VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

Mekong Delta

My Tho - Around My Tho - Ben tre - Around Ben Tre - Vinh Long - Tra Vinh - Around Tra Vinh - Sa Dec - Cao Lanh - Around Cao Lanh - Can Tho - Soc Trang Around Can Tho - Around Soc Trang - Bac Lieu - Around Bac lieu - Ca Mau - Around Ca Mau - Nam Can - Long Xuyen - Around Long Xuyen - Chau Doc - Around Chau Doc - Ba Chuc - Tuc Dup Hill - Ha Tien - Around Ha Tien
Hon Chong - Rach Gia - Phu Quoc Island

AROUND CAN THO

Perhaps the biggest drawcard of the delta is its colourful floating markets, which are on the banks of wide stretches of river. Most market folk begin early to avoid the daytime heat, so try to visit between 6am and 8am. The tides, however, are also a factor as bigger boats must often wait until the water is high enough for them to navigate.
Some of the smaller, rural floating markets are disappearing, largely because of improved roads and access to private and public transport. Many of the larger markets near urban areas, however, are still going strong.
Rural areas of Can Tho province, renowned for their durian, mangosteen and orange orchards, can easily be reached from Can Tho by boat or bicycle.

Cai Rang Floating Market
Just 6km from Can Tho in the direction of Soc Trang is Cai Rang, the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta. There is a bridge here thai serves as a great vantage point lor photography. The market is best before 9am, although some vendors hang out until noon, it's less lively by then.
Cai Rang can be seen from the road, but getting there is far more interesting by boat. From the market area in Can Tho it takes about an hour by river, or you can drive So the Cau Dau Sau boat landing (by the Dau Sau Bridge), from where it takes only about 10 minutes to reach the market.

Phong Dien Floating Market
Perhaps the best floating market in the Mekong Delta, Phong Dien has fewer motorised craft and more stand-up rowing boats. It's less crowded than Cai Rang and there are far fewer tourists. The market is at its bustling best be tween 6am and Sam. It is 20km southwest of Can Tho and most get there by road.
It is theoretically possible to do a whirlwind boat trip here, visiting the small canals on the way and finishing back at the Cai Rang floating market. This journey should take approximately five hours return from Can Tho.

Phung Hiep Floating Market
Until recently, the small town of Phung Hiep was notable for its eerie snake market. In 1998, however, a national law banned the capture and sale of snakes in an effort to control the rapidly multiplying rat population (due to a relative absence of snakes), which had been devastating rice crops. Snake sellers through out the country are now forced to operate underground.
These days the cages that used to swell with cobras and pythons are empty, and Phung Hiep is now just a regular market. There is a small-scale floating market under the bridge and boats can be hired here for a tour along the river.
Phung Hiep is right on Hwy 1,35km from Can Tho in the direction of Soc Trang.

Stork Garden
On the road between Can Tho and Long Xuyen. Vuon Co (admission 2000d; 5am-6pm) is a 1.3-hectare stork sanctuary. It is a popular stop for group tours coming to view the thou sands of resident storks. There is a tall wooden viewing platform. The best times of day to see the birds are around dawn and dusk.
Vuon Co is in the Thot Not district, about 15km southeast of Long Xuyen. Look for a sign in the hamlet of Thoi An: 'Ap Von Hoa'; coming from Can Tho the sign is on the west side of the road, immediately alter a small bridge. It is a few kilometres off the main highway - reachable on foot within 30 minutes, or hire a motorbike taxi for about 5000d.