VINH LONG - Attractions

Floating MarketMost of a day’s fun uses poor Vinh Long as a stepping-off point only. You could fill a couple days with boat tours and bike roads and maybe a day trip to SA DEC.


Package tours from Saigon whip through Vinh Long’s nearby sites, and you can arrange it on your own from here too. The main options are CAI BE FLOATING MARKET, roughly an hour’s ride upstream from town. Here boats cuddle up to trade fruit that’s posted on long poles from the back of the boat – ‘bamboo advertising.’ From Vinh Long you’ll need three hours for a look at Cai Be, but it’s worth adding on an hour to venture through the canals of AN BINH ISLAND, sliced by criss-crossing dirt paths, tiny arched bridges and slow drifting canals. Trips usually drop by a coconut candy factory or rice paper factory, which can be more interesting than you’d expect from a mass-tourism stop.From Vinh Long, Mekong Travel, offers trips for $11/16 for one/two people without guide, or $16/20 with guide; these trips are bundled with good-value homestays on An Binh too.


Vinh Long swimmersOrganized bike trips from Saigon take advantage of wee dirt paths along An Binh’s bewildering network of canals, or past rice paddies on country roads southeast of Vinh Long. A cheap way of replicating the same is renting a bike in Vinh Long – Mekong Travel rents them for 20,000D per day – and perhaps a guide (for $5) – and heading out on your own. If you go without a guide, take the ferry to An Binh from Vinh Long’s center. When you get lost – it’s pretty much 100% certain – just ask locals to point you back to the ferry.Some package trips take advantage of the rural paradise to the southwest too – such as the fun ride between Tam Binh and Ba Cang villages just southwest. Head on the Highway 53 towards Tra Vinh, then turn right toward Tam Binh, then right to Ba Cang on a dirt road past monkey bridges and fishers. When I went, a group of fishers wading in a pond came ashore to give me one of their day’s catch – not like I knew what to do with it.


Vinh Long’s not a place to linger much. Have a meal in the covered FOOD STANDS in the central market, just of 1 Thang 5 St (a couple blocks south of the river).Popular with locals is VAN THANH MIEU TEMPLE, which is presently under renovation. It’s half 19th-century temple devoted to Confucius, and half modern temple devoted to a local up-yours-France hero Phan Thanh Gian, who escaped capture in 1930 by drinking poison and dying. The temple is a few kilometers south of the center; go south along the Long Ho canal via 30 Thang 4 St, which later becomes Tran Phu St, to the large temple.