U Minh Ha National Park Wildlife guide – update 2023

U Minh Ha National Park is a protected area located in the southernmost part of Vietnam, in the province of Ca Mau. The park covers an area of approximately 82,860 hectares and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species.

The park is characterized by its unique wetland ecosystem, which is dominated by mangrove forests, swamps, and canals. The park also contains a number of freshwater and saltwater lakes, which provide a habitat for a variety of aquatic species, including fish, shrimp, and crabs.

The park is an important breeding ground for many species of birds, including the black-crowned night heron, the little egret, and the glossy ibis. It is also home to a number of mammals, such as the Asian small-clawed otter, the fishing cat, and the silvered langur.

Visitors to U Minh Ha National Park can explore the park’s diverse landscape by taking a boat ride along its canals or by hiking along its many trails. The park is also home to a number of historical and cultural sites, including ancient Khmer temples and the ruins of an old military outpost.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, U Minh Ha National Park plays an important role in regulating water flow and preventing flooding in the Mekong Delta region. The park is considered a vital ecosystem service provider for the local community and the wider region

Find out about: Vietnam Birding Tours & National Park Tour

Fact: One interesting fact about U Minh Ha National Park is that it is one of the last remaining areas in Vietnam where you can find the U Minh Ha forest, which is a type of Melaleuca forest. This forest is characterized by its dense growth of Melaleuca trees, which are also known as paperbark trees due to their peeling bark.

U Minh Ha National Park is a must-visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are 9 highlights to look forward to:

  1. Unique wetland ecosystem: The national park is home to a unique wetland ecosystem, dominated by mangrove forests, swamps, and canals. Visitors can explore this diverse landscape by taking a boat ride or hiking along its trails.
  2. U Minh Ha forest: As mentioned earlier, U Minh Ha forest is one of the last remaining areas in Vietnam where you can find this type of Melaleuca forest, which is an important habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.
  3. Bird watching: The national park is an important breeding ground for many species of birds, including the black-crowned night heron, the little egret, and the glossy ibis. Visitors can go bird watching and spot these beautiful creatures.
  4. Wildlife watching: The park is also home to a number of mammals, such as the Asian small-clawed otter, the fishing cat, and the silvered langur. Visitors can go on a wildlife watching tour to spot these rare and endangered species.
  5. Historical and cultural sites: The park is home to a number of historical and cultural sites, including ancient Khmer temples and the ruins of an old military outpost.
  6. Floating market: Visitors can visit the floating market in the park, which is a bustling hub of activity where locals sell their goods from boats.
  7. Local cuisine: The park is known for its delicious local cuisine, which includes seafood, rice dishes, and noodle soups. Visitors can try these dishes at the park’s restaurants and food stalls.
  8. Ecological importance: U Minh Ha National Park plays an important role in regulating water flow and preventing flooding in the Mekong Delta region. It is considered a vital ecosystem service provider for the local community and the wider region.
  9. Sustainability practices: The park has implemented sustainable practices such as eco-friendly tours, waste reduction programs, and community involvement initiatives to protect its unique ecosystem and promote sustainable tourism
U Minh Ha National Park
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Visit U Minh Ha National Park for wildlife.

If you’re visiting U Minh Ha National Park for wildlife, there are several things you can do to maximize your chances of seeing rare and endangered species:

  1. Join a wildlife watching tour: The park offers guided tours led by experienced guides who know the best spots to see wildlife. They can help you spot animals that might be hard to find on your own and share their knowledge about the park’s ecosystem.
  2. Go on a boat ride: Taking a boat ride along the park’s canals is a great way to see aquatic animals like fish, shrimp, and crab. You may also spot birds and mammals from the water.
  3. Visit during the dry season: The dry season, which runs from December to May, is the best time to see wildlife in the park. Animals tend to congregate around water sources during this time, making them easier to spot.
  4. Be patient and quiet: Wildlife can be easily frightened, so it’s important to be patient and quiet when looking for them. Move slowly and avoid making loud noises or sudden movements.
  5. Bring binoculars: Binoculars can help you get a closer look at animals from a safe distance. Make sure to pack a good pair before you head to the park.

Remember to always respect the animals and their habitats while visiting the park. Don’t feed or disturb them, and follow the park’s rules and regulations to help protect its unique ecosystem

Tips

Visit U Minh Ha National Park

If you’re planning to visit U Minh Ha National Park, here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:

  1. Best time to visit: The best time to visit the park is during the dry season, which runs from December to May. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry, and wildlife is easier to spot.
  2. Getting there: U Minh Ha National Park is located in the southernmost part of Vietnam, in the province of Ca Mau. The nearest airport is Ca Mau Airport, which is about 70 kilometers away. You can hire a taxi or take a bus from the airport to the park.
  3. Entrance fee: There is an entrance fee to the park, which varies depending on your nationality. Make sure to bring cash with you, as credit cards may not be accepted.
  4. Activities: There are several activities you can do in the park, including boat rides, hiking, bird watching, wildlife watching, and visiting historical and cultural sites. Make sure to plan ahead and book any tours or activities you’re interested in before you arrive.
  5. Accommodation: There are several options for accommodation in and around the park, including hotels, guesthouses, and homestays. Make sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak season.
  6. What to bring: Make sure to pack comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for outdoor activities, insect repellent, sunscreen, a hat, and a raincoat in case of rain. If you’re planning on wildlife watching, bring binoculars and a camera.

