A Mekong Delta tour in the peerless Binh An Drum Village

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In Vietnam, most choirs and troupes are familiar with the sound of drums. The drum is also a common instrument in schools, temples, pagodas, Vietnam cultural activities, and traditional rituals. Binh An – a drum-making craft village – was established to meet this need. Let’s find out more detailed about it in the Mekong Delta tour today.

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Drums in festivals

Where is Binh An Drum Village?

If you have a chance to join a Mekong Delta tour for family in Long An Province, don’t forget to pay Binh An Drum Village a short visit. Located in Binh Lang Commune, it is the only craft village that produces and provide drums in Southern Vietnam. For this reason, Binh An has become an unusual tourist destination in Southwestern Vietnam in general and Long An Province in particular. 

Although this place is quite new, it is gradually growing into an attractive spot for culture-vultures.

The history of making drums

Many people in the village say that it was established about 200 years ago. Therefore, the traditional handicraft has been handed down to hundreds of generations here. Most of the villagers have more than 10 years of experience in making drums. The first person who laid the foundation of the village was Mr. Nguyen Van Ty.

While he was going on field trips to do business, he saw buffalo butchers use the meat and dispose of the pieces of buffalo skin. He started collecting them, bringing them home, exposing them to the sun, and learning how to make drums himself. When he passed away, his descendants decided to follow his path. At first, they made drums for fun. But then, they began making drums to earn income.

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Craftsman makes a drum

Trying a Vietnam cultural tour in Binh An Village, you can see the process of drum-making with your own eyes. Despite the simple outlook of a drum, producing it is much more complex. There are over 20 phases in total to complete it. Each of them requires the worker to be careful and meticulous in every detail.

Common materials that are used to make drums are timber and buffalo skin. The timber recommended by workers is Merawan due to its solidness and tolerability. Also, it is often utilized to build handicraft objects so no other types of wood can be better.

After the timber is thoroughly chosen, all pieces will be exposed to the sun, measured, cut, bent, and got termites handled. Then, the worker will put them together with his skillful hands, which has been trained for over 10 years.

The phase of making the drumhead is less sophisticated. However, the buffalo skin is very easy to tear off and be deformed. Hence, instead of stretching the skin, the worker will place it on a steel frame and expose it to the sun. The last step is to cautiously shave the top layer of the skin in order to make the sound of the drums louder and higher.

Binh An high-quality drums are used everywhere

The drum is an essential instrument in not only Vietnam culture but also Mekong Delta culture. You can hear the sound of drums while taking part in traditional festivals or in Lion Dance performances during Tet Holidays. It makes the shows more eventful and fantastic.

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Louder sound of drums

And that is how useful Binh An drums are. They are not only durable, beautiful, and diverse in models but their sound is also louder and more melodious than that of other types of drums. Trying touching a drum and you will see how wonderfully it is made. The timber surface is super flat and smooth. The pieces of wood perfectly fit with one another, which can tactfully hide the traits left after putting them together.

The drumhead looks shiny under the sun. And when you beat it with your hand, it starts vibrating, continuously making low-pitched and high-pitched sounds.

Due to that exclusive feature, Binh An drums are famous nationally and even get exported. Today, the drum-making process in the village has been motorized with a greater number of machines. However, the spirit and refinement of the product are still excellently preserved by the professional craftsmen.

You will see how much they love their job by joining a Mekong Delta tour and observing the happiness in their eyes.

Chau Giang – a peaceful Cham Village in Chau Doc

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You might have heard a lot about ancient towns (like Hoi An Ancient Town) and ancient villages (like Duong Lam Ancient Village – Hanoi City, Tuy Loan Ancient Village – Danang City, Phuoc Tich Ancient Village – Thua Thien Hue province) in Vietnam. Here, we list Chau Giang – a Cham Village to visit on your Chau Doc tour – a less-known yet one of the most beautiful ancient villages in Vietnam, where you can experience the local peaceful lifestyle of some of the largest ethnic Cham communities in Vietnam, their ancient architecture and unique culture as well as the graceful landscapes.

Why is Chau Giang well worth a visit?

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Cham Village in Chau Doc

Being the closest large town to the Vietnamese-Cambodian border crossing, Chau Doc is home to diverse ethnic and religious communities. Due to its location at a meeting point of a tributary linking the Bassac and Mekong Rivers, Chau Doc is where Vietnamese Buddhists, Khmer Buddhists, ethnic Chinese, and Muslim Cham living peacefully side by side.

There are 7 Cham Villages with roughly 13,000 Cham people living in 2,100 households on Chau Giang Islet across the Hau River separated from Chau Doc by a river. Among these 7 ones, Chau Giang, also known by its Cham name as Koh Taboong where people live mainly by weaving is the most famous Muslim village and a must-stop destination on any Chau Doc tour. Thanks to these large Cham communities, Chau Giang is such an interesting destination to visit from a cultural perspective.

What to see in Chau Giang Village?

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Chau Giang Village

As you enter the ancient village Cham people, classified as one of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minorities, your mind would be comforted well by the primitive and simple atmosphere. This village includes picturesque scenery like the glimpses of green which turn out to be vast swathes of rice paddies but the highlight must be the stilt houses usually roofed with palm leaves or tiles with a unique and traditional design – three pillars and three tiled roofs.

