In a three-part series exploring the sleepy Mekong Delta region in southern Vietnam, “Life Along the Mekong” follows a traveller’s journey to some of the Delta’s most magical destinations that are still well off of the tourist trail. Floating markets, dusty villages, emerald rice paddies and flooded forests all adapt to the ebb and flow of the river that is still central to the livelihoods of Delta locals. See what the Delta has in store on in-depth Mekong Delta journeys into the heart of this agricultural epicentre.
We arrived at the gateway to Tra Su Forest in the mid-afternoon, just as the sun was dipping lower in the sky and the birds were flocking home to their nests. This enclave near the border of Cambodia in An Giang Province wasn’t more than 20 kilometres away from Chau Doc City, but with the buzz of insects and sweeps of wind that rustled the trees, Tra Su felt millions of miles away from civilization.
We knew that the flooded forest was a hotbed of avian activity; with over 70 species of tropical birds calling Tra Su their home, the tree tops chattered with clucking, hooting and chirping birds. But for us, the bird life was just an added bonus. The gliding boat ride through an area that looked as if we were floating over a blanket of grass was one of the most serene experiences we found in the already sleepy Mekong region – an aura best captured through the magic of photos.
Tra Su is a flooded Eucalyptus forest, but lilies, hibiscus, lotus, and algae float on the surface of the area’s water as well. Some birds – light enough to stroll across the top – feed on bugs that live on top of the water’s vegetation.
Tra Su covers a vast 850 hectares along the Vietnam-Cambodia border, and boasts one of the most unique environments throughout the country. During the Vietnam-American war, the forest’s location made it a hideout for revolutionaries.
Tra Su is home to over 140 species of flora and dozens of species of rare birds. Some species even walk along the thick foliage that blankets the water.
Since Tra Su is only 20 kilometres from nearby Chau Doc, it can either be a daytrip from the city centre or a stop along a journey into Cambodia.
How to Get There:
Tra Su Forest is closest to the delta town of Chau Doc – roughly a 40-minute drive. Since the area is not as widely explored as other parts of Vietnam, getting to this scenic area is best done alongside a tour company who can organise transportation.
All exploration of the flooded forest is regulated to preserve this stunning ecosystems balance. In order to see it, you will need to set off alongside a registered local guide – like the travel companions that Buffalo Tours works with. We can help customise either a single journey to Tra Su Forest from Chau Doc, or help you build a visit here into a longer Mekong Delta tour or fully customised Vietnam tour. Don’t hesitate to contact our team to ask how!
Explore this majestic corner of Vietnam on a Mekong experience to Tra Su Forest and Chau Doc. See Buffalo Tours’ newest River Life Retreat tour.