The clay pagoda with candles that have burnt for 50 years | Mekong Delta Tour

the-pagoda-looks-like-a-resident-house-hellovietnam

Amidst the new modern buildings and houses of Soc Trang City quietly nestles a small pagoda called “Buu Son Tu” (Buu Son Pagoda), which is only more than a hundred years old. Small and new as it might seem, Buu Son Pagoda, also called “Dat Set” Pagoda (the Clay Pagoda) is a hub for not only Buddhist followers but also travelers when paying a Mekong Delta tour. The pagoda has gained its reputation for its special clay sculptures and giant candles that have burnt continuously for more than 50 years.

the-pagoda-looks-like-a-resident-house-hellovietnam
The pagoda looks like a resident house

History

Despite officially named “Buu Son Tu”, the pagoda is better known as “Chua Dat Set” – the clay pagoda, because of all 1991 small to big statues, 02 towers, 04 mythological animals, 04 giant candles and 03 super tall incenses, are made from clay.
According to the descendants of the Ngo Family, in the early 20th century, the pagoda was just a small temple used as a private practicing place for a man named Ngo Kim Tay. His son – Ngo Kim Dinh had a son called Ngo Kim Tong, who had a really bad health condition. When he turned 20, his family supposed he could not recover from a serious sickness so they took him to this family temple to pray and practice Buddhism teachings. Miraculously, he became healthier. Hence, Ngo Kim Tong decided to follow Buddhism and became the abbot of this pagoda.

all-the-statues-are-made-from-clay-hellovietnam
All the statues are made from clay

In 1928, when he was restoring the pagoda, he dreamed that the Buddha showed him to the west to get the clay to build statues. In spite of not having undergone any sculpture or architecture classes, he has created valuable sculpture works of significant religious values.

Architecture

Aside from its sacred religious atmosphere, it’s the architecture that makes the pagoda a must-see for a Mekong Delta tour. The Clay Pagoda is situated in a 400-square-meter, looking nothing much different from other resident houses of the locals. The building is not big, with a metal roof, wooden frames, and wall. The back side of the pagoda faces the street. The roof has 02 layers with the spire architecture on the top and a lower roof spreading like wings.
The pagoda consists of several small sections including the entrance gate, the outside altars, and the palaces to worship the Buddha, Buddhist deities, and the Jade. There are also small temples 9to worship the mythological animals, the ancestors of Ngo Family, the Earth God, etc.

a-sophisticated-sculpture-in-the-pagoda-hellovietnam
A sophisticated sculpture in the pagoda

Taking a Mekong Delta culture tour to the pagoda, travelers would not help themselves from claiming when seeing the exquisite clay works here. Ngo Kim Tong contributed his 42 years to make 1901 small to big Buddha statues, more than 200 animal sculptures, and several towers and censers. The most outstanding works among them are the 13-floor Da Bao Tower with 208 clay Buddha statues and 156 dragons, Bao Toa Tower with 1000 statues on 1000 clay lotus petals, and Luc Long Dang – the 6-dragon light. Those complicatedly designed clay products demonstrate the delicate care of the sculptor. It is the results of not only the skillful hand of the maker but also the pure mind of a loyal Buddhist follower.

The candles that have burnt for tens of years

Admiring the over-lighting candles in the Clay Pagoda is one of the top things to do in Mekong Delta. In the very last years of his life, Sir Ngo Kim Tong stopped making sculptures and turned to cast candles. He bought the pure wax without impurities from Saigon and melted it out to make candles. As the sizes of the candles are too big to fit any molds, he used the steel (for metal roofing) to shape giant molds of 2.6 meters high to pour the melted wax to make candles. It took 2 days to finish 1 candle and 1 month for it to become completely dry. Ngo Kim Tong also carves words and dragons along the candles to make them more appealing.

the-candles-have-burnt-for-tens-of-years-hellovietnam
The candles have burnt for tens of years

Having continuously done this work for months, he cast 06 huge wax candles, each of which weighs 200 kg and is expected to light in 70 years, and 02 smaller candles weighing 100 kg. The small pair of candles were lighted in 1970 when Ngo Kim Tong passed away. It has been 48 years since then but they are expected to light for 4-5 years more till it burns out.
Furthermore, there are also 3 super-tall incenses in the pagoda. Each of them is 1.5 meters high and weighs 50 kg. It is believed that once it is lighted, it would take years to burn out.
The Clay Pagoda does not have either excellent exterior architecture or a large size, yet it is still a unique pagoda that can hardly be found anywhere else. It is a one-of-a-kind spiritual destination for Mekong Delta private tour, where visitors can immerse yourselves in the quiet and sacred space and blow away the stress and fatigue of life.

