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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.

Sights & Activities

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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