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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  colourful floating markets, which hug the banks of wide stretches of river. Most market folk set out early to avoid the sunlight, so you should 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.

Improved roads and public transport mean that some of the smaller, rural floating markets are disappearing, but many of the larger markets near urban areas are still  going rapidly .

Rural areas of Can Tho province, which is famous  for their durian, mangosteen and orange orchards, can be easily got  from Can Tho by boat or bicycle

Sights & Activities

Cai Rang Floating Market 
Cai Rang is just 6km from Can Tho in the direction of Soc Trang, which is the  biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta. There is a bridge here that serves as a great vantage point for photography. The market is the most lively  before 9am,  even though  some vendors hang out until noon.

It is quite  an experience to  watch  this in full swing, yet  it’s well worth getting up  extra early to beat the tour-group crowds or  travellers  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 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 around  10 minutes to get  the market.

Phong Dien Floating Market 
Called  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 get here by road.

A boat trip here will  require a 3.30am start (return 600,000d), but travellers should  arrange it the day before. It is theoretically possible to do a whirlwind boat trip, visiting the small canals on  the way and ending  back at the Cai Rang floating market. This trip should take around  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) Bang Lang, which is on the road between Can Tho and Long Xuyen, (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  an absolutely incredible sight (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 Thoi An hamlet  saying ‘Ap Von Hoa’. Coming 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 – can be reached  on foot within 30 minutes, or visitors  can arrange  a motorbike taxi for about 20,000d.

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