Sailing down the Cuu Long River, a beautiful and peaceful landscape will appear before the eyes of tourists. 170 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh city, Can Tho attracts tourists by the modern of the fourth largest city in Vietnam and also the gentleness of the people there. Can Tho appears like a charming modern Southern Vietnamese girl that steals the hearts of many tourists.
The Name ‘Cần Thơ’
The name Can Tho itself is mystyrious to many tourists. It can be explained by two different legends.
1/The first one originated from the time when Nguyen Anh Lord was traveling by boat on Hau River to escape from the chase of Quang Trung king, he heard a recital from somewhere at a branch of the river. Therefore, he named the branch as Cam Thi giang or Cam Thi River. People later called the land along the river as Cam Thi, which was changed into Can Tho through time.
2/The second one is that in the past, the land of Can Tho was home to parsley and rau thom (a kind of herbs, the word ‘thơm’ means having pleasant fragrance.) That’s why local people called it as ‘Cần Thơm‘, which was also changed into ‘Cần Thơ eventually.
Enriched with 300 years of history, Can Tho has another name as ‘Tây Đô’ which means the capital of Southwestern region. It is the central point which connects Saigon with other Southern provinces in terms of economy, transportation, and cultural exchange. Fertile alluvium and interlaced network of channels has turned Can Tho into a land full of liveliness, diverse fruits, and convenient waterway system.
Can Tho Must – Visit Destination:
When it comes to Can Tho, people tend to think of cruising on a boat and enjoying many countryside sceneries passing by. Embarking at Ninh Kieu pier, tourists will indulge themselves in the coolness of river breeze in the early morning, and the fullness of fruit-laden trees along both sides of the river. At the end of the cruise, the boat will stop at a very special destination which is unique to the region criss-crossed by channels as Can Tho – Cai Rang Floating Market.
The special point of the market lies on trading activities taking place on narrow boats. A buyer just needs to look at the stick in front of each boat which hangs samples of what it is selling, and then calls the seller. The boat of the seller will approach the boat of the buyer for trade. Tourists can even enjoy such delicious dishes as bun rieu, hu tieu (a kind of noodles), and che (a kind of sweet dessert). Besides Cai Rang, there are some other floating markets like Phung Hiep and Phong Dien where Southern countryside specialities like snakes and eels are sold.
Moreover, Can Tho attracts tourists by its various fruit orchards. It is also said that Can Tho is a hot spot of tropical fruits like mango, mangosteen, longan, and guava. Coming to the orchards, tourists can pick and enjoy fresh fruits right at the spot. They are also invited to take a sip of wine by friendly orchard owners. These kinds of fruits are sold with low price.
Other destinations worth a visit:
150-year-old Binh Thuy Ancient House with architecture in French style and interior in traditional Vietnamese style.
Bang Lang stork sanctuary to watch astonishing views of thousands of storks and snowy egrets filling the branches with white color.
Nam Nha pagoda builted in 1890 has elegant architecture and historical values.
Can Tho Must – Tried Food:
Food in Can Tho is also worth a try. One of the most famous dishes is lẩu mắm Dạ Lý. Its ingredients include mắm cá linh (a kind of dried and salted fish), side pork, shrimps, squids, and cá hú (a kind of fish). The dish is served with two trays of various fresh herbs and vegetables like luffa, cucurbit, bitter melon, and so on. The combined taste of the hotpot soup, fresh seafood and vegetables, along with fish source makes customers truly feel the simplicity and diversity of Southwestern soul.
Another recommended dish is banh xeo (Vietnamese-style savory crepe) with minced duck meat and apical buds of adult coconut plants. Besides, tourists can visit restaurants along the river and enjoy river breeze and some food such as deep-fried Anabas with sliced green mango, and grilled medium- sized edible snail with black pepper.
Only three hours on long-route bus, you will find yourself lost in a city where the elements of countryside and modern city are mixed together. With many peaceful sceneries and delicious food, Can Tho will bring you a relaxing and enjoyable time, much different from the hustle and bustle of life, for sure! ?
How To Get There
Ho Chi Minh City – Can Tho:
It takes 3 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho. The buses to Can Tho depart at Ben xe Mien Tay (Western Bus Station, 395 Kinh Duong Vuong, Binh Tan, HCMC). Tourists can buy tickets there or contact directly the following bus companies:
*Phuong Trang bus:
Address: 272 De Tham, District 1
Tel: (08) 38375570
Saigon: Departs at Ben xe Mien Tay (Western Bus Station) from 7 a.m till 10p.m
Can Tho: Departs every 30 minutes at Ben xe Nguyen Trai (Nguyen Trai Bus Station).
*Hoang Long bus:
Address: 47 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1
Tel: (08) 39151818
Can Tho: Ben xe lo 91B
*Mai Linh bus:
Tel: (08) 39292929. Hotline: 0985 29 29 29.
15-seat and 45-seat buses run every 15 minutes, 24/24.
Ticket price: VND130,000 – 200,000
Boat to Cai Rang floating market:
From Ninh Kieu pier (at the center of Can Tho city), it takes around 30 to 45 minutes to Cai Rang floating market by boat.
Visiting time: 6a.m – 8a.m.
It is advisable to get on boat around 5a.m so that you can reach there at its busiest time.
Where to buy tickets:
*Mekong Delta Explorer:
+Contact: 0961 73 68 68 – 07103 819 219
+Price: about VND50,000 to Cai Rang and VND80,000 if you want to visit a fruit orchard. Paid right at the boat.
*Can Tho tourist:
Address: 50 Hai Ba Trung, Tan An, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho.
Contact: 07103. 811 605 – 3821 852
Addresses of some fruit orchards:
Mỹ Khánh: 335, Lộ Vòng Cung, Xã Mỹ Khánh, Huyện Phong Điền, TP Cần Thơ.
Vàm Xáng – Phong Điền: số 002 Ấp Nhơn Lộc 1, TT Phong Điền, TP Cần Thơ.
Ba Cống: khu vực Bình Phó B thuộc phường Bình Thủy, quận Long Tuyền, TP Cần Thơ
Khu du lịch sinh thái Nhà vườn Thảo Nguyên: khu vực Bình Phó B thuộc phường Bình Thủy, quận Long Tuyền, TP Cần Thơ.
(The names and addresses are remained in Vietnamese so that it is easier for you to receive guidelines or help from locals)
If you have any problem travelling in Vietnam, whether it’s food problem or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more assistance. We will be thrilled to help.
Writer: Khanh Khanh