Locals are known for being especially friendly (don’t be surprised to be invited to sit on a mat and served tea and cakes) with their round hats, long-sleeve shirts, a black or white turban, and sarong (traditional Cham dress) – for Cham men and long dresses, headbands, and face veils – for Cham women adding to its already-cheerful ambiance. Together with the vibrant main markets and many mosques distinguished with unique architecture and meticulous decorations, Chau Giang Village is your ideal place to savor the authentic features of a Muslim village and a great destination for photographers.

What to do in the Cham Village in Chau Doc?

 A Cham Muslim wedding in a small village near Chau Doc, Vietnam.

Cham Muslim wedding in Chau Doc

Simply walking the town’s broad, clean, and pretty streets featuring neat cement houses – a nice contrast from the typical wooden Vietnamese houses or wandering along the pretty waterfront promenade nearby is a pleasure in itself. But a trip to one of the tourist attractions in Chau Doc is also a chance to visit plenty of sights bound to please religion, culture, and history buffs. These sights include Masjid mosque – Chau Doc’s largest mosque which has the symbols of the sun and the crescent moon, representing Islamic and the Con Tien Bridge – where you will suddenly be in the presence of burqa-wearing women and men in hats, long-sleeve shirts, and sarong (traditional Cham dress).

If you want to do more than just contemplating Cham People’s Culture, visiting Cham People’s weave fabric at Cham Village, and buying their traditional craft products and unique patterned cloths created by handmade wooden looms, a night spent at a wooden stilt homestay to experience the simple and peaceful life of locals in the Muslim Village is an unforgettable memory on your best tours in Vietnam.

Want to see the old towns or villages in Vietnam on your Vietnam private tours to seek the ancient charm of this country? There are a series of that kind of small yet charming places with very old unique architectural styles of the locals, featured folk culture of the local villagers, peaceful untouched sceneries for your aftertastes, and long rich history telling the fascinating stories during the past few years, decades, and even centuries. Check the details of Cham Village in Chau Giang, Chau Doc and decide whether to visit it in 2018 or not.

What to eat before leaving the floating markets in the Mekong Delta – the melting food pot of Vietnam

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The Mekong Delta, the farthest area of Vietnam and at the downstream of Mekong River, is a flooded world of floating markets. Thus, it is no surprise that floating markets are very popular here. They offer a wider abundance of fresh produce than wet markets, often at a lower price and give you a chance to immerse yourself in the natural wilderness. Especially, it is a good introduction to the multi-ethnic face of the Mekong Delta with the very best traditional and ethnic dishes.

This is why a lot of not only Vietnamese but also foreign travelers do their groceries there on a daily basis and on their Mekong Delta tour. If food is one of the many reasons why you are so fond of the floating market tour, so what are you waiting? Discover which are the best foods in the Mekong Delta and decide which one to eat!

Fresh tropical fruits

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Fresh fruit in the Mekong Delta

Specializing in locally grown produce and fruits, the floating markets like Cai Rang, Cai Be, Nga Nam, or Nga Bay are the suppliers of choice for the whole region. The markets stock a fantastic variety of fresh tropical fruits such as coconut, jackfruit, durian, mangoes, watermelon, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, green grapefruits, bananas, pineapples, pomelo, and longans. As you might know, the longer any fruit or vegetable is picked and goes from orchards, gardens, or farms to table, the more vitamins are lost along the way. So, what can be better than offered a tray of delicious local fruits right where they are grown, especially on a hot day?

Imagine sipping on a refreshing coconut drink and enjoying your own punnet of delicious and ripe fruit (some kinds are served with a spicy salt condiment) as you slowly glide along the river. Such an amazing way to get closer to nature, helping yourselves learn where your food comes from as well as supporting the lovely local farmers in the Mekong Delta. Can’t get any more relaxing than that!

Hủ tiếu (Southern Vietnamese clear rice noodle soup)

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Hu tieu in floating markets

Apart from selling piles of fruits, vegetables, and other local produce on bustling clusters of boats to take home, these bustling, friendly markets also have a great choice of casual stalls to eat at, fresher and more reasonably priced than most of the surrounding restaurants. They are also a good introduction to the multi-ethnic face of the Mekong Delta.

The cheapest way to fill your tummy on your floating market food tour is always a bowl of hu tieu. Pop into one of the best boats selling rice noodle soup and order a bowl of the Mekong Delta’s specialty for around VND 15,000. Cooked with a medium temperature, hủ tiếu is a delicious, fragrant, and yummy soup, dense with stretchy rice noodles and topped with succulent locally farmed shrimp, sliced lean meat, ground lean meat, and meatballs, etc. Just imagining slurping down a bowl of piping hot noodles decorated with Vietnamese onion, coriander and cabbage can make you hungry!

Bún nước lèo (Fermented fish soup with vermicelli rice noodle)

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What to eat in floating markets in the Mekong Delta?

Because of different methods of preparation and use of materials and ingredients, there are over a thousand types of noodle soups from all over Vietnam with local characteristics.

Made from slowly boiled fish stock and mắm cá linh or mắm cá sặc (fermented fish sauce), bún nước lèo – a noodle dish with Khmer origins – is famous for its very strong aroma or smell.

Along with the noodles and broth, bún nước lèo cannot be perfect without a few different types of pickled fish along with a huge collection of seafood like fresh fish and whole shrimp, roasted pork, pork crackling as well as a heap of fresh herbs, shredded banana blossom, chives, eggplant, and crunchy soybeans, arranged on top.

