Thứ Bảy, 3 tháng 10, 2015

Around Can Tho

Around Can Tho
Arguably the  biggest drawcard of the delta is its  bustling  floating markets, which hug the banks of wide stretches of river. Most of the 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  going strong.

Rural areas of Can Tho province, which is renowned 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, the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta. A bridge here serves  as a great vantage point for photography. The market is  best before 9am,  although some vendors hang out until noon.

It is quite  an experience to observe  this in full swing, yet  it’s well worth getting up earlier  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  getting here is  far more exciting  by boat (US$6). From the market area in Can Tho  it takes about an hour by river, or visitors  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 
Known as  the Mekong Delta’s best floating market,  Phong Dien has fewer motorised craft and more stand-up rowing boats. Less crowded than Cai Rang, Phong Dien has much  fewer tourists. It’s at its bustling best from 6am to 8am. The market is 20km southwest of Can Tho; most visitors can get here by road.

A boat trip here will  require a 3.30am start (return 600,000d), but  visitors  need to arrange it the day before. It is theoretically necessary  to do a whirlwind boat trip, visiting the small canals on route  and ending  back at the Cai Rang floating market. It should take  about  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 great  1.3-hectare bird sanctuary with  amazing  views of thousands of resident storks. From a tall viewing platform, visitors can see  the storks filling the branches; it’s really an incredible sight  (the best times of day are around dawn and dusk).

Bang Lang  is in the Thot Not district, about 15km southeast of Long Xuyen.  Look for a sign in Thoi An hamlet  saying ‘Ap Von Hoa’. From  Can Tho the sign is on the west side of the road, right  after a small bridge. It is  a couple of kilometres off the main highway –  reachable on foot within 30 minutes, or  travellers  can arrange  a motorbike taxi for about 20,000d.