The largest city in the Mekong, Can Tho is a buzzing town with a lively waterfront and a colorful mix of narrow back streets and wide boulevards that make for some rewarding exploration – especially after a few days spent in the wild. As the political, economic, cultural and transportation centre of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho hums with activity; while its access to nearby floating markets make it a major draw for tourists who come here to boat along the myriad canals and rivers leading out of town.
Sightseeing in Can Tho
Ninh Kieu Wharf – Located close to the centre of the city on the bank of the Hau River, a tributary of the Mekong River. It is the city’s main trading centre. Hundreds of boats ply up and down the river bringing products from the rest of Mekong Delta region. Close to Ninh Kieu Wharf is the Can Tho Harbor, which was built according to modern design to accommodate ships weighing up to 5,000 tons.
Ong Pagoda – Built from 1894 to 1896, Ong Pagoda is the center of the cultural and religious activities for Chinese living in Can Tho. Quan Cong, a General of the three-kingdom period in ancient China, as an example of loyalty to his King, Nam Hai Bodhisattva Kwan Yin, Thai Bach Tinh Quan, the Genie of the Earth, and Dong Vinh are all worshipped here.
Binh Thuy Communal House – Known in the past as Long Tuyen Communal House, it is located in Binh Thuy Ward, 5km from the centre of Can Tho City. On November 1893, the communal house was first built by Emperor Tu Duc. Since that time, the house has been rebuilt once and it was completely renovated in 1910. The architecture of the Binh Thuy Communal House is different from the communal houses in the North. For example, the main temple, at the rear, has three roofs. The top of the roof is covered with ornamentation of people, lion and fish transforming into dragons. In the front of the building, there are cement columns. Notably, there is a opera house for performance of classical Vietnamese drama in front of the communal house. Every year, in this house, the local people organize Binh Thuy Communal House Festival in 12th, 14th days of the 4th lunar month (Thuong Dien Ceremony) and 14th, 15th days of the 12th lunar month (Ha Dien Ceremony) to pray for a peaceful existence. There is a procession dedicated to the spirit and a famous cake baking competition.
Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary – Located in Thot Not District, on the way from Can Tho City to Long Xuyen. The sanctuary covers an area of 19,400km2 and is home to tens of thousands of storks. Along a small river, visitors will see a vast waters surrounded by clusters of bamboo. In the early, thousands of storks fly to search for food and return in the evening, creating a peaceful scene in the rural area of the Mekong Delta.
Floating Market in Can Tho – Situated on the banks of the wide stretches of rivers. Cai Rang and Phong Dien Floating Markets are two of the major markets in Can Tho. Each morning, hundreds of boats gather to form a market. Trading activities take place all day, but the most exciting time is in the morning when boats are loaded with agricultural products. In floating markets, trading activities take place in boats. Buyers should see the goods hang on the poles at the boat prow. Other food services also take place in boats. From the floating restaurant on the Hau River, dinners can enjoy the specialties of the province and watch hundreds of boats sail by.
Cai Rang Floating Market – 5 km from the centre of Can Tho City in the direction of Soc Trang Province. The market is at its bustling between 6am to 9am. Cai Rang can be seen from the road, but getting there by boat is more interesting. From Ninh Kieu Wharf it takes about half an hour to reach the market.
Phong Dien Floating Market – 17km from the centre of Can Tho City in the same direction to Cai Rang Floating Market. The local fruits and local products are displayed in this market. The best time to visit this market between 6am to 9am.