U Minh Thuong National Park Wildlife guide – update 2023
U Minh Thuong National Park is a protected area located in the southernmost province of Vietnam, Kien Giang. The park covers an area of approximately 80,000 hectares and is known for its vast peat swamp forests, which are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The name U Minh Thuong means “Upper U Minh”, distinguishing it from the neighboring U Minh Ha National Park, which is known as “Lower U Minh”. The park is an important ecological site, and it plays a crucial role in conserving biodiversity and protecting the natural environment of the Mekong Delta.
Fact: One interesting fact about U Minh Thuong National Park is that it is home to the endangered fishing cat, which is a small wild cat that is specialized in hunting fish and has webbed feet for swimming. This species is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and degradation of wetland ecosystems. U Minh Thuong provides an important refuge for this and many other threatened species.
U Minh Thuong is a must-visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are 9 highlights to look forward to:
Here are 9 highlights of U Minh Thuong National Park:
- Melaleuca forest: U Minh Thuong National Park is known for its extensive Melaleuca forest, which covers over 8,000 hectares.
- Boat tours: Visitors can take boat tours through the park’s canals, providing a unique opportunity to observe wildlife and explore the park’s waterways.
- Birdwatching: The park is home to over 200 bird species, making it a great destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.
- Crocodile Lake: The park’s Crocodile Lake is a popular attraction, home to a variety of wildlife including turtles, fish, and, of course, crocodiles.
- Hiking: The park has several hiking trails, allowing visitors to explore the park’s diverse ecosystems and observe wildlife up close.
- Fishing: Fishing is allowed in certain areas of the park, providing a chance to catch a variety of fish species.
- Bat cave: The park is also home to a bat cave, where visitors can observe thousands of bats flying out at dusk.
- Butterfly garden: The park’s butterfly garden is a must-visit attraction, where visitors can observe dozens of different butterfly species up close.
- Cultural experiences: Visitors can also learn about the local culture and way of life by visiting nearby villages and engaging with local residents.
Visit U Minh Thuong National Park for wildlife.
U Minh Thuong National Park is a nature lover’s paradise, offering a glimpse into the diverse wildlife and ecosystems of the Mekong Delta region. The park is home to a variety of bird species, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as numerous plant species.
Visitors to U Minh Thuong National Park can enjoy a range of activities, including trekking through the forest, bird watching, and exploring the park’s network of canals and waterways by boat. Along the way, they may encounter wildlife such as gibbons, macaques, otters, and civets.
Whether you are an avid birdwatcher or simply enjoy immersing yourself in nature, a visit to U Minh Thuong National Park is an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and come explore the natural wonders of this enchanting park
Visit U Minh Thuong National Park
U Minh Thuong National Park, located in the southern province of Kien Giang, is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and those who want to immerse themselves in the pristine beauty of the Mekong Delta region. The park covers an area of over 8,000 hectares and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Visitors can explore the park’s lush mangrove forests, wetlands, and canals on foot or by boat, and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as bird-watching, fishing, and camping. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventure in the great outdoors, U Minh Thuong National Park is a perfect destination for all.
There is no ATM here so its better that take cash with you
Go with 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 Thuong national park. You will be surprised what you would have walked past without noticing had you been visiting on your own!
Visit on weekdays
U Minh Thuong national park is Vietnam’s most popular national park. 80% of the visitors in U Minh Thuong are Vietnamese. It is great to see that locals are enjoying their own nature parks, which will only make them more aware of what still survives there. And hopefully helps in the protection of these wonderful places. But you might be looking for a place to get away from your busy daily life.
Try to avoid weekends and national holidays. If your planning only allows a visit on the weekend, it is definitely still worth visiting. But you will have to share the roads and the main attractions like the trails with many locals.
Like in other parks around the world with high visitor numbers, wildlife has learned that people are not to be feared. That’s why the popular parks often offer better wildlife observation opportunities than nature reserves with very low visitor numbers and therefore often bigger problems with poaching. The good news is that generally speaking, Vietnamese do not really like walking. Even less when it is in a jungle. So, even on busy weekends, you might still have the forest to yourself.
