Dong Thap

Dong Thap is about 147 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. Situated at the heart of the Mekong Delta, the province borders Cambodia at the point that the mighty Tien River enters Vietnam from upstream.

The province experiences a tropical monsoon climate, characterized by two distinct seasons annually. From mid-May to November, Dong Thap undergoes the rainy and flood season, reaching its peak from September to mid-October. The dry season, with consistently warm weather, lasts from December to the end of April the next year.

Dong Thap is famous for its lotus ponds, which are part of the Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds). Dong Thap Muoi is an inland wetland spanning Long An Province and Dong Thap Province.

Dong Thap also features over 200 lotus dishes that feature every part of the plant, from its seed and stem, to its flower and leaves.

Lotus field in My Hoa Commune, Thap Muoi District, Dong Thap Province. Photo by VnExpress/Nhut Minh


Lotus Leaf Pagoda (Phuoc Kien Tu)

Phuoc Kien Tu pagoda showcases an array of sizable lotus leaves. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Situated in Chau Thanh District, Phuoc Kien Pagoda draws tourists for its ponds filled with enormous lotus leaves, each measuring 2 to 3 meters in diameter. Visitors can step onto these leaves, stand or sit for photographs, as they can bear weight of up to 140 kilograms.

While exploring the lotus pond is free, there's a service to place a wooden board on the lotus leaf for visitors to sit and take pictures, priced from VND30,000 ($1.20) per visit. Along the way, there are houses offering motorbike taxi services to reach the temple.

For those traveling by car, it's recommended to park close to the bridge leading to the pagoda, while motorbikes can cross the bridge into the temple yard.

Tram Chim National Park

Countless birds soaring through the skies at Tram Chim National Park. Photo by VnExpress/Ngo Tran Hai An

Located in Tam Nong District, Tram Chim National Park is home to over 230 bird species, including 32 rare species, with 16 listed as endangered in the red book. Recognized as the 2,000th Ramsar site in the world and the fourth in Vietnam in 2012, Tram Chim is a crucial site for red-crowned crane preservation.

February is the optimal time to visit, allowing visitors a chance to witness the return of birds. Visitors can opt for a motorboat or a wooden boat to explore the park. There are two travel routes covering distances of 12 kilometers and 21 kilometers, lasting 1.5 hours and 3 hours, respectively.

Enroute, visitors will encounter the Dong Thap Muoi, featuring melaleuca forests, grass fields, rice fields, and lotus fields. During the floating season from August to November, Tram Chim offers sightseeing routes, combining experiences like fishing and mouse-catching.

Huynh Thuy Le ancient house

Situated in the heart of Sa Dec City on Nguyen Hue Street, Huynh Thuy Le ancient house, stands out for its traditional three-room architecture of the Mekong Delta region. Covering an area of about 250 meters square, the house is constructed with wood and features a boat-shaped roof adorned with yin and yang tiles: alternate tiles face up and down.

Beyond its architectural significance, the house is known for its connection to a cross-cultural love story in the early 20th century between a French girl and the wealthy Chinese-Vietnamese gentleman who owned the house. The story serves as the inspiration for the work "The Lover" (L’Amant), later adapted into a movie, with scenes filmed within the very house itself.

Kien An Cung Pagoda

The main hall of Kien An Cung Pagoda. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Phong

Also known as Ong Quach Pagoda, this century-old pagoda boasts a Chinese cultural architectural style. It comprises three sections: east hall, west hall, and main hall.

The three-layered tiled roof features dragon waves, representing the five basic elements including metal, wood, water, fire and earth. The pagoda, recognized as a national historical site in 1990 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. On the pagoda's walls are images from Journey to the West and Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The pagoda is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., admission is free.

Xeo Quyt tourist area

Once a strategic base during the resistance war against the U.S. (1960-1975), Xeo Quyt, located 30 kilometers from Cao Lanh city, includes a 50-hectare expanse, including 20 hectares of primary cajuput forest.

The site, recognized as a national historical site in 1992, provides a glimpse into Dong Thap's wartime history. Xeo Quyt is accessible by both road and river. Visitors can opt to explore the area by taking a 1.5 kilometers path through the forest.

Dong Sen Thap Muoi ecotourism area

Best visited from June to November, this eco-tourism area in Dong Thap is the ideal location for visitors to marvel at Dong Thap's lotus flowers. Even outside the peak blooming season, the serene atmosphere here is always inviting.

The eco-tourism site is famous for its expansive lotus flower fields. Photo courtesy of Dong Thap Trade, Tourism and Investment Promotion Center

Travelers can observe the color transformations of the lotus here.

Typically, in the morning, the flowers exhibit a light pink hue, transitioning to a deeper pink by noon. The most captivating time to witness the lotus's beauty is around 3 p.m., as the flowers bloom generously. As the afternoon unfolds, the lotus color gradually deepens to a darker pink, resembling the red hues of a sunset.

