Do you know which place is a favorite destination for animals, especially birds? It’s Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary, a submerged area in Ba Tri, Ben Tre that is about 120km south of Ho Chi Minh City. It gathers 84 species of birds in 35 classes, covering 500,000 storks.
Vam Ho is also the home to 500,000 storks and different types of birds. As estimated, approximately 2,000 visitors visiting Vam Ho every year. This place is always crowded when the birds come to migrate here and start reproducing. It’s from April to October following the lunar calendar.
Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary at a glance
People know that Vam Ho is a submerged area where all wild trees tend to gather and grow a lot and then create a forest. Standing on the higher floor of the place, you’ll encounter many coconut trees. In fact, there used to be much more in the past, so this region was once known as the “leave islets”.
Apart from coconut trees, there are gray mangroves, mangroves, and date palms that are ideal for birds to live.
Standing at the lower floor of the forest, it’s common to catch the view of Japanese thistles, common reeds, common derrises, and vegetation for the storks and night herons. These are helpful for their nesting activity and reproduction process.
For Vam Ho bird sanctuary, it’s still young as compared to other sanctuaries within the Mekong Delta region. As said, it was built since 1986 when the birds began to fly back here. They were actually from Dat islet, Ba Tri District, An Hiep Village.
And it’s good to know that the local community has seemed very effective in guarding Vam Ho bird sanctuary. According to Vice Director of Quyet Thang farm within Vam Ho, Nguyen Van Chot, he has seen a lot of local birds’ migration patterns.
Also, Ben Tre Province has made amazing efforts to boost the overall infrastructure within and around Vam Ho bird sanctuary. Now you can see that good roads and a decent security system are available, which can help protect the birds and enable people to see such beautiful creatures.
How to get to Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary?
You’re suggested to drive southward for three hours from Saigon and then you could reach Ben Tre. Mekong Delta Province is widely popular for its shrimp ponds, coconut trees, Afterward, you can and blue water. Aside from these incredible attraction, Ben Tre has another famous tourist site that you must go and see: Vam Ho Ecological Tourist Site.
Only take the Saigon – Trung Luong Expressway, going through Tien Giang and then Rach Mieu Bridge. Afterward, you can arrive in Ben Tre and start exploring the green space of this ecological tourist site in Ba Tri.
The path leading to this farm is a bit winding because all roads and bridges are still under construction for better traffic. Here, you find it easier to catch the gorgeous sights of the sparkling wildflowers along the way or the canals creating the lush green scene in front of the eyes.
This farm lies next to Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary, so feel free to look up to the place for the soaring birds. Interestingly, once standing on a road, you get to hear the birds singing beautifully in a corner of the bird garden.
Best time to visit Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary
As stated above, the most convenient time to view the storks would be from April to October. This is the time when they start taking refuge in the garden to give birth and raise their young birds.
Besides, those birds are easily seen for the day, but you can watch them in the early evening. Ensure to come here after 5 pm as this is the most fascinating time to view them. When sunset comes, flocks of storks fly over Ba Lai River. After that, they gather under the beautiful sky and land in the green forest.
What to experience in Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary?
Once reaching Vam Ho, not just you get to admire the stork wings and those of the cauldron, but you also watch wild birds in flocks.
It’s nothing greater than enjoying the relaxing sounds of birds chirping and then walking around the trees. Don’t miss leaning back to the hammock that swings under the foliage, and breathing in the pure air of Ba Lai river.
Apart from the marvelous dance and incredible song of the storks or the black-crowned night herons, you’ll enjoy the symphony mingled with the sound of the leaves. In the peaceful midsummer’s night, it’s great to listen to the sounds of the watercocks.
If it’s in the afternoon, you can hear the sound of coucals and ducks as well as other smaller birds. These tend to live in the bushes nearby the water surfaces, from sparrows, waterhens, black drongo, red-vented bulbul to kingfishers.
So the songs of birds with the whispering of all plants and the charming scent of flowers just make the whole scene more appealing than ever! At sunset, visitors can choose to climb in the tree to catch the sight of all bird species during your journey. And storks appear to whiten the entire plants while the herons begin moving for food.
At the same time, you’re going to encounter many wild beasts and animals, including foxes, bats, snakes, pythons and more. You will feel as if you were staying in a space of sounds, sights, and colors.
Getting here, visitors joining Vietnam tours have a chance to get around by boat and get to view the submerged forest. Try stepping on the narrow bamboo bridges if you want for fun, or take a rest under the shadow of the forest. You’re initially impressed by the long lines of coconut trees.
More than that, both mangrove and reed are the most standard trees seen in this region. Don’t miss a chance to sail on this calm river, smelling the attractive scent of flowers and enjoying the fresh air. Visitors would have the great time to relax and stay in high spirit.
Some people would also love viewing the relics of American resistance war in Vietnam during their stay in Vam Ho.
What to eat in Vam Ho bird sanctuary
Cơm dừa (coconut rice)
For visitors who have landed in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, coconut would be the ideal fruit for them to think of. Since it’s the symbol of Ben Tre, a lot of dishes are made from it here. You can find and try them, from steamed coconut water, coconut milk to sweet coconut soup.
But we’re sure that what makes you more surprised would be the coconut rice with fried shrimp and coconut water. The dish here is prepared by a famous eatery in Ben Tre, so go ahead to taste it once. Following the sticky rice cooked in a bamboo tube of the mountainous provinces, the chef creates a new specialty for the region.
Bì cuốn (shredded pork rolls)
Mekong Delta region is a land of spring rolls, so no wonder why shredded pork rolls are just one of the best dishes you can’t miss. The dish is usually served with a unique aromatic sauce that flies over the mouth. Some basic ingredients stuffed inside each roll are herbs, noodles, and minced pork/pork skin.
Bánh xèo ốc gạo (Snail pancake)
Rice snail is actually a little snail that is very fragrant whenever cooked with particular ingredients. You might not know that the essential ingredient of this special pancake would be the snails and the rice flour to make the dish crispier than ever.
Besides, these snails are cleansed with water and the slime needs to be removed before they get boiled on fire. The snails will be removed from the shells before getting fired with other ingredients.
Chuối đập (Fattened banana)
It’s good to know that the dish won’t be just a snack but also symbolizing the memories of Ben Tre locals and the workers in large cities. It’s challenging to find bananas to fatten since very few suppliers provide this food.
To process the dish, all you need are bananas and baked hot. Slice each fruit into two pieces vertically before baking them for 5 minutes. Next, get rid of them from the grill and then have them smashed with hard objects (pestles) to ensure them to get flattened.
Just grill them till they turn golden brown and crispy. Once tasting it once, I’m pretty sure that this special dish would offer you such an unforgettable memory during your stay in Vietnam.