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Mekong Delta tourist attractions
Mekong Delta tourist attractions
18/04/2017 - 347 view
Touring the orchards, paddy fields and swamplands of the Mekong Delta, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into the pages of geography textbook. A comma-shaped flatland stretching from Ho Chi Minh’s city limits southwest to the Gulf of Thailand, the delta is Vietnam’s rice bowl, an agricultural miracle that pumps out more than a third of the country’s annual food crop from just ten percent of its total land mass. Rice may be the delta’s staple crop, but coconut palms, fruit orchards and sugar-cane groves also thrive in its nutrient-rich soil, and the sight of conical-hatted farmers tending their land is one of Vietnam’s most enduring images. To the Vietnamese, the region is known as Cuu Long, “Nine Dragons”, a reference to the nine tributaries of the Mekong River, which dovetail across plains fashioned by millennia of flood-borne alluvial sediment
My Tho
My Tho is a delightful town, situated about two hours by bus south west of Ho Chi Minh city. Sitting on the bank of The Mekong River, My Tho is divided into two parts by a tributary of the river. From here you can take a number of short boat trips to various islands and floating markets within the surrounding area. It is also a good place to catch the overnight long boats to a variety of locations including Chau Doc and Long Xuyen. A quiet evening in Mytho can be spent on your veranda watching the sun set and the fishing fleet unloads after dark.. The My Tho experience is enhanced by the fact that the streets are generally extremely quiet. In My Tho, you will not have to worry about the challenges of bikes for there are not many. It is very relaxing.

Along 30 thang 4 street is an amazing demonstration of the bizarre Vietnamese taste for really tacky photos. Rather than have their photo taken with the background of the flowing Mekong River, photographers have erected all manner of cardboard backings with snow scenes, stuffed deer and to add that final touch of authenticity, their assistants are dressed as pandas. Just a bit further down the street from the strange photographic practices, there is a quiet little park where you can savour a baguette and watch the sun set.
 

Cai Be - Floating market
Cai Be is a charming small town, which is not very far away from Saigon (approx. 2 hours by car). There are lots of colorful fruit and vegetable gardens, traditional crafts, a French church from 1935 and an impressive traditional house, which can be visited. Unfortunately the floating market of Cai Be is getting smaller every year, since trade is shifting more and more into modern central markets. The Catholic cathedral in the background of the floating market is an awesome motive for photos.
 
There are numerous small canals in the area of Cai Be, which invite to a discovery tour by sampan. You can explore the area very well by by cycle riding on narrow roads along small side canals. Many of the small shady canals, which branch off from the larger river arms, are hard to spot, because they are overgrown by lush greenery. On an exploration tour you will often think that you landed in a dead end, but after an overgrown bend it still goes on.
This small town attracts many day trippers from Saigon. Besides a handful of simple home stays some more sophisticated accommodation places slowly emerge.
 
 
Can Tho
Can Tho City is located in the center of the Mekong Delta. It is contiguous to 5 provinces: An Giang on the north, Dong Thap on the north-east, Hau Giang on the south, Kien Giang on the west, and Vinh Long on the east. Cantho has a complex of rivers and canals such as Hau, and Can Tho rivers, Thot Not, O Mon canals. Among them, the Hau Riveris considered a benefactor of this region, since yearly floods deposit large quantities of alluvia to the rice fields.Thank to that Cantho becomes "the green lungs of the Mekong Delta".The climate is harmonized with few of storms. It is hot, humid all year. Rainy season lasts from May to November, and dry season lasts from December to April. The annual average temperature is 27oC.
 
Can Tho is over its 200 years as the main town, once known as Tay Do and now one city of Vietnam. All of economic, culture activities closely relate to river and canals which like the 'street'. Cantho has simple, poetic beauty with well-off villages under shade of coconut trees.It is wonderful to take a boat trip along the riverbanks on fine weather days. On the east bank of Hau River is Ninh Kieu Wharf, which is well known for its beautiful location. Other interesting places are Bang Lang Stock Sanctuary, Cantho and My Khanh Tourist gardens and Cantho Market.
 