Bánh canh (soup cake)

Fresh and delicious products are essential for creating the best Mekong Delta cuisine, and what better place to find them than in the floating markets? Made of rice flour, broad and white in color, and typically chewy, bánh canh is typical of Southern Vietnamese cuisine and has gradually spread to other regions throughout our country. For an even more rewarding, authentic Mekong Delta experience, don’t miss to try soup cake!

One of the greatest ways to dive into a destination and most charming aspects of taking a floating market tour in the Mekong Delta is the free time that you have to simply enjoy the traditional food. However, when you are in this mighty region in Southern Vietnam, it might be difficult to decide what to eat without spending a fortune. Well, you can find the solution to your problems following this guide to the best food to try before leaving the Mekong Delta’s floating markets!

Top 10 famous tourist attractions in Ca Mau, Vietnam

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If you think that there is nowhere to go in Ca Mau, Vietnam, then you are completely wrong. Ca Mau has long attracted a large number of tourists thanks to its special tourist destinations. To explore this southernmost land, let’s have a closer look at 10 famous tourist sites in Ca Mau below.

Cape Ca Mau

Cape Ca Mau is located in Ngoc Hien District, about 10 km away from Ca Mau City. This is the only place on the mainland in Vietnam where people can see the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Cape Ca Mau is one of the best places in Ca Mau, which attract numerous tourists annually.

Coming to Cape Ca Mau, in addition to taking photos at the bow, the coordinates landmark, visitors can also climb up the observation tower to see the land strip of the country. From here, tourists will see the cluster islands of Hon Khoai on the sea, about 20km from the mainland. They are a beautiful cluster islands including Hon Tuong Island, Hon Sao Island, Hon Kho Island, Hon Lon Island and Hon Doi Moi Island.

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Cape-Ca-Mau-landmark

Tan Hung House

Tan Hung House was the place where the first flag of Indochinese Communist Party was raised in Ca Mau (1930). This was once the headquarters of the Tan Hung Front Command, the anti-French Front in Ca Mau.

Hon Khoai

Hon Khoai is the largest island, surrounded by 5 small islands. Visitors to Hon Khoai will be attracted by the poetic, wild beauty with round pebbles like goose eggs, along with the primary forest carpet with diverse fauna and flora.

At present, at the highest peak of Hon Khoai, there is still a lighthouse built by the French in the last 19th century. From the lighthouse, tourists can see the beauty of the 5 satellite islands around through a telescope when allowed by the border guards.

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Hon Khoai and its lighthouse

Hon Da Bac

Hon Da Bac is a beautiful cluster island, consisting of 3 islands located close to the coast in Kinh Hon Hamlet, Khanh Binh Tay Commune, Tran Van Thoi District. This place has a great potential for ecotourism.

Khai Long Beach Resort

Khai Long Beach Resort lies on the Southeast coast of Cape Ca Mau. This is the should-visit destination in Cau Mau due to the pristine beauty of the beach surrounded by the mangrove forest.

Ca Mau Bird Sanctuary

Belonging to the area of Dam Doi District, Ca Mau Bird Sanctuary is a special place of this Southern Vietnam group tour where all kinds of storks, herons, and other kinds of rare birds gathers. Tourists often come here to enjoy and be immersed in the wild nature of the ecological environment.

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Ca Mau Bird Sanctuary

Ca Mau Floating Market

Ca Mau Floating Market has hundreds of boats in all size, which is always full of goods to trade and purchase. The way of buying and selling on the river is a very typical type of culture in Southern Vietnam. The beauty, as well as the very unique character of this area, has attracted a lot of visitors to visit this floating market – a charming tourist attraction of Ca Mau.

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Ca Mau Floating Market

Thi Tuong Lagoon

Thi Tuong Lagoon is a large shrimp lagoon in Ca Mau, located next to Ba Keo Canal, connecting to the Gulf of Thailand. In recent years, this place has become the familiar stop of many tourists during their Southern Vietnam group tours. Thi Tuong Lagoon is divided into three sections: upper lagoon, middle lagoon and lower lagoon. Here, travelers can see the attractive scenery of Ca Mau Land and enjoy the special dishes made from fishes, shrimps, etc.

U Minh Ha National Forest

U Minh National Forest is divided into two areas, which are upper and lower forest. U Minh Thuong Forest (the upper forest) is in Kien Gian Province, while the U Minh Ha Forest (the lower one) is in Ca Mau Province. U Minh Ha National Forest is an area having a very typical flora and fauna of the wetland on the peat layer created by perennial vegetation bodies.  This is the place to preserve and develop the genetic resource of precious animals, together with cultural values and historical relics for scientific research and tourism development.

Biodiversity zone of forestry and fishery 184 – Nam Cam Mangrove Forest

Nam Can Mangrove Forest and Biodiversity Zone of Forestry and Fishery 184 is situated in the middle of mangrove forest in Cha La Hamlet, Tam Giang Commune. It is 1-hour-drive by boat from Ca Mau Floating Market. To explore the Biodiversity Zone of Forestry and Fishery 184, travelers will go through the forest with a road system in the over-15-year-old mangrove forest. At night, visitors will rest in cool houses in the forest and enjoy many famous specialties here.

