Tra Su Cajuput Forest is located in Van Giao Commune, Tinh Bien District, An Giang Province, about over 20km from Chau Doc Town 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.
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.
The forest is sub-divided into several sites to make getting around easier, that include a 3,000m2 fishing area, a 3,200m2 bird sanctuary and a 2,500m2 bat sanctuary, all of which cater to the specific individual demands of different types of tourists.
If visiting the key sites by foot, the tourists must spend pretty much the whole day in the forest. However, if they jump in a motor-boat, it will save a lot of time, and permit a leisurely five hour round trip of all the significant sites throughout the ecological forest. They can view the lovely landscape as the scenery drifts along both river banks, enjoy the fresh air as well as listen to the magical music as performed by the birds of the forest and other jungle insects and animals. Apart from the birds and animals, the tourists will see the wonderful countryside and farmers busily attending to their paddies, orchards and so on, but still happy to stop for a chat with guests.
In the midst of the forest there is a special ornithologist's watch tower, standing some 10m high that allows tourists to enjoy a fantastic panorama of the vast greenery below, dotted with birds in the silhouette of the Cam Mountain in the background. The colour of the waterways changed from one place to another, sometimes turquoise and at other times silver, purple or amber, due to the numerous species of water creatures.
During the high water season, the forest's canals and streams are dense with clusters of water ferns, a particularly vivid sight when the setting sun imparts a golden glow on the emerald-green duckweed that blankets the water's surface. Lotus flowers and water lilies, cultivated by local farmers to supplement their incomes during the rainy season, cover much of the water. However, as night settles and the sun sets, the view changes and becomes enlivened as the birds return home for the night, covering the night sky in a huge screeching mass of feathers.
The natural aspect of the landscape is given a wonderful dimension by the few small farm-houses that are irregularly placed here and there, perched high up on stilts above the flood plain with their rudimentary bamboo ceilings made out of cajuput trees, providing a charming and unique setting as the forest is slowly consumed by the dark skies of night amongst the ambient noise of jungle animals.
The best time to visit Tra Su is at the high water season, from September to November. At this time of the year, the entire forest floats on a vast area, so a motor-boat is the only way to travel around. Indeed, rowing along the green mysterious canals is a particularly good idea, since the tourists are able to stop as they chose to pick wild berries or fruits or go for a bit of fishing in quiet contemplation.
Apart from the significance of preservation and economic value, the area also boasts many unique cultural features as itÂ is the home of the Kh'mer and Kinh people who practice several traditional handicrafts, such as brocade weaving, silk weaving, cooking Thot not (Borassus flabellifer) sugar, distilling cajuput essential oil, raising bees for honey, etc.
Endowed with peace and tranquility, Tra Su Cajuput Forest became a unique and attractive ecological destination for the tourists who love the beauty of the nature.