  1. Best things to do for an exciting Mekong Delta tour
  2. Mekong Delta traditional trade villages | Three unique prisms
  3. Best Tours In Vietnam: Destination, And Activities.

Visit pretty bonsai villages in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam

My-Tho-flower-village-helloVietnam

The Mekong Delta of Vietnam is a charming land with a lot of stunning destination, hospitable and friendly people, and pretty bonsai villages. In addition to the large attractive orchards, you can visit a lot of beautiful bonsai villages in your Mekong Delta tour. Especially, in the spring, you can enjoy the best tours in Vietnam in these heavens of flowers and bonsai.

1. Tan Dong Quy Village

Tan Dong Quy village is located in Sa Dec town, Dong Thap province. It is one of the biggest centers of flowers in the east Mekong Delta. This is one of the most attractive tourist destinations that you shouldn’t miss in your Mekong Delta tour for family, especially in the late winter, right before the Tet holiday. At that time, this land looks like a colorful sea of flowers with millions of flowers blooming and showing their gorgeous beauty.

Tan-Dong-Quy-village-helloVietnam
Tan Dong Quy village

There are chrysanthemum, lily, gerbera, marigold, chrysanthemum morifolium, etc. Besides, there are jardinières of hollyhock mallow, dahlia flowers, ornamental pepper, and hundreds of South Vietnam rare plants.

Flower-garden-in-Tan-Dong-Quy-helloVietnam
Flower garden in Tan Dong Quy

In the time before Tet, this village welcomes a lot of visitors coming here for sight-seeing, taking photos, and buying flowers for Tet. It creates a bustling atmosphere and makes you feel the happy atmosphere of Vietnamese traditional Tet.

2. Cai Mon Village

Cai Mon is one of the most famous flower villages which is known as the “kingdom” of bonsai. This village is located in Vinh Thanh commune, Cho Lach district, Ben Tre province. Like other flower villages, Cai Mon is most busy before Tet. Many trucks filled with flowers and bonsai are heading towards many other regions of Vietnam from this village.

Flower-field-in-Cai-Mon-village-helloVietnam
Flower field in Cai Mon village

Visiting Cai Mon flower village, you can see how the villagers grow these flowers and trees. You can visit the flower fields, seedling nurseries, and bonsai shaping area. Villagers in Cai Mon grow a great number of flower species, including marigolds, paper flowers, daisy, chrysanthemum morifolium, dahlias, carnations, etc. Besides, you can see many beautiful bonsais which age hundreds of years old like the apricot blossom, fig tree, Chinese banyan, star-fruit tree or Carmona microphylla that are bent into artistic shapes.

3. My Tho Village

Another flower village you shouldn’t miss in your Mekong Delta group tour is My Tho. Although it’s not as famous and large as Tan Dong Quy village and Cai Mon village, it’s still a must-see destination. It’s located nearest to Saigon, only about 70km. So, you can easily get there from the city. Obviously, the busiest time of this village is before and during the Tet holiday when thousands of visitors come here for a sight-seeing trip at Tet. Walking through a sea of colorful flowers in the bustling atmosphere of Tet, you will have a really enjoyable trip with a lot of fun and happiness.

My-Tho-flower-village-helloVietnam
My Tho flower village

There are many kinds of beautiful flowers in this village like chrysanthemum, yellow sophora japonica, chrysanthemum morifolium, Dutch chrysanthemum, cockscomb, lisianthus, gerbera and more.

4. Phuoc Dinh Village

The next destination in your Mekong Delta tour is Phuoc Dinh village which is major in apricot blossom. This pretty village is said to be the “capital” of apricot in South Vietnam. Located about 3km to the city center of Vinh Long, this pretty village is the most famous apricot flower village in Vietnam, recognized since 2009.

Apricot-flower-helloVietnam
Apricot flower

Now, there are over 550 apricot trees that are over 100 years old in this village, 1000 trees aging 50 to 100 years old, and hundreds of under-50-year-old apricot trees. These trees are grown, watered, and looked after carefully. Therefore, the flowers look very beautiful, lush, and charming. Every year before Tet, a lot of people come to this village buy a pot of apricot tree to decorate their house on Tet holiday. And during the Tet holiday, this pretty village attracts a great number of visitors to come for sight-seeing.