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Nam Can Mangrove Forest

Conquer Mekong Delta | Two days in three cities, why not?

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For most foreign people, I have talked so far, the idea of an existence of a wetland called Mekong Delta only popped up when they happened to sort out a tour outside of Saigon. This is seen as one of the best tours in Vietnam when visitors are led to the ending domain of this S-shaped country and get to know deeply about the spectacular and interesting stories that are only found in the Mekong, along with people’s unique lifestyle in a land with an immense network of rivers and canals. If you want to be a part of this country rather than just a tourist, here is one of many Mekong Delta tour options that you can choose to explore within only two days.

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A rice paddy field

Arrive in Tiền Giang on the first day

Cái Bè is the very first destination to kick off your tour. This is a large district belonging to Tiền Giang, which takes you only 2 hours from Saigon. Cái Bè Floating Market is the most ideal site to visit in the morning. By having an insight of this special market, you then get to know how a local market is organized, and why dwellers happened to trade on the surface of a river rather than a regular corner on land.

Coming next are a chain of several native long-established factories. The locals’ method of creating handicraft merchandise will capture your attention. Some can be taken into account include the making of green rice, coconut candies, honey and so on. Not to mention, transforming into these artisans yourselves is going to be an interesting idea. Tasting honey tea and selecting your favorite products are what you can choose to do at the end of a visit here.

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Cái Bè Floating Market

Next up, embark on Tân Phong Islet, one of the four biggest islets in the intersection of Tiền Giang and Bến Tre Provinces. If signing up for a Mekong Delta group tour or in case you are a part of a Mekong Delta cruise, chances are that you will be heading to this islet after spending half a day on the mainland. Afterward, sneak through the little canals enclosed by the shady coconut trees on both sides of the river banks. On the islet, a real image of how Mekong citizens enjoy their daily life is going to be revealed. An absolute contrasting picture of what you have normally seen back home. This is how you can experience a day in the life of a peasant, a fisher or simply a Vietnamese wife raising their kids at home, cooking in the kitchen or feeding roosters in the front yards. Other than that, visiting a greenish shady fruit garden, picking bunches of tropical fruits on your own and enjoy the absolute sweetness released from these freshly picked rambutans, durians or longans are what you can be offered next.

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The making of Coconut candies

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The serene space of life

After that, head straight to Cần Thơ City when the Sun starts to disappear and spend the rest of the night freely wander off Cần Thơ Downtown with your families and friends.

Return to Saigon on the next day

When breakfast time is over, you will have a chance to witness the biggest floating market across the Mekong Delta, Cái Răng. A huge area on the surface of the river is packed with full of wooden boats. Your excursion in this morning will be surrounded in the chit-chats of lady sellers and the aromatic smoke of the hot bowls of soup noodles. Even coffee, fruits of all kinds, household merchandise or electric devices can be spotted out here.

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The Mekong Islet

When the Sun is at its peak, start heading to local rice noodles and rice paper factories before having lunch in a local restaurant. During the very last hours of your second afternoon, follow a local guide back to Saigon and start exploring the rest of the country as planned.

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The making of rice paper

Mekong Delta group tour is what many people choose to discover this wetland in the most basic way. However, you can consider to have a private tour for a better understanding or feel free to request a customized tour to this land with your given ideas and suggestions.

Visiting Can Tho to experience garden tourism through My Khanh Tourist Village

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Can Tho has long been known to many as a “capital” in Western Vietnam, also known as another name “Tay Do”. But the biggest question of tourists during their Mekong Delta tour is where they can play and enjoy the beautiful nature in Can Tho. Therefore, today we will introduce one of the most interesting tourist destination – My Khanh Tourist Village, which has always been recommended by many Vietnam local tour operators.

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My Khanh Tourist Village

Where is My Khe Tourist Village?

Being in a district with many tourist sites in Can Tho, My Khanh Tourist Village is located at no. 335 Lo Vong Cung, My Khanh Commune, Phong Dien District. The way to this ecotourism village is also not difficult. You just need to follow Trung Luong Expressway or from Phu Lam roundabout, you go along the Highway 1A to Can Tho. In these ways, you can go to My Khanh Village by motorbike or car.

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A corner in My Khanh Tourist Village

Another way to travel to this tourist site in Can Tho is to get to the Western Region Bus Station and buy tickets or you can book it online through the phone number. The ticket price from Saigon to Can Tho ranges from 80,000 to 100,000 VND. If you choose this option, it would be more relaxing because you do not have to worry about the time and traffic.

How to get to My Khanh Tourist Village?

From Can Tho City, there are three options for you to choose in this situation. The first one is to take a taxi to go straight to the village, the second one is to ride a motorbike taxi, and the last is to get on a bus. Depending on your financial capability, you decide which option suits you. However, it would be better to remind you that if you choose the third option for your Mekong Delta tour, you had better buy a map of Can Tho City.

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Fresh fruit gardens

Currently, the infrastructure is well developed, plus Can Tho is a large city, so the road system is invested very carefully, suitable for tourism development. One of the important notes you need to pay attention to when visiting My Khanh Tourist Village in Can Tho is you have to know exactly where you are going to avoid getting lost. If not, do not hesitate to ask the “villagers”, they are always willing to help.

What is the ticket price to visit My Khanh Tourist Village?