Cai Rang Floating market
One of the most interesting sights in the Delta is the floating market and associated river life. Cai Rang Floating Market is open all day but it is busiest from sunrise to about 9am. The main items sold there are farm products and specialties of Cai Rang Town, Chau Thanh District and neighboring areas. Every boat has a long upright pole at its bow on which samples of the goods for sale are hung.
 
During the early morning market hours, larger sized boats anchor and create lanes that smaller boats weave in and out of. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with mango, bananas, papaya, pineapple, and even smuggled goods like cigarettes. Sellers do not have to cry out about their goods because their goods can be seen in a distance and their cries would not be heard in the vastness of the river and the noise of boat engines. Small boats that sell beer, wine and soft drinks go among the other boats to serve market-goers and visitors. Sellers tie their goods to a tall pole so that buyers can see from a distance what they are selling.
 
Each boat is loaded with plenty of seasonal goods. Activities at the market are also an occasion for tourists to study the cultural aspects of southerners. You can see the market in the distance; it does not look like much, just a mass of boats. The boats all display their wares on a mast so you can see what they have available.
To visit Cai Rang Floating Market, visitors can join a tour of the Mekong Delta. On the way to Can Tho, visitors can stop to visit My Tho and take a boat trip to visit orchards, bee farms and coconut candy establishments in Ben Tre.
 
 
Chau Doc
One of the very beautiful place of the Mekong delta - Chau Doc, as close as you can get to Cambodia without being in it. The Bassac River flows through the town and is a border crossing for river borne traffic, and the small Sam Mountain has an excellent view of the flat plain on the other side. It’s an attractive, busy place with a good hotel and several interesting attractions.

It became part of Vietnam in the middle of the 18th century as a gift, a reward for helping the Cambodian monarch to put down an insurrection. Unsurprisingly, it has a high proportion of ethnic Kh’mer people among the population here, easily identifiable by their darker skins and a chequered scarf instead of Vietnam ’s ubiquitous conical hat. There’s also a fair number of ethic Cham and Chinese people, and enough Christians to fill a local cathedral, making up a rare pot-pourri of cultures and religions.
There’s a large market selling local products and commodities. As might be expected, there’s also plenty of smuggled goods changing hands in both directions. Deep in the market, the Quan Cong (a Chinese character) Temple is a rewarding visit. It’s a flamboyant Taoist structure with good murals and effigies dominated by a ruddy-faced Quan Cong. Further along the riverfront there are several traditional stilt houses.
A short boat trip across the Bassac takes you to several floating fish farms and villages. They’re modified house-boats - a trap-door in the floor provides access to nets under the boat where the fish are grown. A little further takes you to the other bank and a Cham community. Once you’ve tip-toed across the stepping stones to avoid the mud, you walk through the stilt house village to the mosque.
Although sharing the same linguistic and historical tradition, the Cham are divided into two quite distinct religious communities, the Hindu Chams and the Cham Bani, or Muslims. The latter live mainly in the Chau Doc region and are easily distinguished by the men's preferred headgear - a crimson fez with a long golden tassel, or white Muslim prayer cap.

Sam Mountain
The Mountain is a tourism destination in its own right. Everest it isn’t, although the pancake-flat plains of the Mekong make it look higher than it is. It’s a ‘holy’ mountain, full of caves, shrines and temples. The most significant in religious terms is the Ba Chua Xu, dedicated to the ‘Lady of the Region’. Her festival is held in the spring. It attracts huge numbers of devotees and, of course, swarms of vendors hoping to make a killing.
Less important, but more interesting, is the Tay An Pagoda. It’s architecture is sometimes described as Hindu/Muslim, which is a bit fanciful. However, there’s a definite Chinese and Islamic influence, and the interior contains a small army of colourful effigies. Further along, the Cave Pagoda isn’t really worth the climb for ones with no interest in pagoda.

Your energy is best saved for the ascent of the mountain. This is a gentle stroll rather than mountaineering. The road winds gently past the new offshoot of the Victoria Hotel (the main building is down in the town) and culminates in a Vietnamese Army lookout post. Thoughtfully, there is a path on the left that allows you to look across at Cambodia and back to Chau Doc and the Mekong Delta – both as flat as a board.
 
 

 
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