Can Tho – The Capital of Mekong in Vietnam
Can Tho lies in the Mekong Delta on the west bank of the Hau River which is a branch of the Mekong River. The city lies about 170 km west of Ho Chi Minh City
Watch the bustling activity on one of the floating markets. Live the past in one of the ancient houses. Visit the orchards full of delicious tropical fruit and enjoy some of it while listening to traditional music. See and try what can be made of rice or coconut, the symbol of Ben Tre. Learn more about the historical events that took place and the people taking part in it by visiting the places where these events took place. Enjoy the beautiful nature by taking a boat tour alongside the various sights.
Thing to do and see around Can Tho
Enjoy local life on one of the floating markets. Observe birds in one of the stork gardens. Make a boat trip through the canals and visit handicraft villages or an orchard. Become a Vietnamese in the old days by visiting My Khanh village. Visit a museum or ancient house to learn more about life in south Vietnam.
01 – Ba Lang Garden
This garden has an area of 4.2ha on which you will find an animal sanctuary and Ao Sen Lake, two lakes for swimming, an outdoor stage and mini-hotels. This garden is located in 9km from Can Tho
02 – Bang Lang Stork Garden
It is called stork garden, but actually the majority of birds belong to the heron-family and not to the stork-family, even though they might look like each other. The garden started in 1983, because many birds choose the garden of Mr. Bay Co as their home. Bay Co created good conditions for the birds to live in his garden. Gradually the garden expanded to the current area of 12,500m2 and the number of birds is now between 100,000 and 150,000 spread over more than 10 species, such as cattle egret, striated heron, black-crowned night heron, and painted stork. Besides herons and storks you can see also other species such as: ibis, little cormorant, greater coucal. You can observe the storks on a wooden platform at a height of 8 metres.
The white cattle egret form the largest group of birds with 80 % of the total population in the garden. These birds build their nests in the garden from March to August. Their main food consist of fish, shellfish, tiny shrimps, locusts, insects, etc. They often leave early in the morning to find food and come back in the late afternoon, so the best time to see the birds in action is between 5-6 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. The stork garden lies in Thoi Thuan Commune, in Thot Not district, about 50km northwest of Can Tho in the direction of Long Xuyen.
03 – Boat Tour
You can make a boat tour through the small tributaries of Can Tho river which forms a fascinating travel network
04 – Brick and Pottery Factory
There are still some old brick and pottery factories or kilns in this area. They are located near the river, because clay is near there and once the bricks are ready, water transport is the cheapest way to transport the products elsewhere. The factories look like big beehives. The government had decided that these kilns should be replaced by the end of 2010, because of the high pollution they are causing. Till now this has not happened, because switching to more environmentally friendly tunnel brick-kilns is too expensive for most producers. Efforts to minimise pollution have not been successful either, also because of the high costs. It is interesting to see how the bricks and pottery is made.
05 – Ca Ba House
This old house is actually not one but three houses built by three brothers of the Ca Ba family. The collected antiques and these are kept in the largest house. Amongst the items collected are: a manchon lamp hanging from the ceiling, wooden parallel sentences, worshipping tools for forefathers, old weapons and sideboards inlaid with conch shell. The houses were built in 1918 and completed in 1925 in a French architectural style, but in harmony with traditional southern design. It has a tiled roof, brick walls and wooden pillars. The houses are located in a nice garden is surrounded by a brick wall, an iron gate and a corridor of pillars that are decorated with detailed and elegant patterns. On one side the garden borders a canal. In front of the house is a bridge from where you have a nice panoramic view of the houses lying gently in canals, trees and flowers. The houses are located in Thot Not district near Cai Ngai Canal, 50 km northwest of Can Tho in the direction of Long Xuyen.
06 – Cai Rang Floating Market
This market is the main wholesale floating market near Can Tho and one of the three biggest markets in the Mekong Delta, the other being Cai Be and Phung Hiep. You will have the chance to experience a special type of market in which all purchasing activities take place on boats and ships of different sizes and which are the shops and stalls at this market. The best time to go to the market is from sunrise, so around 5 a.m., to 9:00 a.m. Later it becomes quiet and there is not much to see anymore. This floating market is in Cai Rang about 8km by road or a 20km loop by boat south of Can Tho.