An-old-apricot-tree-in-Phuoc-Dinh-helloVietnam
An old apricot tree in Phuoc Dinh

These are the four most beautiful, attractive, and famous villages of flower and bonsai in the Mekong Delta. Visiting South Vietnam, you should visit these pretty flower village and enjoy a wonderful sight-seeing trip, especially during the Tet holiday, when these lands are most stunning and colorful with millions of flowers in different kinds.

  1. Chau Giang – a peaceful Cham Village in Chau Doc
  2. Best things to do for an exciting Mekong Delta tour
  3. 5 best Vietnam holiday packages

A Mekong Delta tour in the peerless Binh An Drum Village

craftsman-make-a-drum-helloVietnam

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.

drums-in-festivals-helloVietnam

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.

craftsman-make-a-drum-helloVietnam

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.

louder-sound-of-drums-helloVietnam

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.

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

hu-tieu-in-floating-markets-helloVietnam

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

 fresh-fruit-in-the-mekong-delta-helloVietnam

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)

 hu-tieu-in-floating-markets-helloVietnam

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)

 what-to-eat-in-floating-markets-helloVietnam

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!

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

feeding-crocodiles-helloVietnam

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.

My-Khanh-Tourist-Village-helloVietnam

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.

A-corner-in-My-Khanh-Tourist-Village-helloVietnam

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.

fresh-fruit-gardens-helloVietnam

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.

feeding-crocodiles-helloVietnam

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.

pig-racing-a-unique-game-in-My-Khanh-Village-helloVietnam

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

Model-of-a-step-in-a-traditional-wedding-of-the-Khmer-helloVietnam

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.

The-whole-museum-complex-from-above-helloVietnam

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.

Another-angle-of-the-museum-helloVietnam

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.

The-front-yard-of-the-museum-helloVietnam

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.

Another-side-of-the-museum-helloVietnam

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.

A-corner-inside-the-museum-helloVietnam

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.

Ancient-model-display-of-Khmer-culture-helloVietnam

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.

Tools-used-in-fishing-of-the-Khmer

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.

Model-of-a-step-in-a-traditional-wedding-of-the-Khmer-helloVietnam

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.

Illustration-of-a-stage-play-helloVietnam

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.

Different-kinds-of-instruments-helloVietnam

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.

A far-out floating market in Southern Vietnam only natives know

Abundant-tropical-fruits-helloVietnam

Many of you may have heard a lot about our sensational Cái Răng floating market that pops up a lot on mainstream travel magazines. This can be used as one of the biggest icons gaining a reputation for the wetland of Mekong Delta and ending alluvial soil located at the end of Vietnam. However, is it an actual fact that the large Mekong Delta gave birth to the only Cái Răng floating market? The answer is obviously NO. Today’s post is walking you to another highly well-known floating market in the lives of local Mekong citizens, but not foreign travelers. Let’s dive in!

Ngã-Năm-in-its-first-hours-helloVietnam

Ngã Năm in its first hours

Mekong Delta, born with a spectacular tropical monsoon climate featured a richly fed alluvial soil, is able to give out a prosperous amount of tropic fruits you are possibly having at home. The number of harvested fruits in this wetland turned out to be over-counting that led peasants to a need of trading. As you may beware after getting advice about several Mekong Delta tours, this ending domain of Vietnam is packed with an immense network of rivers and canals, which means traveling and trading on the water surface have become something impeccably essential. The locals, accordingly, tend to transfer collected crops to a section of a river close by as a business gathering venue or let’s say, floating trading fair. As time goes by, its exceeded the initial character of a habit and turned into a traditional career, which has been passed down to generations of the local sub-regional Mekong dwellers. Floating markets were then born and chosen as a highlight in your upcoming essential Vietnam tour.

Abundant-tropical-fruits-helloVietnam

Abundant tropical fruits

Ngã Năm floating market is an intersection of five different rivers: Cà Mau, Vĩnh Quới, Long Mỹ, Thạnh Trị, and Phụng Hiệp. Ngã Năm falls into the list of one of the oldest and recognized floating markets recorded all over the area of Mekong Delta. Beyond, Ngã Năm is seen as an important transit waterway spot connecting the surrounding localities such as Bạc Liêu, Cà Mau and Hậu Giang that shapes the role of this floating market. With such topography features given, Ngã Năm has witnessed an enormous potential in the local travel industry.

