|SOC TRANG PROVINCE
Coordinates: 9°40′N 105°50′E
Region Mekong Delta
Capital Soc Trang
Area 3,311.6 km2
• Total 1,303,700
• Density 394/km2
• Ethnicities Kinh, Khmer
Calling code 079
The province has flat terrain with the absolute height from 0.4 - 1.5m. In general, the topography form of Soc Trang is like a basin, the higher region is near Hau River and the lower region goes gradually toward Dong sea. The lowest area is in the West and the North West.
Influenced by oceanic weather, the province has two seasons: the rainy season lasts from May to November and dry season lasts from December to April next year. Annual average temperature is 27oC. Annual rainfall is 1,840mm. All the year round is possible time to visits Soc Trang. But the best time to visit this area is in the dry season to avoid unexpected rains.
The name of Soc Trang comes from a Khmer name “Srock Kh’leang” which means “a place to store silver”. This place is also where most of Khmer people live. Therefore, beside Kinh’s culture (the major people in Vietnam), visitors can see the Khmer cultural characteristics everywhere, especially at Khmer pagodas.
Pagoda is the highlight in Soc Trang Province. Most were built under the influence of Khmer culture. Thus, it is easy to recognize the unique designs of Khmer people with scrupulous attention to detail. On a trip to Soc Trang, visitors should not miss the chance to visit Doi Pagoda or Bat Pagoda which is the most famous pagoda in this province. The pagoda presents Khmer arts, with skillful, symbolic decorations on its pillars and roof and splendid relieves and statues. The pagoda is not only famous for its beautiful architecture, but also for its very large roof that houses tens of thousands of bats. Some have wingspans of more than a meter and resemble large ripe pears as they hang upside down from the upper branches. Other which cannot be missed is Kh’leang pagoda - one of the most ancient pagodas in Soc Trang, features an architectural style similar to the pagodas of Cambodia. Built in 1533, it was originally made of wood with a roof thatched with palmed leaves. The pagoda later reconstructed with brick, and the roof was covered with tiles. The Khleang Pagoda also houses writings from ancient books, which tell about the origins of Soc Trang and the pagoda. The Clay Pagoda is famous for its clay Buddhist statures and dragon sculptures. There are also 6 giant candles here, which can keep burning for 60 years. One more well-known pagoda is Chen Kieu pagoda where you will be impressed by the sophisticated design by Chinese.
Besides visiting historical sites, tourists can join in leisure activities in Binh An Tourist Area. This area resembles Dam Sen Cutural Park in Ho Chi Minh City, but in smaller scale. Coming here, tourists have opportunities to join many recreation and entertainment activities. The Binh An Tourist Area has stirred up the atmosphere of a peaceful town imbued with Khmer cultural identity in a province of the Mekong Delta.
Spiritual life has significant impact on people living there. Every year, Khmer people organize Ooc-Om-Boc Festival (15th day of the 10th lunar month). The main purpose of this festival is to pray to the Moon deity for abundant crops and fish from the rivers, as well as good health for the villagers. Apart from the ceremony is Ngo boat race. The Ngo boat is a tree trunk carved in the shape of a diamond with curved ends. This exciting race, organized as a cultural sport festival, attracts hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators.
Soc Trang is 231km from Ho Chi Minh City, 60km from Can Tho. National Highways No.1A links the province and Can Tho, Bac Lieu.