Remember to follow the park’s rules and regulations, and respect the animals and their habitats while visiting. Enjoy your trip to U Minh Ha National Park!

Go with a local guide

We don’t tell you this to sell more tours, but simply because it’s the best way to see more wildlife.

And not to get lost…

The local guides know the park from the inside out and know where the animals often forage. More importantly, the guides have well-trained eyes that will help you to discover everything from the smallest to the largest wonders of U Minh Ha national park. You will be surprised what you would have walked past without noticing had you been visiting on your own!

Visit on weekdays

Visiting U Minh Ha National Park on weekdays can have some advantages over visiting on weekends, especially if you’re looking to avoid crowds and enjoy a quieter, more peaceful experience. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re planning to visit the park on a weekday:

  1. Less crowded: Weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends, so you may have the park all to yourself or encounter fewer people on the trails and during activities.
  2. More peaceful: With fewer people around, you’ll be able to enjoy the park’s natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere without distractions or noise.
  3. Easier to book activities: Booking tours or activities can be easier on weekdays as there are typically fewer people competing for the same spots. This can give you more flexibility and options for scheduling your activities.
  4. Some facilities may be closed: On weekdays, some facilities such as restaurants, gift shops, or information centers may have reduced hours or may be closed altogether. Plan ahead and bring snacks and water if necessary.
  5. Transportation: If you’re relying on public transportation to get to the park, be aware that schedules and frequencies may differ on weekdays compared to weekends. Check ahead of time and plan accordingly.

Plan a trip for U Minh Ha

Do NOT feed the animals

Most people understand you should not feed the wildlife. In U Minh Ha, the wildlife is quite shy but if you find some young macaques or mammals “DON’T FEED THEM”

Feeding wild animals can significantly change their behavior. Feeding or leaving unattended food to large animals, such as bears, can lead them to aggressively seek out food from people, sometimes resulting in injury. Feeding can also alter animal behavior so that animals routinely travel in larger groups, which can make disease transmission between animals more likely.

Bring Outdoor clothing

Most of the time in U Minh Ha quite humid and hot, you should prepare suitable clothing and suncream

Bring a compass

This really only applies if you are visiting without a guide. Even though there has been some improvement on the more popular trails, still some trails in there are not well-marked. And besides that, there are no good trail maps available. Often (wildlife) trails branch off the original tourist trails and might cause confusion.

All people we have met who thought they had a good sense of direction, get totally disoriented in these jungles. It is easy when following e.g., a river. But once you get into the continuous forest it is really hard. Even the most basic map can help you if you bring a compass. Study the map before you start the trek.

If you do get lost, and know there is a road to the east that cuts through the entire park, a compass will help you find it. Without it, you are completely lost and will rely mostly on luck!

A compass and some basic study of the area/map would have solved this situation. Phone signal has improved a bit in recent years. But still, once you are deeper in the jungle, you won’t be able to call for help. With an analog compass, you do not rely on battery life.

The souvenir shop in the park at the visitor center might have cheap compasses in stock. But to be sure, better bring one from home or buy it before you enter the park, and test if it indeed points in the right direction…

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Park restaurants close early?

While there are some restaurants and food stalls within the park, they may close early, especially during weekdays when there are fewer visitors.

It’s a good idea to plan ahead and bring your own food and drinks, especially if you’re visiting the park for a full day or multiple days. You can also consider staying at a nearby hotel or homestay that offers meals or has a kitchenette, so you can prepare your own food.

If you do plan to eat at one of the restaurants within the park, make sure to check their opening hours ahead of time, and plan accordingly. It’s also a good idea to bring some snacks or energy bars in case the restaurants are closed or don’t have suitable options for you.

Buy leech socks and insect repellent

On our tours, we provide leech socks when necessary, but if you’re visiting the park on your own and plan on trekking in the jungle, especially in the months of Jun to October, buy a pair of leech socks and insect repellent in the souvenir shop in the park.

And wear long pants that you can tuck into these leech socks. You will probably regret wearing shorts.It sounds more scary than it is, leeches are small worm-like creatures of 1 to 3 cm long. They don’t transmit diseases. Though there have been some unusual cases of hookworm entering the bite site.

This is not scary either and definitely not common. But if you start to notice a strong itch a couple days after and see a red trail meandering just below your skin starting from the leech bite site, then it is wise to either take deworm medication or freeze it with nitrogen ice or the freeze spray used for sports injuries.

The leech bite does not hurt, usually, you don’t feel anything at all. The only ‘problem’ with leeches is that if they attach long enough, more than 30 seconds or so, they will inject anticoagulant. When you remove them afterward, they will keep bleeding for quite a while. So, getting blood stains on your clothing is the only real trouble.

For some people, just the idea of being ‘attacked’ by leeches is the biggest issue Lol.