Currently, an entrance ticket for one adult (taller than 1.3m) costs 60,000 VND, while children (1m – 1.3m) cost only 30,000 VND and those under 1m are free. But that is only the ticket for you to enter the village. Once you get into the My Khanh – Can Tho Tourist Village, you will spend one whole day playing and exploring the village such as the rivers and lakes, fresh fruit gardens or simulated traditional games. And each of the services has its different price that you should find out before having a Can Tho tour.

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Feeding crocodiles

What to play in My Khanh Tourist Village?

One of the activities known as the highlight of this village is to become a “wealthy” landowner. That means you will have your own private cart, visit your own land, have a tour guide, private umbrella and fan. Moreover, if you have never experienced the feeling of living in a large house with a precious wooden table and chairs, then this definitely is a good opportunity for you.

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Pig racing a unique game in My Khanh Village

In addition to the main activity mentioned above, many simulated outdoor games in the village also make you feel interested and relaxing, for example trying to be a farmer boat rowing boat, catching fish, digging ditches or learning how to grow rice. In particular, My Khanh Tourist Village is suitable for all people at the different age such as the older, the middle-aged, teenagers, children and even couples. With the natural advantage of the green environment and fresh air to rest, you will find this Mekong Delta group tour certainly worthy. Thus, if you have any intentions to stay overnight, it would be also convenient because there is a high-quality resort inside the My Khanh – Can Tho Tourist Village.

Delving into the great historical treasure of Khmer Museum

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When you travel, what will be one of your choices? Normally, people are drawn to the excitement provoked by the mesmerizing wilderness of nature rather than familiar images of the city that they are living in. Sometimes, going around the city is not regarded as traveling but more like wandering around. However, traveling has never been solely about the experience but it is also the exploration of the unknowns, conquer them, or master them, either way, is all traveling, geographically and sensationally. Therefore, if you are someone who rarely takes yourself out for the museum, this Mekong Delta tour will be just what you need. So let the great adventure of history exploration begin!

1. Where is Khmer Museum?

The museum we would like to show you in one of our Mekong Delta group tours is Khmer Ethological Culture Museum, also read in Vietnamese as “Bảo tàng Văn hóa dân tộc Khmer”. The museum is now situated in a corner of Trà Vinh City of Trà Vinh Province in the Mekong Delta also known as the Southern Delta. Therefore, if you enlist yourself on a Tra Vinh tour, you will likely be led around the city and finally, come up to this wonderful spot. Actually, if you make your google search, you will find that there is another Khmer museum. So indeed, there are only two Khmer museums in Vietnam, the first one is the mentioned and the other one is located in Sóc Sơn Province. Both of them are included with huge collections of profound Khmer culture. However, based on each region of exploitation, the documentaries as well as facts, and remains found are relatively different.

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The whole museum complex from above

So the question is why there are only two Khmer museums in Vietnam and one of them located here in Trà Vinh. First of all, let us see through the history of Khmer and how they got attached to the Mekong Delta. The history of Khmer more or less deals with the deep down origin of Cambodia and Indian culture. If you have come across some documentaries of Cambodia history, you will find out a significant link in the historical chain of Cambodia and a small part of contemporary Khmer in Vietnam. The ancestor of the Khmer known nowadays is “ante Khmer – Pnông” originated in Cambodia Before Christ. From the time of Anno Domini, the strong and vicious influence of Indian culture took place twice in parts of Khmer-Pong inhabitance, there appeared many waves of emigrants from all classes of the country, mostly nobles, intelligentsia, deeply-affected-by-Indian-culture people, the North from Indochina, the South from China, and parts of the Indian. And it was those waves of immigrants created the original country – the old Cambodia known as Chân Lạp and the “Khmer” term that we know today.

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Another angle of the museum

However, Chân Lạp was not an independent country in the first place but was the colony of a country called Phù Nam – a coastal country of which the center is the contemporary South of Vietnam. Through great changes of history and military affairs, Phù Nam got weakened, Chân Lạp took its chance as one-of-a-lifetime and stroke at Phù Nam to eventually, from the being dominated to the dominance and merged Phù Nam to Chân Lạp as a united body. It was this historical event that opens to the emigration of a great number of Khmer to the South of Vietnam, leaving behind the fantastic remains of history that are now stored in the Khmer museum as we know today.

2. The history of Khmer Museum

As you are on a Mekong Delta group tours, you will probably be introduced around to the history of the museum. However, there is slightly information of its existing progress. The museum is now a part of the heritage complex including Bà Om Pond and Âng Pagoda in Ward 8 of Trà Vinh City. There is not much information stored about the making history of the museum. However, disregard of the shortage of information, it is found that the Khmer museum was built in 1995, which was after the Đổi Mới – a term used in 1986 regarding the “socialist-oriented market economy” and socialist-oriented policy of Vietnam post-war. It is not known about the exact time of starting construction but the fact that the museum was built in 1995 marked a significant event when Vietnam officially became the 7th member of ASEAN. Therefore, whether it was on purpose or not, the construction of Khmer Museum in 1995 contributed greatly to the cultural integration of Vietnam.

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The front yard of the museum

The construction officially finished in 1997 after two years of continuous working. Until now, the museum has been through over 20 years and several refurbish accompanied with lots of change and new remains added to the collections. If you take a tour of Khmer museum now, you will find that the museum still seems quite new because it has been through both minor and major restorations. However, because it was built in the post-war so there is not much devastation to the general architecture of the building and everything stays well to be contemplated.

