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


IDD code: ( + 84 ) 67 / pop 150,000
A new town carved from the jungles and swamps of the Mekong Delta region, Cao Lanh doesn't offer much appeal aside from its proximity to bird sanctuaries and Rung Tram (Tram Forest) - both major attractions reachable by boat.
Dong Thap Tourist ( 2 Ð Doc Binh Kieu) is a friendly, helpful outfit that can arrange boat and other tours of the surrounding area. Expect to pay around US$25 per person for a group of two or three to arrange a boating trip for the day. A boat-station branch office (Tell: 821 054) handles boat tours from a landing in My Hiep village.
Internet access is available at the post office (85 Ð Nguyen Hue; per hr 4000d). Exchange cash at the Incombank (Tell: 822 030; Ð Nguyen Hue) or the State Bank of Vietnam (Tell: 852198; 50 Đ Ly Thuong Kiet).
The well-designed Dong Thap Museum (admission free; 7-11.30am & 1.30-5pm) is among the best museums in the Mekong. The 1st floor displays an anthropological history of Dong Thap province, with exhibits of tools, sculpture, models of traditional houses and a few stuffed animals. The 2nd floor is devoted to war history and, of course, to Ho Chi Minh. All interpretive signs are in Vietnamese.
Situated on the eastern edge of town off Hwy 30, the War Memorial (Dai Liet Si) is Cao Lanh's most prominent landmark. This socialist-style sculpture features a clamshell-shaped building with a large Vietnamese star alongside a hammer and sickle; concrete statues of victorious peasants and soldiers front the building. The surrounding grounds are decked out with the graves of over 3000 VC who died while fighting in the American War.
Another significant tomb here is that of Nguyen Sinh Sac (1862-1929). Nguyen's main contribution to Vietnamese history was being Ho Chi Minhs father. His tomb (Lang Cu Nguyen Sinh Sac) occupies 1 hectare about 1km southwest of Cao Lanh.
Although various plaques (in Vietnamese) and tourist pamphlets extol Nguyen Sinh Sac as a great revolutionary, there is little evidence confirming that he was involved in the anti-colonial struggle against the French.
Binh Minh Hotel (Tell: 853 423; 157 Ð Hung Vuong; r with fan/air-con 60,000/100,000d; Owned by a friendly English-speaking school teacher, this is Cao Lanh's cheapest and most basic place to stay, with cold-water bathrooms and bare rooms.
Xuan Mai Hotel (Tell: 852 852; fax 856 776; 33 Ð Le Qui Don; r ind breakfast 130,000-150,000d; Behind the post office, Xuan Mai has tidy, newly carpeted rooms, all with hot water and bathtubs. For the money, it's the best value in town.
Thien An Hotel (Tell: 853 041; 142 Quoc Lo 30; r US$10; This simple place is fairly priced for its clean, moderately sized rooms. It's about 500m from the War Memorial.
Hoa Binh Hotel (Tell: 851469; fax 851 218; Quoc Lo 30; r US$15-20; Opposite the War Memorial, this salmon-coloured building has spacious, carpeted rooms with hardwood furniture and sizeable windows.
Song Tra Hotel (Tell: 852 624; fax 852 625; 178 Ð Nguyen Hue;rUS$14-23) Recently renovated, the Song Tra has clean rooms with big windows and colourful bedspreads. Rooms in back are quieter. There's a lift.
Tinh Dong Thap Hotel (Tell/fax; 872 669; 48 Ð Ly Thuong Kiet; r/ste 200,000/600,000d; Opened in 2005, this attractive Communist party-run hotel has spotless rooms with polished floors and big windows. Suites, while pricey, are enormous and large enough to accommodate a family or politburo chief.
Cao Lanh is famous for chuot dong (rice-field rats) and it's as good a place as any to sample the local delicacy!
A Chau ( Tell: 852 202; 42 Ð ly Thuong Kiet; mains 15,000-40,000d);This place specialises in banh xeo (fried pancakes) that you roll up and dip in fish sauce. The lau de (goat hotpot) is also flavourful.
Tu Hao (Tell: 852 589; Ð Dien Bien Phu; mains 25,000-45,000d). Tu Hao serves all kinds of barbecued food, with decent eel dishes and cuon banh trang (fresh spring rolls).
Ngoc Lan (Tell: 851498; 208 Đ Nguyen Hue; mains 20,000-50,000d) You'll find friendly service and home-style cooking at this restaurant on the main road. Enticing options: cuttlefish with ginger and shrimp with cauliflower.
San Vuon (Tell: 871 988; 57 Ð Le Duan; mains 55,000-55,000d) A bamboo-filled interior and lush landscaping makes for a peaceful selling at San Vuon. A big menu features the usual menagerie of dishes (frog, rat, snake, lobster as well as good grilled beef and chicken).Tan Nghia (Tell: 871 989; 331 Đ Le Duan; mains 50,000-90,000d) With a good location beside the river, this open-sided spot serves tasty local favourites, including grilled meats and seafood.
Getting There & Around
The road between Cao Lanh and Long Xuyen is beautiful but has few buses. You'll probably need to hire your own vehicle to take that route, but try your luck at the bus station next to the market.
The sights around Cao Lanh are best visited by river. Although you could possibly arrange something privately with boat owners, you'll probably find it easier - though more expensive - to deal with Dong Thap Tourist. Plan on spending US$25 to US$30 for a half-day boating tour.