Sóc Trăng Province, a place where Ngã Năm floating market was born, is virtually a land with a harmony of pristine village scenery and battlefield sites. Given that fact, Sóc Trăng is definitely an offbeat destination that you should have long placed beside your list of mainstream things to do in Mekong Delta. Buddhist temples, holy shrines, warfare historical relics alongside with multiple ecotourism parks such as Tân Long Stork Garden. In terms of intangible heritages, Sóc Trăng may reward you with specific values of traditional folklore singing performance (Đờn Ca Tài Tử) and festivals. This countless number of statures will surely blow your thought of a regular Mekong Delta tour away.

Tân-Long-storks-helloVietnam

Tân Long storks

Every day at around 3 to 4 in the morning, the whole segment of the river starts getting to be a tumult as hundreds of electric boats gather up. The most crowded moment in a day is frequently roughly 5 to 7 am. During the Tết Holidays, Ngã Năm floating market will be specifically open all day round, which also means the place becomes even more packed and huddled. Right from the very first hours of a day, Ngã Năm is open for business with its center welcomes countless of boats transferring goods in an oral hubbub. Staring down from the sideway river bank, the whole area gets dazzling and shining in the twinkle tiny bulbs. Merchandise found at Ngã Năm floating market can be listed as everything, from daily consumption such as food to furnishings. Several popular types of freights are named as following: fresh food, rice, fruits, television, fridge and washing machines.

Up to now, this Ngã Năm floating market still remains its original daily activities of the local Mekong dwellers. A pleasant Mekong Delta day tour to this destination will surely give you a bonus at how diverse and impeccable the World can be.

Planning to go on a Mekong Delta Tour? Several things you need to know

Tra-Su1511429638

My friend, Amy, is going on a tour around Mekong Delta next year. Since this will be her first experience trying this, I’ve given her some advice which I believe is very useful for the trip. Have a look if you’re having the same plan!

Mekong Delta

Mekong delta’s full of green color (Source: Internet)

Know the place you’re going to

Having a basic knowledge of the Mekong Delta is the first and most important thing. Even though you’re going on a tour, prepare yourself with some key information about Mekong Delta tour. This will help you to make the right choice amidst the matrix of Vietnam tours. Below are some snippets.

The Mekong Delta stretches from Ho Chi Minh City southwest to the Gulf of Thailand. In Vietnam, it provides the biggest source of rice as a staple, yielding over a third of the country’s food crop annually. So yes, you’re going to tour through a lot of paddy fields. What’s more, the delta is home to a large area of orchards and coconut trees. 

The delta is also known as "biological treasure trove". So in case, you’re an animal lover, get ready to come across plentiful lizards and mammals! Most of these species in Mekong Delta are unique and no other places to be found.

In Vietnam, the delta is made up of nine distributaries and hundreds of streams. Hence, boats, floating houses, and markets will definitely be part of your trip and you’ll be surrounded by water.

A fruit farm in Mekong Delta

Harvesting fruit (Source: Internet)

Choose a reliable tour operator

Now find a place to put your trust in. Tour operators will play a vital role in the quality of your journey. Will they provide you with unforgettable experiences, or merely same old things that you have already been through?

I suggest you set some criteria before going for a tour operator, at least these:

First, the itinerary must be clear. You’re acknowledged about the provinces you will tour (An Giang, Can Tho, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, etc). Will those places have something unique to offer, such as fruits, biodiversity, etc.?

Secondly, you must know what activities you’re going to take part in along the trip. The tour operator should give you some information about the fees. Now measure if your budget can adapt to the cost, whether the activities are suitable for yourself and family members or not. In case you’re going with a child, ask the tour operator if he/she is entitled to a discount or any other benefit.

Thirdly, a trusting tour operator must have a business license, the staff are helpful and flexible in order to handle unwanted situations. In addition, the contract must be clear.

Remember, the quality of your Mekong Delta tour depends largely on the operator, so make a wise choice.

Be fit and safe

Obviously, you need to be in a good health condition to travel in Mekong Delta. So bring with you some basic medicines in case you’ve got down by the tropical weather.

Insurance is also recommended, as you may encounter some problems such as theft or injuries. Besides, check the location of the nearest hospitals and police stations in case of emergencies.

Last but not least, strictly follow the tour operator’s guideline! Should any problem occur, do not hesitate to ask for help. They are there to make your trip go smoothly.