3. The architecture

To state shortly, the Khmer Museum is probably one of the top destinations to visit in Tra Vinh. Basically, Trà Vinh itself has been a promising land of culture explore. Here you will find yourself being surrounded by lots of useful information and documentaries about Asian culture, especially of the Khmer. Once you arrive in Trà Vinh on Mekong Delta group tours, you can easily see that most of the tourism destinations more or less deal with Khmer culture, for example, the Khmer Pagoda. It is interesting to see how significantly the Khmer culture remains in the daily life of the Southern people living in the Mekong Delta. Back to the museum, as stated, was built after Đổi Mới so the architecture is not deeply affected by that of French anymore. In fact, the main theme in the style of art when the museum was at the begin of the construction was Khmer and Asian culture.

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Another side of the museum

On the outside, the general architecture bears some resemblances to the communal house. Or we can say that the communal house was used as the model and the main idea in shaping the museum. The idea of taking the communal house as the main theme is such a relevance since it is the one used in the Khmer’s daily life. The easiest way to recognize this feature is the outstanding front roof. The house is built with the main roof in the middle with special triangular patterns, accompanied by two sub-roofs and compartments. This is the typical Khmer house model that you can easily spot everywhere from the Internet to life. The paint used is quite plain creating the ceramic-feel. However, it goes very well with the general form of the museum of which the roof is intentionally emphasized using warm-color bricks.

4. What does it have?

As our Mekong Delta group tours take you to discover the museum, you will be amazed to find such a divine location that the museum is situated. People say that the first impression is always important and the architects did their job well while guiding the visitors to a whole area covered in the lush greenery of trees before entering the main building. This creates quite a similar feeling to travel to a real Khmer village.

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A corner inside the museum

Applied mainly the traditional architectural building and being accompanied by modern architecture influence, the museum stands out with only two floors.  However, the first floor is used for the working space of officers and people working at the museum. As you enter the yard, you can easily see a half-moon lake, which is used to raise fish. This smart design works quite well in creating a more comfortable sightseeing space for the visitors.

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Ancient model display of Khmer culture

As you go to the second floor, you will find yourself surrounded by many rooms but each of them has its own display and is arranged in order so that you can visit the whole one by one or separately. The answer to the question “what does it have?” is easy since a Khmer Museum must be a place for Khmer remains! Ancient objects collected and displayed here are mainly normal tools and things used in the daily life of the ancient Khmer living in the Mekong Delta. Besides material objects, the museum also presents with immaterial heritage and culture of the old Khmer, which can be learned from videos projected in the museum as well as models created to bring back the life of the ancient Khmer once lived.

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Tools used in fishing of the Khmer

Basically, the second floor is divided into three separate rooms. The first room is where you can find different models of Khmer pagodas. There is also sala – sat by the monks in their ceremonial offerings. The first room really creates the feeling of entering a holy world where the existence of The Above can be reached in hands and in minds. It is such a breathtaking experience seeing everything with your bare eyes and silently contemplate in admiration and scream to yourself that how normal hands can create such masterpieces! The interesting thing about the first room is not only how elegantly and delicately those models are made but also the appearance of the Key-no – a holy bird symbolizes and represents the image of the Goddess in the religion of the Khmer and the Pro-nam, which is bird model carved with aesthetic patterns used in the decoration of every pagoda’s exterior.

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Model of a step in a traditional wedding of the Khmer

The second room is displayed with old agricultural tools of the Khmer. When looking at these tools, especially the sickle, you will notice a very unique mark of the Khmer in tool design which is the bird or the dragon “niêk” patterns. Usually, on a Khmer sickle, there will be vertical patterns or bird drawings along with the head of a dragon called niek. In this room, you can also explore dozens of cultural outfits of the Khmer including all styles used from daily life to special events. The room also shows you to a system of Khmer language and words, which was through about 12 times of modifications from Phạn – an old language system, to lead to the existence of the present Khmer language.

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Illustration of a stage play

If you love art, especially music, you will definitely love the last room, which is used to display all kinds of traditional instruments of the Khmer along with performing outfits and accessories. Everything is illustrated to you in real images by models made by the best architects and artists. Here you will see how vividly the art form Rồ-băm, a form of Khmer stage play, is brought to life or Dù Kê, which was born in the 20th century. Most Khmer instruments are made of wood and bamboo. However, for instruments used in different ceremonies, the materials are diverse including wood, leather, bronze, and iron.

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Different kinds of instruments

In general, the museum is a great place for a cultural exploration. Coming here, you will truly have the time to contemplate true artworks and learn more about the ancient life of the land you are traveling to visit. The museum is also talked-about and is visited by many people from all over the place to study and to learn. There are about 30.000 people coming here each year to discover interesting things about the Khmer. And maybe you should be the next. The museum can be visited during the week so take your time and come to see.

Mekong girl’s thought on Mekong Delta

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If you have ever tossed this question of “Southern Vietnam group tours” on the Internet, Mekong Delta will definitely show up. Why is that? Why is this Southern end of the country always getting hot that even Vietnamese locals from the rest of the country crave for a visit at least once in their lifetime? Let’s find out!