Accommodations

Traveling to U Minh Ha you will not have to worry about the accommodation to stay overnight. There are many options for you to choose from, from the homestay to the resort. Below are some options for accommodation in U Minh Ha National Park you can choose to stay.

What is there to see?

U Minh Ha National Park is a diverse and unique ecosystem that offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors to see and experience. Here are some of the top things to see and do in the park:

  1. Wildlife viewing: The park is home to a variety of rare and endangered species, including the white-bellied and masked finfoot birds, the otter civet, and the fishing cat. Visitors can take a boat ride or hike along the trails to spot these and other wildlife species.
  2. Mangrove forests: U Minh Ha National Park is known for its extensive mangrove forests, which are an important part of the park’s ecosystem. Visitors can take a boat ride or hike along the trails to explore the mangroves and see the unique plant and animal species that live there.
  3. Birdwatching: The park is a popular destination for birdwatchers, with over 190 bird species recorded in the area. Visitors can spot a variety of water birds, including egrets, herons, storks, and cranes, as well as rare species such as the black-faced spoonbill.
  4. Historical and cultural sites: U Minh Ha National Park has a rich history and culture, and visitors can explore a number of historical and cultural sites within the park. These include the Hang Pagoda, the Nguyen Sinh Sac Memorial Site, and the Minh Su War Remnants Area.
  5. Boat rides: Visitors can take a boat ride along the canals and waterways of the park to explore the mangroves, spot wildlife, and see the unique landscape from a different perspective.
  6. Hiking: The park has several hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the mangroves and forested areas of the park. The trails range in difficulty and length, so there’s something for everyone.
  7. Fishing: Fishing is a popular activity in the park, with several species of fish found in the canals and waterways. Visitors can rent a fishing rod and try their luck at catching their own dinner.
  8. Photography: With its diverse and unique ecosystem, U Minh Ha National Park is a photographer’s paradise. Visitors can capture stunning photos of the mangroves, wildlife, and landscape.
  9. Local culture and cuisine: Visitors can also experience the local culture and cuisine of the area, with several homestays and restaurants offering traditional meals and cultural activities
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Other activities

U Minh Ha National Park is a beautiful and unique destination in Vietnam that offers visitors a range of activities to enjoy. Apart from exploring the mangrove forest, there are several other activities that you can engage in when visiting the park. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Visit the Crocodile Conservation Area: This area is located within the park and is home to many different species of crocodiles. Visitors can learn about these amazing creatures and observe them up close.
  2. Take a boat tour: One of the best ways to explore the park is by boat. Visitors can take a tour of the mangrove forest and observe the local wildlife.
  3. Bird watching: U Minh Ha National Park is home to over 180 species of birds. Bird watching is a popular activity in the park, and visitors can see a variety of different species.
  4. Fishing: Fishing is allowed in certain parts of the park. Visitors can try their hand at catching some of the local fish species.
  5. Cycling: Cycling is a popular activity in the park. Visitors can rent bicycles and explore the park’s many trails.
  6. Camping: Visitors can camp in the park and experience the beauty of the forest at night. Camping facilities are available in certain areas of the park.
  7. Visit the Khmer Pagoda: The Khmer Pagoda is located within the park and is a popular destination for visitors. The pagoda is home to many beautiful statues and is an important religious site.

How to get to U Minh Ha?

U Minh Ha National Park is located in Ca Mau Province, in the southernmost part of Vietnam. Here are some ways to get to the park:

  1. By car or motorbike: You can rent a car or motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City and drive to U Minh Ha National Park. The journey takes approximately 7-8 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
  2. By bus: There are several bus companies that operate daily buses from Ho Chi Minh City to Ca Mau. From Ca Mau, you can take a taxi or motorbike taxi to U Minh Ha National Park.
  3. By plane: The nearest airport to U Minh Ha National Park is Ca Mau Airport. There are daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Ca Mau. From Ca Mau Airport, you can take a taxi or motorbike taxi to U Minh Ha National Park.
  4. By private transfer: You can also arrange for a private transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to U Minh Ha National Park. Many tour operators and travel agencies offer this service.

It’s worth noting that U Minh Ha National Park is quite remote, and transportation options can be limited. It’s always a good idea to plan your journey in advance and confirm transportation arrangements with your hotel or tour operator before you arrive.

Weather & Climate in U Minh Ha

U Minh Ha National Park has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

The dry season runs from December to April, and during this time, the park experiences low humidity and warm temperatures, with an average temperature of around 26-28°C (79-82°F). This is also the peak tourist season, as the weather is generally pleasant and rainfall is minimal.

The rainy season runs from May to November, and during this time, the park experiences high humidity and heavy rainfall, particularly from June to August. Temperatures during the rainy season range from 24-27°C (75-81°F). While the rain can make some activities more challenging, the park is at its most lush and vibrant during this time, and the wetlands are full of wildlife.

It’s worth noting that U Minh Ha National Park is located in the Mekong Delta, which is prone to flooding during the rainy season. Visitors should check weather forecasts and travel advisories before planning a visit during this time.

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