Vinh Long

An hour further south from My Tho is the riverside town of Vinh Long. The canal network and villages surrounding Vinh Long are more rural than those seen in My Tho, and are perhaps more representative of village life in the Mekong Delta. The trip to Vinh Long takes about three hours from Ho Chi Minh City, with at least one hour spent on ferries crossing major tributaries. The first ferry crossing is at Cai Be. After the crossing, it is best to have a break from the drive by taking a scenic sampan cruise through the nearby waterways. During the cruise one can see local cottage industries such as fishing, boat building, rice and fruit cultivation, and production of rice paper - a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. Local seafood specialties include a variety of fresh-water fish. The best place to try local dishes is, probably Mr. Giao's Restaurant, an outdoor eatery set in a bonsai garden.

Places of interest

CAI BE FLOATING MARKET
This bustling river market runs from 5am to 5pm, but is best early in the morning. Wholesalers on large boats moor here, each specializing in one or more types of fruit or vegetables. Customers cruise the market in smaller boats and can easily find what they are looking for as the larger boats hang samples of their goods from tall wooden poles.

UT KIET ANCIENT HOUSE
For a long time this masterpiece was left in oblivion and deterioration. Thanks to the valued assistance from Japan, this 150 year old house has been meticulously restored to its original appearance. The building covers an area of approximately 1000 square meters and is comprised of five compartments. The interior decoration work boasts a unique collection of elaborate carving patterns depicting animals, plants, and flowers.

BINH HOA PHUOC ISLAND
The island of An Binh-Binh Hoa emerges from the middle of the Tien River, just opposite Vinh Long. The island covers 60 sq. km and has four villages: An Binh, Binh Hoa Phuoc, Hoa Ninh and Dong Phu. Its soil is fertile and ideal for rearing bonsai trees and tropical fruit. Several of the orchards are open to the public:

MR. SAU GIAO'S FLOWER GARDEN
Hoa Ninh has hundreds of various ornamental plants such as yellow apricots, "Chieu Thuy" plums and jasmine. Longan and mango tree gardens and fish ponds surround the garden.

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