Do NOT feed the animals
Most people understand you should not feed the wildlife. In U Minh Thuong, the wildlife is quite shy but if you find some young macaque 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 a Outdoor clothings
Most of the time in U Minh Thuong 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…
Park restaurants close early?
Where you eat will largely depend upon where you stay as you’re likely to eat most of your meals dinner at least at your hotel or guesthouse. If you are out and about in the national park, you can eat at one of the restaurants at HQ. The Restaurant is located next to the information center and is a better option than Dipterocarpus doesn’t ask in terms of food and surroundings.
The menu consists of reasonably priced Vietnamese rice, noodle, meat, and fish dishes – expect to pay around 150,000 VND for a dinner of stir-fried chicken, rice, and a vegetable side with a drink, less if you just want noodles or a stir-fried rice.
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.
Traveling to U Minh Thuong 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 Thuong National Park you can choose to stay.
What is there to see?
U Minh Thuong National Park is known for its unique and diverse ecosystems, and visitors can expect to see a variety of flora and fauna. Some of the highlights include:
- Melaleuca forest: U Minh Thuong is home to the largest remaining area of Melaleuca forest in Vietnam, a type of wetland forest with distinctive paperbark trees.
- Birdwatching: The park is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with over 180 species of birds recorded, including the rare and endangered spotted-billed pelican.
- Fishing villages: The park is also home to several fishing villages where visitors can learn about the traditional way of life and sample fresh seafood.
- Mangrove forest: Visitors can take a boat tour through the park’s mangrove forests and observe the diverse ecosystem, including several species of crabs and mudskippers.
- Primate species: The park is home to several species of primates, including the rare silvered langur.
- Biodiversity: U Minh Thuong has an incredibly high level of biodiversity, with over 243 species of plants and 33 species of mammals recorded.
- Canals and waterways: Visitors can explore the park’s intricate system of canals and waterways, which provide important habitat for aquatic plants and animals.
- Traditional crafts: The park is home to several villages that specialize in traditional crafts, such as weaving and pottery.
- Night safari: Visitors can take a guided night safari to observe nocturnal animals, including owls, civets, and flying squirrels.
Apart from wildlife watching, there are several other activities that visitors can enjoy in U Minh Thuong National Park. One popular activity is hiking through the park’s lush forests and wetlands. Visitors can explore the park’s trails and take in the stunning views of the surrounding nature. Another activity is boat rides through the park’s rivers and canals, allowing visitors to observe the park’s diverse flora and fauna from a unique perspective. Additionally, the park offers opportunities for fishing, bird watching, and camping. Visitors can also learn about the local culture by visiting nearby villages and experiencing the traditional lifestyle of the people who live in the area.
How to get to U Minh Thuong National Park?
U Minh Thuong National Park is located in the southern region of Vietnam, about 340 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. The nearest airport to the park is Can Tho International Airport, which is about 85 kilometers away. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to the park. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Ca Mau, which is about 60 kilometers away from the park. Once you reach Ca Mau, you can take a taxi or a motorbike taxi to the park. It’s recommended to book a tour or arrange transportation in advance to avoid any inconvenience.
Weather & Climate in U Minh Thuong National Park
U Minh Thuong National Park is located in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, which experiences a tropical climate. The park has two distinct seasons: a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April.
During the rainy season, the park is lush and green with an abundance of water, making it an ideal time for birdwatching and wildlife viewing. However, the trails and roads can become muddy and difficult to navigate.
The dry season, on the other hand, is a good time to visit for those who prefer cooler temperatures and drier conditions. This is also the best time for trekking and exploring the park’s many trails.
Overall, the park has a warm and humid climate year-round, with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 90°F) and high humidity levels. Visitors are advised to bring light and breathable clothing, sunscreen, and insect repellent to protect against the tropical weather