Vam Sat is an eco-tourism site that seemed to have been forgotten for a long time and have just been regenerated for the past few years. This site is located in the buffer zone of Can Gio reserved forest (Ly Nhon Commune), as known as the world biosphere reserve recognized by UNESCO in 2000. Managing and implementing protection contracting 1500 hectares of mangroves, the site also preserves thousands of birds, fruit bats, crocodiles, long-tailed monkeys in the area.
Since then, ditches have been built to reserve water for wildlife, and tortuous trails have also been created for patrolling in the forest. Consolidated with soil, these pathways are rubbed away over time, gouged by reptiles forming bulged and bumpy roads that common vehicles are unable to travel on. Nevertheless, as terrain biking has been greatly thriving, these paths are suitable for bikers (cyclists), who love conquering rugged terrain like jungles, swamps, deserts, cliffs, hills and mountains by zero-emission vehicles.
Vam Sat currently has two routes for terrain cycling. The first route was put into operation a few years ago. This is the forest path surrounding an islet where fruit bats have been preserved (these bats have turmeric-colored breast, nearly 1 meter in length across the wings, and only eat fruits, not mosquitos). Going all the way around 3 kilometers will lead back to the starting point, with narrow and wide sections. The length of the route is mostly a succession of mangrove trees with swamps inhabited by water birds. The interesting thing is that you will have to skillfully balance your bike when crossing bumpy mounds, or narrow sections that are wide enough to put down only one leg. For the rest part, you will feel refreshed when cycling upon the yellow leaves rustled in the light breeze, hearing the sound of fruit bats calling each other from afar, and the best part is that you can enjoy the fresh breezes blowing through the forest even though the outside temperature could be up to 35 celsius degrees. It take you more than 10 minutes by waterway from the center of Vam Sat eco-tourism area through Bat Swamp, and you can take your own bike (or you can rent a bicycle at the site).
The second route has just opened earlier this year. This is the only road around Ho Chi Minh City where thousands of wild birds are residing, just 800 meters away from the center of Vam Sat. From here, you can bike without crossing the river. Compared to the biking way in Bat Swamp islet, this path is not as “romantic”. Yet, the level of difficulty is higher. If the biking road in Bat Swamp is mainly in the forest, this road is mostly through ditches. The surface above is still covered with mangroves, the water below is a lagoon with all kinds of giant mullets, you can also hear the sound of the birds nearby calling each other. But there are stretches of ways that you have to go on foot if you are not a professional biker. They are bumpy bends less traveled by and stretches of ditches where local people are raising shrimps and crabs.
“Forest biking is one of the essential pastime of bikers. Many groups of bikers have come here from Ho Chi Minh City to enjoy the sport. Furthermore, associations and organizations have also taken advantage of the pristine features of the forest, organized many challenges and games for bikers to participate such as finding secret letters in the forest. This is not only a tourism destination, but also an ideal location for the youth to experience outdoor sports,” said Mr. Nguyen Vo Kim Khoi, Director of Vam Sat eco-tourism area – the pioneer in introducing terrain biking to the mangrove forest.
How to get there
In order to visit Vam Sat eco-tourism site, visitors can travel by road. From District 1, heading towards District 7, passing Nha Be District to Binh Khanh terminal. When reaching the other side of the terminal, visitors enter Can Gio District. From here, keep going for 10km until you reach Ly Nhon T-junction, then turn right following the direction board. Moving on for about 40km, you will hit Ly Nhon Commune. Following the direction board on the left, you will arrive at the pick-up point of Vam Sat eco-tourism site.