For those who are in love with the beauty of wild nature, Tra Su Cajuput Forest will be the ideal choice for you to explore. The forest is considered the most interesting and attractive tourist attraction when you come to An Giang Province, Vietnam. Coming here, visitors will feel overwhelmed by the vast Cajuput forest and have the opportunity to explore the typical mangrove forest ecosystem in the west of the Hau River with many diverse and rare species of flora and fauna.
I. Overview of Tra Su Cajuput Forest
- Location: Van Tra, Xuan To, Tinh Bien, An Giang
Opening hours: 7AM - 5:15PM
Areas: 850 hectares
Tra Su Cajuput Forest is located near Tra Su mountain area of Tinh Bien, An Giang. In 1983, from a desolate lowland area heavily contaminated with alum, the forest was tested by Tinh Bien Forest Enterprise by planting Cajuput trees in order to contribute to soil improvement and watershed prevention. The forest is 850 ha wide in total, located in 3 communes: Vinh Trung, Van Giao and O Long Vy.
Tra Su Cajuput Forest has a very important effect on the water environment and climate regulation for the whole Bay Nui region, which is home to many precious species of flora and fauna in Vietnam. According to the latest research results of An Giang University, Tra Su Cajuput Forest is home to 70 species of birds and storks, 22 species of reptiles, 11 species of mammals, 23 species of aquatic animals. Moreover, it is also very diverse in plants with 140 different species, including nearly 80 medicinal species.
II. What to Do at Tra Su Cajuput Forest?
1. Take a Boat Tour through The Forest
To visit the forest, you will have to buy a ticket at the pier, and then rent a boat. This is undoubtedly the highlight of a tour to Tra Su Cajuput Forest. You will have the chance to take a boat tour to go deeper into the forest an explore the most valuable natural scenery of Vietnam. At first, you will slowly go through the rank to enter the core zone of the forest. On the way, you will see 2 sides filled with tall cajuput trees, covered with cool green shade that soothes your mind very well. You will also see a lot of different types of animals, particular birds.
To the core zone, you will switch from your boat to a manually controlled boat to go deep into the nook and cranny of the forest. Without any engine noise or other noisy sounds, you will just gently drift along the water, weaving between small creeks, through the cajuput canopy overhead. Here, you can see a large and thick layer of green duckweed covering the surface of the water. You can touch it and enjoy the beauty of golden flowers and cajuput, creating a wonderful picture of the nature.
Gradually going deep inside the forest, you will be able to see a lot of rare birds dwelling. With the fresh air filled with birds chirping, Tra Su is really suitable for travellers who want to escape from the noisy and dusty city to find the peace of mind among nature.
2. Check-in at The Pier and The Love Bridge
For people who love to take beautiful photos as memories, the pier and the Love Bridge are 2 places that you should never miss if you come to Tra Su Cajuput Forest.
The pier is interestingly designed with many houses for the pigeons. All the houses are made with wood and painted white and brown, together with the wooden pier and the river, creating a beautiful and romantic, vintage-looking background. Occasionally, there will be many pigeons that are looking for food on the land. When they come, you can take pictures with them very easily.
The Love Bridge (a.k.a the bamboo bridge) is also a very attractive destination to tourists. The bridge is completely built with bamboo, and it is written in the Guiness Record as “the longest bamboo bridge”. Wandering on the charming, winding bamboo bridge, visitors will enjoy the feeling of time slowing down to fully immerse in the nature. The transport network “Bamboo” is decorated like beautiful flowery roads that weave through ancient cajuput rows. No dust, no noise, the bamboo bridge is like an extended arm that supports Tra Su’s resources to grow faster.
Tip: Choose a white or light-coloured outfit to best fit with the colour of the forest and these destinations.
3. Zoom out on the Panoramic View on the Observatory (Vong Gac)
When finished exploring inside the forest, do not forget to stop by the Observatory (Vong Gac) to admire the entire vast Cajuput Forest through the telescope with a view of 25km wide. You will have to walk the stairs to reach the Observatory (not recommended for people with weak health condition). From here, you will be able to see many tall cajuput trees, creating a large green area on the land. You can also glimpse through the further villages of Khmer and Kinh people. If you have time, you should also visit the special handicrafts villages that produces many natural products such as silk weaving, Khmer brocade, beekeeping for honey, Cajuput essential oil, …
Tip: The fees for a one-time telescope viewing is VND10,000
4. Enjoy the Local Food of Tra Su Cajuput Forest
As the navel area of the Long Xuyen Quadrangle, there are a lot of countryside types of food here. There are some restaurants around the area, and you can there to enjoy delicious rustic dishes. A few popular dishes here are: Eel/frog/snake/chicken hot pot, grilled fish/chicken/frog, steamed chicken, quail … Among them, the most famous are the grilled ham and chilli salt, grilled snakehead fish, grilled chicken with melaleuca flower honey. In the flooding season, do not forget to enjoy the classic reishi fish hot pot!
The prices here are very affordable, and you won’t have to worry about being ripped off. A meal with bold Western flavors with a very rustic feeling in the romantic scenery of this forest will surely be an unforgettable experience for visitors.
III. How to Get to Tra Su Cajuput Forest?
- From Ho Chi Minh City: Take the bus to Long Xuyen or Chau Doc. You can buy a bus ticket at the Western Bus Station. The average price is 150,000 – 300,000 VND/way, and it takes about 4 hours travelling. Some recommended coach brands are: Phuong Trang, Thao Nguyen, Hue Nghia, Lien Hung Hiep Thanh,..
- From Can Tho: Take a coach from Can Tho bus station Long Xuyen or Chau Doc. On average, there are about 4 trips per day at different times. Some brands you should choose are Van Khoa Nguyen, Phuong Trang,.. The time for travelling would be around 3 hours.
- From Chau Doc: follow the route Tan Lo Kieu Luong connecting with National Highway 91. When passing Tra Su Bridge of Nha Bang town, Tinh Bien district, turn left along Tra Su canal and keep going for a few more kilometers to reach Tra Su Cajuput Forest
- From Long Xuyen: go along Highway 91 to Chau Doc, then follow the above route.
Tips: Tra Su Cajuput Forest is located only about 30km from Chau Doc and 64km from Long Xuyen. Therefore, after arriving in An Giang, you can rent a motorbike, taxi, travel car … to continue the journey.
IV. Best Time to Visit Tra Su Cajuput Forest?
The best time to visit Tra Su Cajuput Forest is the “water floating” season, from September to November every year. By this time of the year, when there are more water filling the rivers and ranks, the whole forest is covered with a green color, full of vitality as if all of the natural beauty gathers here, creating an extremely alive and vibrant picture of nature.
With the immense green space of Melaleuca with colorful pictures of real systems, animals … Tra Su Cajuput Forest is not only an attractive destination for tourists, but also a forest of international importance for mangrove forest conservation in the Mekong Delta.