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Vietnam: Can Tho, Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City
Can Tho, Vietnam: The floating market
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Can Tho is the fifth largest city in Vietnam, and the largest city in the Mekong delta. 170 kms away from Hon Chi Minh City, the town is noted for its floating market, rice-paper-making village, and picturesque rural canals. The name Can Tho is a shortened form of “Cam Thi Giang”, meaning "river of poems".
We left our hotel after breakfast. Though the distance was only 170 kms to Can Tho, we had plans to touch base late in the evening. Along the way, we would take a stop to explore Cai Be which was 110 kms away.
Cai Be is a river-land mixed town. Along the river, there are docks that handle passengers and goods. Cai Be is one of the most important centers for the distribution of the agricultural products, especially the tropical fruits for the whole country and also for the entire region.
At one of the docks, a Sampan (traditional boat) was waiting for us. The plan was to explore the mighty River Mekong and its many canals. We would stop on one of the islands, check out fruit orchards and have lunch in one of the garden houses. Cai Be, in the Mekong Delta has a distinctive ecological system in the river network of South Vietnam. The nature is fertile and the local people are opened-heart and hospitable. With its floating market, tropical fruits and rich history, Cai Be is an intriguing and attractive destination for travelers.
For the next few hours we were hopping off and on our sampan as also a small boat to negotiate the very narrow canals. We enjoyed a traditional lunch in a garden restaurant and made our way back.
Time well spent, we continued with our journey to arrive at our hotel Victoria Can Tho located on the banks of the river. That evening we walked on the wooden board along the river and were fascinated to see the night beautifully illuminated.
The next morning, we took a boat from the hotel’s pier to explore the floating market of Cai Rang as well as a visit to a factory that made rice noodles. The life on the river is bound to excite visitors.
At noon we left Can Tho for Ho Chi Minh City airport to catch our evening flight to Hanoi. Mid way we made a lunch stop at a restaurant that had a beautiful rural ambience.
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