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Major Cities Of The Delta

Chau Doc

Chau Doc is the last town in Vietnam before entering Cambodia.
The town is located on the right bank of Hau Giang, 5 km away from Sam mountain, the highest point on the Delta. This mountain gets the name from its shape of a king crab, which is "sam" in vietnamese. It is a sacred mountain for many locals since it is dotted with pagodas and temples. Chau Doc is very famous for "ma('m", a type of fermented fish used regularly as food ingredients or garnishes.
With a population of 85, 000, Chau Doc is a bustling city with heavy trade of illegal goods crossing the cambodian border. From smugglers on bicycle carrying cartons of cigarettes on their back to boats loaded with VCR and TV sets to new cars originating from Thailand, it seems like anything is fair game in the wild west of Vietnam. 

Bac Lieu

The capital of southern Bac Lieu province. Bac Lieu is 280km from HCMC. Of the 800, 000 people living in the province, about 8% are of Chinese or Cambodian origin
The town has a few elegant but forlorn French colonial buildings, like the impressive Fop House (now used as a community sports centre), but not much else.
Farming is a difficult occupation here because of saltwater intrusion, which mean that the town has remained fairly poor. The province is, however, known for its healths longan orchards. In addition to this, the enterprising locals eke out a living trom fishing, oyster collection and shrimp farming, as well as salt production (obtained from evaporating saltwater ponds that form immense salt flats).
For the Vietnamese people, Bat Lieu's main claim to fame is the grave site of Can Van Lau (1892-1976), famed composer of 'Dai Coa Hoai Long' ('Night Song of the Missing Husband').
Most foreigners give the tomb a miss and instead use Bac Lieu as a springboard to reach the outstanding bird sanctuary out of town. If you're keen on seeing it, head out on Cao Van Lau st. towards the bird sanctuary lor about 1km. turn right and follow the dirt road for 150m to the grave.

Tra Vinh

Bordered by the Tien and Han branches of the Mekong, Tra Vinh's location on a peninsula makes it somewhat isolated. Getting there is a straight up and back trip, because no car ferries cross the rivers here (motorbikes can be ferried by small boats). Western tourists are few, though there are several very worthwhile things to see here.
About 300, 000 ethnic Khmer live in Tra Vinh province. At first glance, they might seem to be an invisible minority since they all speak fluent Vietnamese and there's nothing outwardly distinguishing about their clothing or lifestyle. However, digging a little deeper quickly reveals that Khmer culture is alive and well in this part of Vietnam, There are over 140 Khmer pagodas in Tra Vinh province, compared with 50 Vietnamese and five Chinese pagodas. The pagodas have schools to teach the Khmer language most of the local in Tra Vinh can read and write Khmer at least as well as Vietnamese.
Vietnam's Khmer minority are almost all followers of Theravada Buddhism. If you've visited monasteries in Cambodia, you may have observed that Khmer monks are not involved in growing food and rely on donations from the strictly religious locals. Here in Tra Vinh, Vietnamese guides will proudly point out the monks' rice harvest as one of the accomplishments of liberation. To the Vietnamese government, non working monks were parasiles. The Khmer don'l necessarily see it the same way and continue to donate funds to the monasteries surreptitiously.
Between the ages of 15 and 20, mosl boys sel aside a lew months or years to live as monks (they decide themselves on the length of service). Khmer monks are allowed to eat meal, although they can not kill animals.
There is also a small but active Chinese community in Tra Vinh, one of the few remaining in the Mekong Delia region.

Ben Tre

The picturesque little province of Ben Tre, just south of My Tho, consists of several large1 islands in the mouth of the Mekong River. The area gets few visitors because it's off the main highways. The provincial capital is also called Ben Tre and is a friendly sort of place with a few old buildings near the banks of the Mekong.
Ben Tre is a good place lor boat trips and, unlike My Tho, Vinh Long and Can Tho, the People's Committee doesn't have a monopoly on the boat tour business so prices have remained low.
Ben Tre is famous for coconut candy (keo dua). Many local women work in small factories making coconut sweets, spending their days boiling large cauldrons of sticky mixture, before rolling it out and cutting sections off into squares and wrapping them into paper for sale.

My Tho

My Tho, the quiet capital city of Tien Giang province, is the. closest city in tile Mekong Delta to HCMC, and visitors on whirlwind 10-day Vietnam tours come here tot day trips to catch a glimpse of the famous river.
In order to visit floating markets, however, you'll need to continue on to Can Tho.
Being located so close to booming HCMC, one would expect My Tho to have profited handsomely from the country's economic reforms. Sadly, this is not the case - My Tho is one of the poorest cities in the Mekong Delta, though it is said tc have the richest government and one of the strictest police forces.
My Tho was founded in the 1680s by Chinese refugees fleeing Taiwan for political reasons. The Chinese have virtually all gone, now, having been driven out in the late 1970s when their property was seized by the government. The economy - or what's left of it - is based on tourism, fishing and the cultivation of rice, coconuts, bananas, mangoes, longans and citrus fruit.

See Also

Map of Mekong Delta
Luon Cave
Dau Go Cave
Mekong Floating Markets
Destinations in Halong Bay
Kim Quy Cave
Bo Nau Cave
Me Cung Cave
Ba Ham Cave
Thien Cung Cave
Life On The River
Entertainmetns in Halong City
Snake Industry
Sung Sot Cave
Trinh Nu Cave
Tam Cung Cave

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