Mekong Delta Travel in Vietnam 2017
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Around Ca Mau

U-Minh Forest

The town of Ca Mau borders the U-Minh Forest (admission 10,000d; 6am-5pm, closed Mar-May), a vast mangrove jungle covering 1000 sq km of Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces. Residents  make use of  certain species of mangrove for making  timber, charcoal, thatch and tannin.

Along with  being an important habitat for waterfowl, the U-Minh Forest – the biggest  mangrove jungle  around the world  beyond the Amazon basin – which was   a favourite hideout for the VC during the American War. The Americans responded with chemical de foliation,  which caused huge   damage to the  forests. Thanks to the heavy rainfall, the dioxin was washed out to sea and the forest is returning . People have also planted many eucalptus trees  because they have been said to be relatively dioxin-resustant.

ca-mau

 Nevertheless  the mangrove forests are being further destroyed  by clearing for shrimp-farming ponds, charcoal production and woodchipping,  even though  the  government has  tried to limit these activities. In 2002 an area of 80 sq km was preserved as U Minh Thuong (Upper U-Minh) National Park.

 The forest is  famous  for its birdlife, and travellers  will  enjoy a boat trip around Ca Mau,  although the feathered flocks aren’t nearly as  common  as the swarms of mosquitoes. It takes visitors around thirty minutes to get a boat trip and costs 100,000d.

ca mau

Ca Mau Tourist can arrange  a boat tour for around US$140, but  try to find better deals with locals down at the ferry pier  where you can get a speedboat to Thu Bay (two hours),  followed by a motorbike to U-Minh Forest for 70,000d.

Ca Mau Nature Reserve

Sometimes  known as  Ngoc Hien Bird Sanctuary,  these 130 hectares form one of the least developed and most protected parts of the Mekong Delta region. Shrimp farming is  prohibited here. You can access by boat.

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Mekong Delta Travel 1, 2 and 3 Days – Mekong River Vietnam

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