Travel like a local

In this case, I mean, get involved in the local activities and go sightseeing as much as possible. Here are my top three destinations.

Cai Rang Floating Market: the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta

Tra Su Bird Sanctuary in Chau Doc: a super big home to birds

Xeo Quyt Forest: definitely one of the most worth-visited attractions in Dong Thap

Tra Su Bird Sanctuary

Tra Su Bird Sanctuary (Source: Internet)

The Mekong Delta has so much more to offer, so make a list for yourself!

A tour around Mekong Delta will surely give you a lot of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Keep in mind my advice at mekongreviews and have a good trip ahead!

Where to go in the Mekong Delta

can-tho-floating-market-helloVietnam1511927242

Thanks to the region’s diversity, a visit to Mekong Delta, which comprises 12 provinces, is so mesmerizing. There is no need to worry about where to go and what to do in the Mekong Delta. 

Can Tho

Can Tho

Can Tho (Source: Internet)

If a population of around a million people makes Can Tho the biggest city in the Mekong Delta, its vibrant student population, colorful floating markets, diverse cuisine and walkable city center make Can Tho the most popular of the Mekong Delta destinations and even one of the top must-see destinations in Vietnam.

Sprawling for miles from its waterfront promenade out to the surrounding green/yellow rice paddies and forest, Can Tho seems to be a veritable metropolis well worth visiting on a Mekong Delta tour. Most people travel here with the main aim of visiting the famous floating markets but a handful of lesser diversions on dry land will help make you excited and keep you amused in the meantime.

In Can Tho, which is imbued with the culture of water, canals are considered as streets, giving great beauty to this big city – the economic, cultural, and political center of the delta. Almost tourist to Can Tho, whose simple, poetic beauty is created by the river villages, densely populated, affluent villages hiding in the shadow of coconut trees is beginning to have doubts about how charming and exciting Can Tho floating markets are.

Can Tho Floating Market

Can Tho floating market (Source: Internet)

Having existed for a long time in the region, it basically is a market specializing in selling fruits and agricultural products of the whole region, where people sell and buy goods on water. These highly recommended markets on the water like Cai Rang floating market, Phong Dien Floating Market are famous for making the most of the experience in the countryside. In Can Tho, which is a potential landscape service for tourists, you can also pay a visit to Ninh Kieu Port and Bang Lang Garden.

What’s more? Can Tho has a lot going for it in its mixture of old and new. Some of the best restaurants in the delta, tons of proper old-school Vietnamese eateries and a pretty riverfront can be found here.

For all these fascinating features, Can Tho is a perfect starting point for anyone hoping to see what South Vietnam has to offer.

Ben Tre – the Kingdom of coconut

Ben Tre

Ben Tre (Source: Internet)

An area of fertile flatlands, extensive waterways, intricate canals, sand-hillocks, green paddy fields and lush fruit gardens, Ben Tre is not only one of the major agricultural suppliers in the Mekong Delta but also a place to visit in this region. Cultivated alluvium by the two rivers Co Chieng and Ham Luong, Cai Mon Fruit Garden in Ben Tre is the largest fruit garden in the South, where you can taste various agricultural produces, especially fruits such as coconut, durian, shaddock, etc.

Ben Tre wins travelers’ heart by the vast green orchards – the haven of fruit specialties where you are allowed to stroll around, pick the fresh fruits from the trees by yourselves and try directly as you want. In addition to this special feature of Ben Tre, this province also has other natural, cultural and historical tourist attractions for you to visit such as Vam Ho Bird Garden- where you can learn the lives of thousands of birds on the tree and satisfy your photography favorite; Dua Religion Site, Tuyen Linh Temple and Dong Khoi Village.

In terms of its scenic beauty, sleepy and laidback atmosphere, historical significance, exotic cuisine and the warm welcome of lovely locals, Ben Tre is a peaceful getaway away from the city’s chaotic vibe.

Dong Thap

Dong Thap

Dong Thap (Source: Internet)

With a jaw-dropping natural landscape rich in cultural and historical treasures, Dong Thap province which is home to three national parks: Tram Chim, Go Thap and Xeo Quyt holds great potential as a stunning and diverse tourist attraction in the Mekong Delta. On a Dong Thap tour, do not miss Thap Muoi – a large area full of brilliant lotus and purple water lily flowers in flood season; Sa Dec flower village, where you will always be welcomed by hundreds of species of precious flowers and plants. Stunning dishes to eat in Dong Thap including Rice Steamed in Lotus Leaves (Com goi la sen), Hotpot with Paddy Crab Paste (Lau rieu cua dong), Sa Dec Rice Noodle Soup (hu tieu Sa Dec), Snakehead Fish smoked in rice straw (ca loc nuong trui), Hotpot with Linh Fish and Cork Flower (Lau ca linh bong dien dien), etc. are also a reason for a trip to this spectacular province.

