Lying obediently in the dense cajuput forests in Cao Lanh District and separated from the resettlement area and the roaring traffic, Gao Giong boasts peace and tranquility in the extreme. The small path to the park runs between green rice fields dotted with houses and small gardens scattered along alluvial canals. All of the scenery embraces stillness and a deserted atmosphere.
The first image welcoming tourists is a ticket booth with a cottage roof and a girl in traditional southern costume called ao ba ba who will sell tickets for VND10,000. After buying tickets, tourists will be taken to another cottage house to enjoy grilled lotus seeds with hot tea and an introduction of the highlights of the park.
The excursion starts by scaling a tower to take a panoramic view over the park. Then there is a cruise on a wooden boat controlled by local ladies in traditional dress and conical hats to drift on the canals under the shade of the cajuputs. Meandering sampan cruises reveal the wild life, the sweet smell of the cajuput forest, the farmers harvesting from the honey bees in the tree tops and fishermen casting their nets.
For lunch, tourists can choose rustic dishes of indigenous specialties such as fried ro fish, fish hot pot and grilled loc fish with lotus leaves or boiled shellfish.
In the stillness of lunchtime, tourists can take fishing rods to relax at the lotus ponds where many fishes settle.
In the afternoon when the sun touches down for the night, tourists should stroll up to the bird yard to view sunset and watch the birds on their way back to their nests. The bird sanctuary covers 35 hectares with diversified species including egrets, wild ducks, herons, and especially, a rare sparrow listed in the Red Book.
The sounds of the birdsong and the sight of so many flying creatures perched on the cajuput trees are enthralling. At dawn and at sunset, the melodies of the birds, wild and sweet songs of nature, stir up the inherent stillness.
Drifting along the canals under the shade of the cajuput trees, contemplating hundreds of birds singing happy songs and getting lost in a poetic and deserted space, excursionists will take home unforgettable memories of the Mekong Delta, home of interlacing canals, rivers, orchards and endless green rice fields as well as floating markets.
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