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Catching fish

A brief introduction about Mekong Delta

History of Mekong is frequently told by many local guides in their group tours in South Vietnam. Just by looking at the map, you can easily spot out Mekong Delta as a large wetland located at the very end at the Southern face of this S-shaped country and enclosed by the Gulf of Thailand in the West and the gigantic Pacific Ocean in the East. Geographically, the Delta is torn apart by a massive Mekong River cradling from the severe Tibet Mountain, threading through Southern countries of Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, entering Southern Vietnam before mingling with the East Sea. From here, a mighty kingdom called Funan had been existing between the 1st and 6th century CE. This resulted in a following ancient kingdom born known as Khmer Empire covering a huge region from Mekong Delta to Northern Malaysia. Khmer was also regarded as pre-Cambodia that officially ended in the XIX century when the expansion of Vietnam had greatly taken over the whole part of Mekong Delta nowadays. Today, Mekong Delta is home to various communities such as Chinese, Khmer, Cham, and Viet, meanwhile, the Viet community is known to be the largest group making up 90 percent of Mekong population. Hence, there is no doubt that this region gathers a huge colorful collection of diversified culture and customs. This can be sensed through various festivals, cuisine, architecture, language, costume and so on. That is one of the basic reasons that Mekong Delta has become such a unique and special land that contributes to the variety of the whole country. Hence, if you tend to take part in any South Vietnam tours without featuring Mekong Delta, it is going to be a huge mistake since you just miss a gaudy prism into the real Vietnam.

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Mekong River in Laos

What can I learn after over two first decades of my life taking Mekong Delta as a hometown?

At the very first years of my existence, Mekong is simply a land with an utmost peaceful, rivers are everywhere, half a year raining like cats and dogs while the other half feels like living in fire. Neighbors around me are the best people I have ever met in my life, with a distinctive sweet accent, helpful, kind, smiley, always wear Nón Lá and most are farmers. Mekong food is not that sweet, even though outlanders always claim that out cuisine seem like containing a ton of sugar in it, which is so weird, or maybe that is derived from our personality, sweet people. Who knows?

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Mekong cuisine

An immense network of river and canals along with tropical jungles of all types lead to the fact that natural food ingredients accordingly take root, which is then used to create a wide range of authentic dishes that it may take a lifetime to count. Floating markets are also one of the interesting characteristics that shape the reputation for Mekong Delta. Apart from Cái Răng floating market, there are other various lesser-known selections that you can visit when requesting a customized South Vietnam group tour.

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A floating market

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Biking in a village

Ghost stories, rumors, myths and untold stories behind historical relics or famous buildings have always grabbed my attention by far. In addition, forms of architecture such as stilt houses, Khmer pagodas, Chinese temples constructed along with French-dominant buildings found all over the region will give you a deeper insight into Mekong dwellers’ culture. If you are keen on having all of this, feel free to contact a South Vietnam group tour in Saigon or any local operator in Mekong Delta cities you are in.

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Bat Pagoda – a Khmer temple

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Diversity

Even though I have been away from Mekong for roughly four years, the love and memory about that wetland still emerge. Not only the thought about my family itself, but the food and all of the above play their part as an aim motivating me to learn more about it as days go by.

Mekong Delta traditional trade villages | Three unique prisms

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Although brought to the World long after the rest of the country, Mekong Delta, a large wetland of Southern Vietnam bears its own unlikeness that you can hardly ever find somewhere else. Mekong, on one hand, is a star in the category of Vietnam countryside tour. On the other hand, the utmost serenity this Southern delta has got to offer you makes it a great contrast to other parts of the country. Traditional trade villages are a typical sample behind the reason why you should make it to this ending part of Vietnam.

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Serene Mekong Delta

Sa Đéc rice powder village   

Sa Đéc City, Đồng Tháp Province, is one of the largest foodstuff transit spots all over Mekong Delta. Most of the locals think about Sa Đéc as a paradise of flowers. However, the tradition of making rice powder is another big name that contributes to the formation of Sa Đéc reputation. The rice powder village has been existing for over half a century. Its high productivity has been able to meet the consuming need of Saigon, its surrounding area as well as other ASEAN countries.

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Rice powder

There are two basic types of products. Fresh and wet rice powder is handed over to food manufacturing factories whilst dry powder is stored for upcoming usage. With the rice powder used as the main ingredient, Viet like us are able to come up with countless food elements such as phở, rice noodles (hủ tiếu), vermicelli noodles (bún), rice cakes and so on. Sa Đéc rice powder is famed for its savor of chewiness, softness and a unique rice fragrance. Once your trip to Southern Vietnam is sorted out, do not forget to contact a local Vietnam local tour operator for a customized trip to this village.

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Rice noodles

Lai Vung fermented pork roll village

Lai Vung District in Đồng Tháp Province has long been known all over the Southern domain of Vietnam as a long-founded fermented pork roll village. Located in the Northern face of the Hậu River, Lai Vung Village was born roughly over 60 years of age ago and proudly listed in an archive of nearly 30 trade villages in Đồng Tháp Province.