Whether it is Vietnam holiday or family tour, mekongreviews promises that the Mekong Delta will be a one-of-a-kind experience. 

Top destinations on a floating market tour

cai-be-floating-market-helloVietnam1512005565

Besides enormous fruits orchards, Southern folk songs, and delicious regional food specialties, the Mekong Delta also impresses tourists with its colorful and exciting floating markets. Now, mekongreviews are out there to introduce to you the top floating markets to visit in the Mekong Delta!

Cai Be Floating Market, Tien Giang

Cai Be floating market

Cai Be floating market (Source: Internet)

Located on Tan Phong islet, on the large Tien River, in Cai Be District, Tien Giang Province, Cai Be is a charming small town, where you can visit a lot of picturesque fruit and vegetable gardens, traditional crafts, a French church built in 1935 and a stunning traditional house, and especially Cai Be floating market. Even though the floating market of Cai Be is getting smaller every year, as trade is shifting more and more into modern central markets, this river market is still the principal attraction on a boat tour from Vinh Long.

As one of the most famous floating markets in the Mekong Delta area, Cai Be often starts trading from dawn until late in the afternoon. But, this busy market is at its best around 6 am, though still might comprise only a handful of boats. From 3 AM in the early morning, the waterway does become a maze of uncountable boats and rafts packed with such as pineapple, papaya, mango, bananas, and even cigarettes making this market as lively as a small city on the river. Apart from fresh fruits, there are also hawkers selling Vietnamese breakfast dishes like pho, hu tieu, grocery and even coffee. Imagine sitting comfortably on a boat, enjoying a bowl of noodles or sipping a cup of fragrant Vietnamese coffee while seeing a colorful picture of the river created by these floats flowing across each other. Such an amazing way to begin a new day!

If you are about to go on a Mekong Delta tour, it is customary to board a boat here, visit Cai Rang floating market, explore the islands and moor in Vinh Long before making your way to Can Tho.

Nga Nam floating market, Soc Trang

Nga Nam floating market

Nga Nam floating market (Source: Internet)

Each floating market in the Mekong Delta has something to make itself completely different from the rest. When it comes to Nga Nam floating market, which is the oldest and one of the busiest floating market in the South of Vietnam, it is its location at the intersection point of five rivers flowing into five different directions: onto Ca Mau, down from Phung Hien, across from Long My, through to Thanh Tri and in from Vinh Quoi.

However, Nga Nam floating market, which is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Soc Trang province, attracts travelers not only for its critical location but also a chance to explore the local’s way of living with the bustling scene, all of the business activities and life activities taking place on the boats. Though Nga Nam floating market is active with big boats, small boats, boats with five timber pieces loaded up and loaded down of goods from rice, meat, fresh fruits to other staple to TV and electronic goods from 3 am until 8 am, early in the morning, when the sun is crawling up east and many locals are ready for trading, is the best time to visit.

Tra On floating market, Vinh Long

Tra On floating market

Tra On floating market (Source: Internet)

In Tra On (Vinh Long Province), which is one of the most abundant areas of plants and fruits in Mekong River Delta, there is a relaxed, small floating market attracting tourists not for the busy atmosphere and tourist crowd but for a feeling for the rhythm of how the locals’ daily life there is.

Known as the final floating market on the Hau River, Tra On Floating Market begins a new day at around 2-3 am, when people are in their deep sleep and become busiest from 5-6 am onwards, when various boats full of fruits and seasonal agricultural products gather.

Coming to Tra On floating market, which is located outside the idyllic town at the mouth of a channel, your eyes will be feasted with strange – looking and colorful flowers and the whole exciting and lively scene with small boats served as coffee shops and food stores and your taste will be feasted with a wide range of fruits: the king orange of Tan Thanh, the star apple of Hoa Binh, the durian of Luc Si Thanh, mangoes, longan, rambutan, etc.

These floating markets are where the locals can buy goods while tourists can spread their eyes over the lively panorama around, experience how people exchanging goods, fruit and many other commodities on their vessels.