07 – Floating Markets
There are various floating markets near Can Tho and they are a very lively scene, accommodating much of the goods exchange throughout the area. A floating market usually starts at 4 or 5 in the morning before dawn and ends more or less at 10 a.m. The main items sold are farm products and it depends on the season which kind of fruit and vegetables, but you can find pineapple, dragon fruit, water melon, yam, coconuts and cabbage which are the dominant goods at these floating markets. Every boat has a long pole, cay beo in Vietnamese, at its bow standing upright with samples of the goods for sale attached to it with a rope. So they do not need to cry to sell the goods as it can be seen from a distance, besides the fact that cries would not be heard in the vastness of the river and the noise of boat engines. Big boats are the wholesalers, who sell to dealers from neighboring provinces. You can also find garden tools, crafts and boats that sell Vietnamese breakfast like Bun or Hu Tieu, or beer and soft drinks. Of course they cannot hang a bowl of noodle on a pillar, so, if you want to eat, you should look for smoke and follow the smell. Go early, around 6 a.m. and enjoy the lively buying and selling of products. The floating markets in the vicinity of Can Tho are:
– Cai Rang Floating Market is the main wholesale floating market near Can Tho;
– Phong Dien Floating Market is a retail market upstream the Can Tho river;
– Phụng Hiep Floating Market is farther away and is mainly a snake market;
– Tra On Floating Market is a small floating village’s market anchored near Clouds Island (Cù Lao Mây) and is even farther away
08 – Handicraft Villages
There are some handicraft villages in Thot Not District 50km northwest of Can Tho, where things are made used in daily life in the Mekong Delta: Di Tho “lop” Village (lop is a bamboo tool to catch fish), Ba Rui “clay stove” Village and Thom Rom “net” Village.
09 – Ho Chi Minh Temple
This temple was built in 1969 and restored many times. Annually, many visitors come here to pay tribute to Ho Chi Minh, especially on 19 May, his birthday, and 2 September, liberation day. The temple is located in Luong Tam Commune in Long My District, about 60 km southwest of Can Tho.
10 – Long My Historical Site
During the two resistance wars Long My was the revolutionary base of the western part of South Vietnam where many battles took place. A temple dedicated to Ho Chi Minh is located on this site as well. The site is in Long My District about 60km southwest of Can Tho.
11 – Long Tuyen Village
This is an old village in Binh Thuy District, north of the centre of Can Tho. The houses here have a mixed architectural style combining various cultures: western and eastern, including Chinese, French, American, Cham and Japanese. It used to be a subdivision of Luc Ap before Can Tho Province was incorporated, then it became Binh Hung village during the reign of Nguyen King Thieu. In 1852, when Huynh Man Dat, a province chief, escaped danger here, the village was renamed Binh Thuy, but now it is known as Long Tuyen Village 11km west of Can Tho.
12 – My Khanh Village
My Khanh Village, established in 1996, is a garden-style eco-tourist site of 2.2 ha. The area has more than 20 species of fruit trees, as well as various species of birds, fishes, tortoises, snakes, crabs and shrimps. You can experience the way the people in the south lived, dressed up like a rich landlord who lived in a big house or of a normal traditional farmer. There is a difference, because as a rich landlord, you enjoy fruit, hot tea and listen to music from a gramophone on a 300 years’ old hand-operated gramophone and as a farmer, you “have” to work and prepare meals as farmers did in the past. There is a 100 years’ old house that was moved piece by piece from Can Tho’s Binh Thuy District and reassembled here. You can eat Mekong Delta specialties such as baby rabbits, snakes, tortoises, bats, cuckoos and crocodiles, including regional fruits such as rambutans, durians, langsats, mangosteens, oranges, tangerines and pomeloes. There is also a possibility to spend the night in Central Highlands’ style stilt houses *ruong houses” that in total have 300 furnished rooms in all. On the site you will also find a swimming pool or you can go fishing and row a boat on the river.
My Khanh Villag is located in Phong Dien District, about 11km west of Can Tho
13 – Phong Dien Floating Market
This retail market is further upstream the Can Tho Rriver is very active at dawn, but slows down early. The market is located in Phong Dien District about 20km west of Can Tho.
Have a nice trip!