Thứ Ba, 6 tháng 10, 2015

Around Cao Lanh

Around Cao Lanh


Xeo Quyt Forest 
(Xeo Quyt, Xeo Quit; admission 5000d; 7am-5pm) Southeast of Cao Lanh and can be reached  by boat tour is the  excellent  52-hectare Xeo Quyt Forest (also called Rung Tram) near My Hiep village. One  vast swamp beneath a  beautiful thick canopy of tall trees and vines, it’s one of the final  natural jungles  left in the Mekong Delta.

During the  humid  season a wonderful  20-minute canoe tour (15,000d) takes you past old bunkers and former mine fields along narrow canals filled with ever-present dragonflies and choked with water hyacinths (luc binh). It’s an unique  experience but splash on the repellent and try to get out by 4.30pm when the mozzies begin swarming. During the hot season you can discover this area on walk.

The VC had a base here, where top-brass VC lived in under ground bunkers, during the American War. Only about 10 VC were here at any given time; they were all generals who directed the war from here, just 2km from a US military base. The Americans never knew  that the VC generals were living right under their noses. Of course, they were suspicious about that patch of jungle  and periodically threw some bombs on it to reassure themselves, but the VC remained safe in their underground bunkers.

From My Hiep, you can hire a boat (around US$20, seating up to 10 people) that takes around 40 minutes to make the 2km journey to Xeo Quyt. Dong Thap Tourist includes a guided trip in  several of its tour programs.

Tram Chim National Park 
(7am-4pm) Tram Chim National Park is due north of Cao Lanh in Tam Nong district and famous  for its eastern sarus cranes(Grus antigone sharpii). More than 220 species of bird have been identified within the reserve, but ornithologists will be most interested in these rare red-headed cranes, which grow to an  remarkable  1.8m high.

Seeing these birds, however, requires a considerable commitment (time, effort and money), so it’s strictly for enthusiasts.

Birds nest here from about December to May; from June to November they  migrate to another area like northwest  Cambodia, so time  your  visit  to coordinate with the birds’ travel itinerary if you eager to  see them. The birds are early risers, so morning visits are  advised. During the day, they’re engaged in the important business of eating.

Tam Nong is a sleepy town 45km from Cao Lanh. The one-way drive takes around an hour to travel by car. From Tam Nong it  takes another hour by little boat (around 2,700,000d) to reach  the area where the cranes live and another hour to come back. Add to this whatever time you spend (perhaps an hour) bird-watching (bring your own binoculars), it will be a unique experience, and then the requisite two hours to return to Cao Lanh, depending on your mode of travel. There are a few rudimentary guesthouses in Tam Nong if you  want  to stay late or hit the park early. Tam Nong shuts down early so if you  want to eat dinner  here, make arrangements  before 5pm.