Just over 50 miles (80 km) from Ca Mau, you reach U Minh Thuong National Park in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang. It is Vietnam's fifth ASEAN Heritage Park.
The National Park covers over 21,000 hectares in An Minh Bac and Minh Thuan communes in U Minh Thuong Town. It is quite an amazing place with a primeval forest, of which 3,000 hectares are mangrove trees and an very rare tropical wetlands forest ecosystem.
U Minh NP is considered the richest region in terms of plant and animal life in the Mekong Delta with more than 243 species of plants, 32 species of mammals, 186 bird species, 39 reptile species and 34 amphibian species. Many species of wildlife in the park are endangered and must be strictly protected.
The best way to visit the national park is to hire a long narrow boat with a big motor. The drawback is that the noise is so loud that all the wildlife you dreamt to see flies or hides away so itís quite frustrating for taking photos.
During the American War, the area was a hideout for the Viet Cong. Many US patrol boats have been ambushed here or sunk by mines planted in the waterways. The Americans used chemical defoliation in order to make their enemy more visible but this tactic has done enormous damage to the forests and soil.
The first attempts at replanting failed because the soil was very toxic, but over the years, the rainfalls in the wet season washed the dioxin out to sea and the forest has grown back.
Landscape and travel
U MINH THUONG
U MINH DISTRICT
KIEN GIANG PROVINCE