A Detailed Guide To Can Gio Mangrove Forest Vietnam

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Are you looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Saigon? Head to Can Gio Mangrove Forest – one of the most beautiful forests in Southeast Asia!

We had a fantastic day exploring this beautiful place.  

This guide covers the following:

  1. The history
  2. The importance of Can Gio mangrove forest
  3. The best time to visit
  4. Getting from Saigon to Can Gio
  5. Best things to do
  6. Can Gio tour review, how to book and more

Saigon river Vietnam boat

 

The history of Can Gio forest

First, let’s learn a bit about the history of this beautiful place!

Before the Vietnam war, Can Gio forest had a vibrant ecosystem, with many mangrove trees. 

However, during the war, bombs and toxic chemicals destroyed the forest. The area became barren and lifeless. 

In 1979, Ho Chi Minh City launched a campaign to replant and restore the Can Gio mangrove ecosystem. 

On January 21, 2000, Can Gio mangrove forest was recognized by UNESCO as Vietnam’s first biosphere reserve.

Nowadays, Can Gio mangrove forest covers more than 310 square km and is becoming a popular tourist destination. 

Can Gio Vietnam boat tour

 

The importance of Can Gio forest

The forest has become a “green lung” of Ho Chi Minh City, purifying the air and wastewater from the industrial cities in the upper areas of the Dong Nai River.

Over roles include:

  • Preventing flooding
  • Providing food and habitats for many animals
  • Providing many medicinal plants

Can Gio Mangrove Forest Vietnam

 

Best time to visit Can Gio Forest

The rainy season in Vietnam is usually between July and August.

During these times, it usually rains 1-2 hours per day. Check the weather report so you can plan your venture accordingly. 

Also, avoid going when a storm is predicted!

Try not to visit during major national holidays, such as Tet Holiday, because the area may be too crowded.

Can Gio Mangrove Forest Vietnam

 

How to get from Saigon to Can Gio, Vietnam

Can Gio is located about 50 km from Ho Chi Minh City.

Saigon to Can Gio by motorbike or car

Because Can Gio is not far from Saigon, you can get there by motorbike or car.

From the center of Saigon, follow the direction of Tan Thuan bridge.

Then, you can turn into Nguyen Van Linh street, then Huynh Tan Phat street, and after that travel towards the direction of Binh Khanh port.

After crossing the river by ferry, continue to Vam Sat natural reserve. Along the way, you can visit monkey island. 

A few tips:

  • The road to Can Gio has few gas stations, so don’t forget to fill your gas tank before you leave!
  • The condition of some of the roads is not good. Check your vehicle carefully before going and drive slowly
  • This road usually has many traffic police. Remember your papers and license. 

Saigon to Can Gio by bus

You can also travel by bus to Can Gio. 

From Ben Thanh market, you can take bus number 20 toward Nha Be. Get off at Binh Khanh ferry then cross the river and catch bus number 90 to Can Gio.

Speedboat Tour

We decided to try the speedboat tour offered by Les Rives. Learn more about this below.

Les Rives boat tour Saigon Vietnam

 

Best things to do in Can Gio

Visit the local market

On the way to the Can Gio nature reserve, we stopped at a local market. 

Our tour guide showed us the different stands and explained the products on offer.

The sellers were really friendly and welcoming. Everybody was smiling!

Vietnam market

 

Paddle through the mangrove forest 

We then visited Vam Sat Mangrove Forest, a sustainable ecosystem that is carefully managed. 

Vam Sat Ecotourism Area covers an area of more than 18 square km, with over 140 different rare plant species. 

Dense mangrove forests enclose this area, once used as hide-outs for soldiers during the war. 

Vam Sat serves as a habitat for many animals, such as pythons, crocodiles, monkeys, and birds of prey. 

 

See the bats

Bat Park is one of the most interesting places for visitors wanting to see these unusual animals. 

We took a rowing boat and were paddled along the narrow river between the mangroves.

Can Gio Mangrove Forest Vietnam boat tour

The bats concentrate in a small lagoon. 

Can Gio Vietnam Mangrove Forest

We could see the bats in groups, sleeping high up in the trees.

Some of them were huge! These were the fruit bats. We had to keep quiet, so as to not disturb them.

Thanks to this reserve, the bats have been reproducing and their population has increased significantly over the last 20 years.

 

View Can Gio forest

After saying goodbye to Bat Forest, we continued our journey to the center of Vam Sat.

Coming to the Vam Sat Center, Tang Bong Tower appeared before us.

About Tang Bong Tower

Tang Bong Tower is 26 meters high and shaped like a bow facing the sky. The tower is considered to be the central point of the Vam Sat eco-tourism area.

You are allowed to go up to the observation deck. 

At the top, we stood in awe of the breath-taking surrounding scenery and could see the nearby watchtower at Vam Sat Bird Sanctuary. 

In addition to the purpose of observing and protecting the forests, the tower was built to commemorate the thousands of soldiers who fought and died in the area.

Can Gio Mangrove Forest Vietnam

 

Feed the monkeys

Vam Sat Ecotourism Area is also home to long-tailed monkeys!

We all jumped on a little electric tour bus and journeyed deeper into the forest. 

As we continued, monkeys started appearing and chasing our bus. We stopped to feed them.

Can Gio Vietnam Monkey island

 

The monkeys here are quite brave but well-behaved. Nothing was stolen and they were very cute and friendly!

monkey island Can Gio Vietnam

 

Feed the crocodiles

At the crocodile farm, our tour guide explained the process of raising and hatching crocodile eggs. 

Crocodiles here are raised in a unique and semi-natural way. Our guide explained this fascinating process and how it dramatically increases the likelihood of successful hatchings. 

We then proceeded to board a special protective boat and venture out into the crocodile swamp.

As we floated in, the crocodiles started to lift their eyes out of the water. They swarmed around the boat, waiting to be fed.

We were each given “fishing” sticks, with long strings and bait attached.

We hung our sticks out over the protective fence of the boat and watched as the crocodiles came closer. 

They jumped out of the water and loudly snapped at the bait. A slightly scary but thrilling experience!

 

Enjoy the seafood

The food here is especially appealing and very delicious, with many specialties. The shrimp and fish were straight from farm-to-table. 

 

Can Gio Tour Review

We took the Les Rives Speedboat Can Gio tour. Was it worth it? We think so.

The tour included speedboat travel between each of the destinations listed above. 

Our tour guide was very informative. We learned a lot from him about this fascinating area. 

We were also given a very satisfying lunch, made using local ingredients. 

seafood
Our delicious lunch provided by our tour

Even though you can travel on your own and explore Can Gio at your own pace, it’s very difficult to move between the areas without a boat and a tour guide. 

The tour included:

  • Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • Effortless fast travel between all attractions
  • A light breakfast including coffee and sandwiches
  • A satisfying lunch made using local ingredients
  • Unlimited refreshments and local fruit during
  • Clear-English-speaking and very informative guide
  • Tickets for each attraction included in price

 

How to book a Can Gio tour

The booking process is very easy. You can select your preferred travel day, fill in your information and pay. You’ll then receive confirmation.

You can book the tour easily here

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