chitala ornata) and Tre trang (Clarias batrachus) having the scientific value and being in danger of extinction. The flora is equally abundant and splendid with over 140 specified floral varieties which represent the second largest number of plant species in the Mekong Delta region, only after the Xeo Quit Cajuput Forest in Dong Thap Province. They include 22 varieties of trees, 25 varieties of shrubs, 10 varieties of vines, 70 varieties of grasses, 13 species of aquatic plants, 22 varieties of ornamental plants, 9 varieties of fruit trees and particularly many varieties of medicinal herbs of high value.
Interesting experiences in Tra Su
Tour guides are of the opinion that the good period to visit Tra Su is from July to December when water covers the entire area of the cajuput forest in Van Giao Commune, Tinh Bien District, facilitating boat rides around there.
But I opt for a visit in December and January after having been there for several times in different months because of little or no rain and cool weather and the national reserve turns peaceful and scenic when leaves of cajuputs fall and sway in breezes.
Warm sunshine illuminates Tra Su in December and January, turning the forest and still duckweed that blankets the surface of the flooding water an appealing watercolor painting. On top of that, birds flock to Tra Su in those months to build nests and their singing are a warm welcome to travelers.
As usual, a journey in Tra Su starts with a composite motor-boat which departs from a pier of the forest and moves along the cajuput forest for visitors to admire vast greenery including lotus and water lilies before they get off it and be transferred to a rowing small wooden boat, which makes its way through green duckweed and deep into the forest for less than 30 minutes.
On the small wooden boat, they can see birds and storks perching in cajuput trees and hovering in the specialized forest, which covers nearly 1,500 hectares. As part of the journey, visitors are taken to a bird-watching tower with a telescope to view some of the bird species and contemplate landscapes in Tra Su.
Tra Su is home to 140 flora species and more than 120 species of water birds, bats, reptiles, animals and fish with many species of them rare and endangered and a few listed in the Red Book. Guides of Tra Su recommend that guests should come to the cajuput forest on weekdays on peak months as visitors do not have to wait for the boat tour in the forest.
Travel firms in HCMC and cities in the Mekong Delta offer organized tours to Tra Su Cajuput Forest and other attractive destinations in the region, including Cam Mountain and Tuc Dup Hill.
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