CAN THO - Attractions


Can Tho’s claim to the package-trip fame are the three nearby floating markets. Here boats filled with a couple dozen tons of fruit trade in the mornings as tourists snap photos. Those used to the intimate looks of Bangkok’s floating market may be disappointed, and most tours only take a quick look at a couple – perhaps 10 minutes at each. By far the busiest is CAI RANG, 7km south, busiest in the morning and more so on weekends. About 10km west is the more intimate PHONG DIEM, a smaller market with fewer tourists. I enjoyed it more as more of the boats were smaller so it was easier to get close up to the trading action.

Not many tours go to PHUNG HIEP, about 30km south of Can Tho, and I didn’t make it. If you go, it makes more sense to go by road than water. Take a xe om (Honda taxi) then arrange a boat when you arrive – because of the distance and lack of tourists, this could be the most interesting – and if you go with the right person you may be able to board some boats.

Arranging Boat Trips
Those not here on package trip can easily arrange to see any of the markets with the entrepreneur boat drivers around the riverside promenade (they’ll find you). Generally it’s about $2 per hour. A trip to Cai Rang takes about three hours in all, and it’s fun riding along the river; a full trip to Phung Hiep takes about six hours. Another alternative that most visitors miss is heading out for a sunset look at river life – an hour trip should be $2. Some women in row boats look for sunset takers by the river around 4pm or so. One English-speaking boat operator, MS LOAN (tel 071-836-640) may find you.

Another way to get on the river after dark is paying 10,000D to board the rather tacky, but not un-fun, evening cruise. See Eating.

Another interesting thing to do is take the local ferry from Hai Ba Trung St (at the end of Chau Van Liem) and explore the tourist-free villages across the river by bike or foot.


If you’re around during the day, it’s worth coming by this excellent museum where you can browse through well-arranged exhibits of Can Tho’s past and present (with some English translations). The ground floor covers Can Tho’s traditional roots (including photos of town during the French colonial days). Also, there’s a tai tu music exhibit – showing instruments of Mekong’s traditional music. Upstairs things get political and economical; note the giant mural of the 1975 liberation which includes a VC soldier, monk and priest amicably celebrating the end of the war.
1 Hoa Binh St; open 8-11am & 2-5pm Tue, Wed & Thurs, 8-11am & 6.30-9pm Sat & Sun; admission free


There’s a stork garden at Thot Not district between Can Tho and Long Xuyen – it’s pretty far for a motorcycle-taxi trip and the bird conditions are far less rich than they once were. If you go, try to be there at sunrise or sunset. One xe om driver offered the trip, leaving at 4pm and returning by 7pm, for $10.