Sao Mai Group Determined to Awaken Tra Su Water Paradise

11:01:56 AM | 12/24/2018

On each trip to the sacred Bay Nui region, Tra Su Melaleuca Forest in An Giang province is a must-visit destination. A lot of fine words are used to describe the beauty and tranquillity of a forest called the “water paradise.” But not until Sao Mai Group embarked on its project here was the potential of this unique forest awakened.

Rich vegetation
The water surface of Tra Su Forest is covered by various kinds of water hyacinth, particularly duckweed. In the flood season, duckweeds grow very fast to form a smoothly velvety carpet that thickly covers the water surface to make a very charming scene.

Mr Pham Tuan, Head of Tra Su Melaleuca Forest Management Unit, said Tra Su Forest was formerly a wild land. In 1983, the local government piloted growing Australian Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel) on an area of ​​about 5,000 ha stretching from Tinh Bien district to Tri Ton district. In 2005, Tra Su was recognised as one of Vietnam's special-use forests and was delimited 845 ha for strict protection by closed embankments.

According to research, Tra Su Melaleuca Forest is home to about 140 species of flora, divided into four populations. Melaleuca accounts for 85 per cent of the acreage, together with 25 shrub species, 10 climber species, 70 grass species and 13 aquatic species. The Tra Su fauna is very rich, with 70 bird species belonging to 13 orders and 31 families, with two species - painted stork and Oriental darter - listed in the Red Book of Vietnam. In addition, Tra Su is home to 11 animal species belonging to 4 orders and 6 families. Particularly, there are 25 species of amphibians belonging to 2 orders and 10 families. The submerged forest is inhabited by 140 fish species, with 10 species seen throughout the year and 13 species only seen in the flood season.

“Tra Su is the first place to catch upstream flooding and it converges unique features of other submerged forests. In the flood season, water is replaced with new water that carries alluvium. Aquatics, animals and plants flow into the forest.” Mr Pham Tuan affirmed that the value and purpose of the Tra Su special-use forest is kept intact from the very beginning.

As melaleucas blossom around the year, the Tra Su Melaleuca Forest Management Board keeps bees for honey. “Keeping bees in the forest is very useful. It feeds bees and sustainably develops the forest. A perforated honeycomb has 3,600 holes and holds 250 ml of honey in the dry season and 500 ml in the floating season,” said Tri Thanh Phong, a staff at Tra Su Melaleuca Forest Management Board.

Unlocking potential
The primordial Tra Su evokes a gentle, pure feeling. This is a hideaway during weekends without smoke, pollution or noise from urban life to explore the romantic nature that all want to experience. Lotus and water lilies blossom in all four seasons along watershed currents. On the dyke banks lie eucalyptus-shaded roads and hundreds of wild orchid baskets growing on acacia. The unspoilt beauty of the “bird sanctuary” with the fresh, romantic atmosphere has built up the name of Tra Su Melaleuca Forest.

It will be even more interesting when Tra Su Melaleuca Forest is also a “rustic but extremely attractive food paradise”. Tasting totally natural forest specialties like wild fish, sesbania, water lilies, ludwigia repens and wild vegetables is an unforgettable experience.

In early August 2018, the tourism potential of Tra Su Melaleuca Forest entered a new chapter when the An Giang Provincial People’s Committee handed 159 ha of forests to An Giang Tourism Joint Stock Company, a member of Sao Mai Group, to develop tourism. Taking over the special-use forest, Sao Mai Group does not change local waterway travelling forms for forest discovery. Besides, the group urgently worked out a master plan for original conservation of Tra Su Melaleuca Forest. In the buffer zone, the firm boosted investment in service chains to provide best services for visitors such as restaurant, resort and amusement park. A colourful and vibrant space is opened in Tra Su Melaleuca Forest.

Sao Mai is determined to fully unlock the potential resources of Tra Su special forest. All is like wearing a new tender, gentle but lovely, elegant cloak for Tra Su Melaleuca Forest. Through the hand of Sao Mai Group, the landscape value is not only nurtured for sustainable development but Tra Su Melaleuca Forest is also considered a mountainous floodplain biosphere that is very attractive to tourists far and wide. Sao Mai Group promises to bring the image of Tra Su Melaleuca Forest to all five continents in the future.

My Hanh