Ca Mau was once part of the Kingdom of Funan, then the Khmer Empire, and was only ceded back to Vietnamese control in 1757. On the Dai Dong River at the Phung Hiep Canal, some 50 km (31 miles) from the South China Sea, it is the capital of Vietnam's southernmost province. Not many tourists make it this far down into the Mekong Delta, and this shows in the lack of foreigner-friendly infrastructure and English-language skills. The lure of sprawling Ca Mau is not the city itself, but the birdlife within the nearby cajeput (paperbark) and mangrove forests, and access to Vietnam's southernmost point within the Mui Ca Mau National Park.
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