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The making of fermented pork roll

Lai Vung fermented pork rolls are Mekong exotic food with its special taste. The progress of finalizing a piece of fermented pork is painstaking including various different stages. Just in case you are wondering, pork is first smashed, while pork skin then is shredded into small pieces, which are all mixed alongside with pepper, chili, and Indian Coral tree leaf and then wrapped around with fresh banana leaf and left to rest within 3 to 4 days to form fermentation at around 27 to 30oC. A well-made fermented pork roll must contain finely selected and fresh meat as well as flavors used must be balance and the whole roll are perfectly wrapped. Various Vietnam travel agencies are offering available packages to Đồng Tháp Province so do not worry about missing this impeccable trade village.

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On the inside

Châu Đốc fermented fish paste

Châu Đốc fermented fish paste making village at Sam Mountain, An Giang Province manufacture multiple highly reputed types of fermented fish paste that drive a great attention of Vietnam locals in the area in every single of their visit to Châu Đốc. Châu Đốc fermented fish paste is the king of all exotic cuisine, which is made out of a great fusion of exclusively rewarded natural ingredients on this land. They are the palm sugar from the Palmyra trees found on the mountainous region, the rice mash essence coming from the rich alluvial rice paddies, and last but not least, a must-have add-in of a prosperous source of fresh-water aquatic products.

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Fermented fish paste paradise

Nowadays, many households following this type of career choose to combine traditional manual progress along with modern technology with a view to producing diversified kinds without losing the initial taste and essence. If you have a chance to visit Châu Đốc in a Vietnam countryside tour, especially the Sam Mountain’s complication, give it a go to try this type of unique delicacy.

The list of long-established trade villages in Southern Vietnam and Mekong Delta virtually does not end here. However, these three above are the best iconic candidates that give you a good look into a part of Mekong soul, which plays an important role in offering you the finest essential Vietnam tour you have ever found.

A day at a Mekong homestay, Vietnam

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Roughly within five years back or so, a type of accommodation known as the homestay in Vietnam has been gradually seen as a boom that contributed greatly to the evolvement in the tourism industry of the country. Homestay is operated targeted at customers whose demand for authentic and diverse experiences is growing, besides the need for a typical Vietnam cultural tour and a regular place for sleep such as hotels, motels or resorts. A tropical Asian country like Vietnam seems to have it all. Each specific region is likely to bring out a unique prism for travelers based on the area’s special characteristics. A review below walks you through several well-known homestays in the land of Mekong Delta, Southern Vietnam just in case you are planning for an upcoming Vietnam culture tours.

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Mekong Delta

What is a homestay?

Homestay is a classification of accommodation where tourists are able to stay and live alongside with their local hosts in a city they visit. Realistically, besides its role as a place to sleep or simply stay in, a homestay provides its guests with multiple experiences and activities planned by the host family such as shopping at a local market, cooking with the host members or just a daily chit-chat and so on.

What can a homestay in Mekong offer you?

Let’s pick Vĩnh Long as the first destination in this list. This province is precisely located right in the middle of the large Mekong Delta, neighbored by Tiền Giang, Bến Tre, Trà Vinh, Đồng Tháp and Cần Thơ, all of which frequently show up in various Vietnam culture tours. An Bình Islet in Vĩnh Long is a highly reputed domain appealing a lot of visits of both foreign and domestic travelers. One of a wide range of homestays you can find here is hosted by Mr. Ba Lình whose business given a namesake.

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Homestay in Vĩnh Long

“Once, our family offered several travel services mostly aimed at regular visitors. Many of them departed leaving behind deep regret as not fully satisfied with the service availability here. We simply lacked a lot. From then on, we happened to offer something called a homestay where our guests could just stay over for a night. We then started to eat and cook together, it seemed like our guests had a pretty local life, just like we did. They seemed to really like it, by the way, something they have never had in their life by far though” – shared Ba Lình.

Staying over at a local Mekong homestay rewards you with many activities such as catching fish in a muddy ditch, cycling around rural villages, harvesting tropical fruits, boat sailing, gardening, planting, preparing a meal with the host families or enjoying Đờn Ca Tài Tử folklore performance and the list go on. An Bình Islet welcomes foreign visitors almost every single day alongside with several Vietnamese paying a visit mainly on weekends. Friendliness, comfort, helpfulness, and smiles are the impressive attraction of locals in here. Typical architecture found here is made out of natural materials such as wood or bamboo, something the extremely Mekong for the best taste of the real Southwest Vietnam ever.

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Cycling

The following candidate in the list is Tiền Giang Province, a neighboring city of Vĩnh Long as mentioned. Happy Farm Tiền Giang Homestay is a familiar name in the Vietnamese wanderlust community. Highlight in the campus of Happy Farm Tiền Giang Homestay is a greenish natural space bringing a serene and relaxing ambiance. Visitors stopping by this site for a couple of days will be able to run away from the hustle and bustle of crowded cities back home. Happy Farm is a promised land giving you a chance to learn deeply about Mekong culture and daily life of Mekong citizens. Tree planting, gardening, hens feeding, fruits harvesting, joining in a cooking class and visiting surrounding veggies farms offer both educational and unique experiences, especially for those who travel with children. This is basically the best of culture tour in Vietnam you can ever find.

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Catching fish in a muddy ditch

Beside Mekong Delta, other lands across the country you can seek for the best types of both traditional and modern homestays are Dalat, a Central Highland city, Sapa, a famous Northwestern mountainous highland in Lào Cai Province or Danang and Hoian Old Quarter in the Central coastal part of Vietnam. These cities, apart from such type of accommodation, will be surely able to provide the best Vietnam culture tours at the same time.