Thứ Bảy, 3 tháng 10, 2015
Around Can Tho
Around Can Tho
Arguably the largest drawcard of the delta is its bustling floating markets, hugging the banks of wide stretches of river. Most market folk set out early to avoid the daytime heat, so try to visit between 6am and 8am and beat the tourist tide. The real 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 because of improved roads and public transport, but many of the larger markets near urban areas are still developing strong.
Rural areas of Can Tho province, known for their durian, mangosteen and orange orchards, can be easily got 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, thelargest floating market in the Mekong Delta. A bridge here serves as a great vantage point for photography. The market is the most lively before 9am, although some vendors hang out until noon.
It is quite a new experience to see this in full swing, yet it’s well worth getting up extra early to beat the tour-group crowds or visitors may end up seeing almost as many foreigners as market traders.
Cai Rang can be seen from the road, but reaching here is much more interesting by boat (US$6). From the market area in Can Tho it takes about an hour by river, or you can drive to 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 Mekong Delta’s best floating market, there is fewer motorised craft and more stand-up rowing boats in Phong Dien . Less crowded than Cai Rang, there are also far fewer tourists. It’s at its bustling best between 6am and 8am. The market is 20km southwest of Can Tho; most tourists can reach here by road.
A boat trip here will require a 3.30am start (return 600,000d), but visitors should arrange it the day before. It is theoretically possible to do a whirlwind boat trip, visiting the small canals on route and finishing back at the Cai Rang floating market. It should take approximately five hours return from Can Tho.
For trips on smaller boats (US$4 per hour), operators can be found along Ð Hai Ba Trung by the river, but inspect boats first; the faster alternative is to take a xe om or taxi and then arrange a boat at the other end.
(admission 20,000d; 5am-6pm) On the road between Can Tho and Long Xuyen, Bang Lang (also called Vuon Co) is a magnificent 1.3-hectare bird sanctuary with attractive views of thousands of resident storks. From a tall viewing platform, visitors can see the storks filling the branches; it’s really an amazing view (the best times of day are around dawn and dusk).
Bang Lang which is about 15km southeast of Long Xuyen, is in the Thot Not district. Serach for a sign in the hamlet of Thoi An saying ‘Ap Von Hoa’. Departing Can Tho the sign is on the west side of the road, right after a small bridge. It is 2 km off the main highway – reachable on foot within 30 minutes, or travellers can arrange a motorbike taxi for about 20,000d.
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