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Around Can Tho

AROUND CAN THO

Perhaps the biggest dewcard of the delta is its colourful floating markets, Unlike the floating markets you may have seen in Thailan, where small wooden boats thread narrow canals, most floating marting markets here are one on the banks of wide stretches of river. Most open early to avoid the day time heat, so try to visit between 6am to 8am. The tides, however are also a factor as bigger boats must often wait until the water is hig enough for them to navigate.

Today, a number of the smaller, rural floating markets are sisappearing, largely due to improved roads and access to private and public transport. Many of the larger markets

ear urban areas, however, are still going strong.

Rural arias of Cantho province, renowned for their durian, mangosteen and arange orchards, can easily be reached from Cantho by boat or bicycle.

Cai Rang Floating Market

Just 6km from Cantho in the direction of Soc Trang is Cai Rang, the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta. There is a bridge here that seves as a great vantage point for photography. The market is best before 9am, and though some vendors hang ouut until noon, it’s less lively by then.

Cai Rang canbe seen from the road, but it is far more intereting to reach by boat. From the market area in Cantho, it takes about an hour by river, or you can drive to the Cau Dau Sau boat landing, from where it only takes about 10 minutes to reach the market.

Phong Dien Floating Market

This is perhaps the best floating market in the Mekong Delta, as there are fewer motorised craft here and more stand up rowing boats. It’s less crowded than Cai Rang, and there are far fewer tourists. The market is at its bustling best between 1am and 8am. Phong Dien is 20km southwest of Cantho and most get there by road.

It is theoretically possible to do a whirlwind boat trip here, visiting the small canals on the way and finishing back at the Cai Rang floating market. This journey shold take approvimately five hours return from Can Tho.

Phuong Hiep Market

Until recently, the small town of Phung HIep was notable for its eerie snake market. In 1998, however, a new national law banned the capture and sale of snakes in an effort to control the rapidly multiplying rat population which had been devastating rice crops. Snake sellers throughout the country are now forced to operate underground.

These days the snake cages that used to swell with cobras and phythons are empty, and Phuong Hiep is back to being a regular market. There is a small scale floating market under the bridge and boats can be hired here for a tour along the river.

Phung HIep is right on National Hwy 1, and is 35km from Cantho in the direction of Soc Trang.

Stock Garden

Vuong Co ( addmission) is a 1.3 hactare stork sanctuary on the road between Cantho and Long Xuyen. It is a popular between Cantho and Long Xuyen. It is a popular stop for group tours, who come to view the thousands of storks that reside here. There is a tall wooden viewing platform, and the best times of day to see the birds are from 5am to 6am, and again between 4pm to 6pm.

Vuon Co is in the Thot Not district, about 15km southeast of Long Xuyen, look for a sign in the hamlet of Thai An, “ Ap Von Hoa” coming from Cantho the sign is on the west side of the road, immediately after a small bridge. It is a few kilometres off the main hwy. walk to it about 30 minutes, orhire a motorbike taxi for about 10,000d.

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