Tram Chim National Park – Travel guide & 3 highlights

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Tram Chim National Park is a submerged forest, home to many rare birds and located in Dong Thap Province in the Mekong Delta. A boat ride through this stunning area is the best way to spot rare birds, explore the mangrove maze and enjoy the colorful lotus fields.

About Tram Chim National Park

Unique landscape

Tram Chim National Park was established in 1999 and covers an area of 7.600 ha. stretching out over seven communes in Tam Nong District, Dong Thap province. What makes this place one of the best national parks in Vietnam, is the unique ecosystem, because every year up to seven months, this place is completely flooded. In June, the start of the rainy season in the Mekong Delta, the water level starts to rise. In the months from September to December, with a peak in October, the entire national park is submerged to a depth of 2 to 4 m.

Tram Chim National Park

In the 1980s, 53 kilometers of dikes and sluices were constructed, with the aim of controlling the high water for longer and reducing the drop in groundwater during the dry season. The national park is divided into five zones by means of different canals, whereby each individual zone can be managed separately for the water level.

Biodiversity

Tram Chim National Park is the fourth Ramsar site in Vietnam and the 2,000 the in the world. A Ramsar site is a wetland area designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, especially as a habitat for waterfowl (water birds). The other Ramsar sites in Vietnam are Xuan Thuy Natural Wetland Reserve close to Hanoi, Ba Be National Park in the north of Vietnam and Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake) Wetlands and Seasonal Flood Plains both in Cat Tien National Park.

Tram Chim National Park

In total there are more than 230 different species of birds from 49 families. This number even represents a quarter of the birds recorded in Vietnam and many of them are very rare and even in danger of extinction. Some of these rare bird species include the red-headed crane, piping plover, white-tailed bustard, gray pelican, white-winged duck and cormorant. The birds live in a wooded area of mangrove and more than 130 types of vegetation. Here you will find swamps, lotus fields, Melaleuca forest and grassland that are all interconnected.

What to do in Tram Chim National Park

1. Bird watching

bird spotting in Tram Chim National Park Vietnam

Tram Chim National Park is one of the best places for bird watching in Vietnam. It is not for nothing called the kingdom of birds in the Mekong Delta. As mentioned, there are over 230 species of birds here, many of which are rare and in danger of extinction. This number even makes up a quarter of the bird population in Vietnam. You can watch them the best in a boat or canoe trip, but there are also a few observation platforms and walking paths over the wetland where from you can spot birds.

2. Boat trip

boat trip in Tram Chim National Park

The best way to go bird watching and see the flooded forest if of course by boat. A boat tour takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour or longer. You can book a canoe or wooden boat with or without a guide to explore the maze of waterways. One moment you are in the middle of a lotus field and after the next turn you are exploring the mangrove forest.

3. Local activities

fishing in Tram Chim National Park

In addition to exploring the national park, you can also participate in activities that give you an insight into the local life here. For example, you can learn to fish here like a local, by using a casting net or bamboo fishing rod. There is also lots of wild rice that you can harvest, one of the local specialties.

Best time to visit Tram Chim National Park

To get to most out of your experience, it is recommended to visit Tram Chim National Park in the best season.

Wet season (flood season)

The best time to visit Tram Chim National Park is during the wet season, from July until December. During this time the forest is submerged and great to explore by canoe. The landscape is very green, flowers, including the pink lotuses, are blooming and in addition, many birds come here to breed.

Dry season

The dry season is from January until June and is the season to see the red-crowned cranes in Tram Chim National Park. Because unlike many birds in the area, the red-crowned cranes only feed of the ground, so in the flood season in Dong Thap Muoi, they have to look for food elsewhere. Therefore, red-crowned cranes can only be seen in the dry season, most easily from February to May every year.

How to get there

Tram Chim National Park is located almost 150 km from Ho Chi Minh City and 125 km from Can Tho, the biggest city in the Mekong. Both these cities can be reached with domestic flights.

Location: Khom 4, Tam Nong District, Dong Thap Province

From Ho Chi Minh City

  • Bus: There are direct buses from Ho Chi Minh City to Tram Chim Dong Thap tourist area with Hoang Minh and Tam Quoc Minh. The ticket prices ranging from 150k-200k.
  • Private car: The easiest way it take take a private car with driver. With this option, you can also choose to visit other sights in the area or easily continue your trip to another town.

From Can Tho

  • Private car: Private car is the easiest way to get to Tram Chim. Optionally you can also take the bus from Can Tho to Chau Doc or Long Xuyen and rent a car with driver or rent a motorbike for yourself to drive to the park.

Accommodation around the park

Cham Trim town, right at the entrance of the national park, has a few hotels where you can stay. But for the best experience it is recommended to stay right in the park itself in Tram Chim Homestay. There are bungalow style houses right on the water and the place is clean and tidy.

For a bit more option of accommodations, head to Cao Lanh City, Chau Doc or Long Xuyen.

Tips for visiting

What to bring

  • Unfortunately, the wetlands also attract mosquitoes, so be sure to bring mosquito repellent.
  • Bring some drinks and snacks for when you wander around the park for a long time. Of course, make sure that you throw your waste away in the bins, so that it does not end up in nature.
  • Wear neutral colored clothing if you don’t want to stand out too much taking pictures of the birds.

Best time of day for visiting

Early morning and late afternoon, around sunrise and sunset, the birds are most active. If you want to see hundreds of birds flying overhead in the sky, then those are the best times to spot birds.

Other things to do in the area

Tram Chim National Park is located quite remote in the Mekong Delta. If you want to combine it with other attractions in the area, you can best go to Long Xuyen (50 km) or Chau Doc (60 km), both located An Giang, one of the most beautiful provinces in the Mekong Delta. You will also find one of the better floating markets in the Mekong Delta in Long Xuyen.

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