Within the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve on the Saigon River and not far from the ocean, Vam Sat’s mangrove ecosystems welcome bats, crabs, and a spectacular array of birdlife, including storks, kingfishers, and pelicans. A lookout tower offers views of the area, while a small crocodile farm is popular with locals.
A boat trip down the Saigon River is an atmospheric way to reach Vam Sat, as skyscrapers and urban sprawl slowly give way to fields and then to low-lying mangrove swamps. Adventurous travelers can also join a bike tour to pedal here 1-way from Ho Chi Minh City (powered transfers back are essential). You can also ride a sampan, admire the flying foxes in Bat Swamp (Dam Doi), try fishing for crabs, or watch the spectacular bird life.
Things to know before you go
- Hides, an observation tower, a birds nest exhibit, and a dedicated 250-acre (100-hectare) bird sanctuary make Vam Sat a great choice for bird-watchers.
- Whether or not you choose to fish for crabs, don’t miss a delicious mud crab lunch.
- Vam Sat is not wheelchair accessible and parents will want to opt for slings or back carriers over strollers.
How to get there
About 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Vam Sat is part of the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve. The easiest way to reach it from Ho Chi Minh City is by joining a tour; boats from Can Gio start from the Dan Xay Bridge.
When to get there
Bird-watchers should plan to visit Vam Sat during the northern hemisphere winter (roughly December–March), when migrating birds escape the cold. Whatever your reason for visiting, avoid weekends and the Tet New Year holiday for a quieter experience.
Vietnam for Bird-Watchers
With three very different climates in North, Central, and South Vietnam, Vietnam is a great choice for bird-watchers. In the south, besides Vam Sat, try Cat Tien National Park, home to over 300 species including rare partridges and pheasants; in the north, try Cuc Phuong National Park, with woodpeckers, hornbills, and more; in the central highlands, Kon Ka Kinh National Park makes a great off-the-path choice.
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- Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon)
- Ho Chi Minh City Cruise Ports
- Bitexco Financial Tower
- Saigon Skydeck
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Pham Ngu Lao Street
- Thien Hau Temple (Chua Ba Thien Hau)
- Quan Am Pagoda (Chua Quan Am)
- Ben Thanh Market (Cho Ben Thanh)
- Cholon (Saigon Chinatown)
- Binh Tay Market (Cho Binh Tay)
- Dong Khoi Street (Duong Dong Khoi)
- Saigon Opera House (Opéra de Saïgon)
- Tao Dan Park
- Vietnam Cookery Center
- Cruising the Mekong Delta
- Ho Chi Minh City Water Puppets
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