The site is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with an entrance ticket priced at VND20,000 ($0.80) on weekdays and VND30,000 ($1.20) on weekends.

Lai Vung tangerine garden

Lai Vung, situated approximately 10 kilometers from Sa Dec City between the Tien and Hau rivers, is celebrated for its abundant freshwater and fertile soil, making it a fruit-growing region. The Lai Vung tangerine garden attracts numerous visitors during the tangerine season, typically around the Lunar New Year.

Visitors can stroll through the garden, capture memorable photos, pick fruits, and purchase them to take home. Additionally, in March-April, the garden blooms with white flowers, with a gentle fragrance like grapefruit, orange, and lime flowers.

Dinh Yen mat village

Dinh Yen mat village, situated along the Hau River, approximately 15 kilometers from Cao Lanh City, has a history spanning hundreds of years. Visitors can witness the lively working atmosphere, where colors from green, red, yellow, white, and purple threads fill both homes and alleys with laughter.

The variety of Dinh Yen mats includes white ones, patterned mats, stork motifs, and designed wedding mats. Today, sellers carry their mats for sale around the village, while buyers typically wait at a designated spot.

The former mat market, known by locals as the "ghost market" or "underworld market," used to stay open until the wee hours of the morning. In 2013, the mat weaving craft in Dinh Yen Commune received recognition as a national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Cao Lanh market owner's temple

Situated on Le Loi Street in Cao Lanh City, the temple dedicated to the owners of Cao Lanh Market (Mr. and Mrs. Do Cong Tuong), is renowned for its sanctity, particularly within the business community.

The architectural complex, encompassing a temple, guesthouse, and tomb, features solid construction, intricate decorations, and carvings reflecting the architectural style of the Nguyen Dynasty, reminiscent of southern communal houses and temples from the late 19th century. This relic stands as a spiritual tourist destination, drawing crowds during Lunar New Year holidays.

Sa Dec flower village

Sa Dec flower village took root in the late 19th century along the Tien River, spanning nearly 800 hectares. Originally centered in Tan Quy Dong Ward, it has now expanded to two more wards, boasting the active involvement of over 2,300 households. Home to approximately 2,000 varieties of ornamental flowers.

With a profusion of varieties, the village bursts into bloom every season, reaching its zenith near the new year. Beyond flower trade, Sa Dec flower village has evolved into a tourist destination. Notable attractions include the Frog Flower House homestay, Phong Levent, Happyland Hung Thy, Sa Nhien Garden, Tu Ton Rose Garden, and Rose Field.


Sa Dec batter village - culinary hub

Customers can savor a variety of dishes, including banh beo - steamed rice cake with mung bean, banh duc man - savory steamed rice cake, banana fritters, banh xeo - crispy pancake, and more. The spacious and airy setting caters to both large and small groups with diverse preferences. Prices per person range from VND100,000 to VND200,000 ($4 to $8). The spot is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lotus-inspired cuisines

Dong Thap takes pride in offering over 200 lotus-based dishes to cater to tourists, from lotus seed rice, lotus root salad, lotus-stewed chicken, to lotus root stewed soup.

Popular dining spots include Dam Sen ecological cuisine area, Song Sinh Restaurant, Co Ba Restaurant, Dai Nam Restaurant, and Sen Le Bo Community Ecotourism Area. Meals can be enjoyed by the lotus pond, where farmers prepare lotus dishes for visitors.

Additionally, in tourist destinations like Tram Chim, Xeo Quyt, and Dam Sen, there are restaurants offering local specialties such as fish, snails, field mice, hotpots, and lotus dishes.


Dong Thap currently lacks an airport, so visitors are advised to fly into Ho Chi Minh City or Can Tho and then utilize road transportation.

The distance from Ho Chi Minh City to Cao Lanh City (Dong Thap) is approximately 145 kilometers and takes about 3 hours.

From Can Tho to Cao Lanh, the distance is 85 kilometers, and the travel time is around 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Passenger buses departing from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Thap can be found at Mien Tay bus station and various points within the city. Popular bus companies for this route include Phuong Trang, Tam Nong, Tai Loi, Quang Phat, and Kim Cuong. Ticket prices range from VND80,000 to VND100,000 ($3 to $4), depending on the booking time and bus company.

It is noted that in the Mekong Delta region, roads are narrow, and the road surface may not be in good condition, resulting in extended travel times with an average car speed of approximately 40 km/h.

Ferry service between Can Tho and Dong Thap. Photo by VnExpress/Duy Tan

For travel between Can Tho and Dong Thap, tourists have the option of waterway transportation on the Hau River, passing through different wharves such as Bang Tang - Cai Dua, Ba Gua - Vinh Thoi, Tan Loc - Tan Thanh, Tan Loc - Cai Doi, and Bo Ot - Dinh An.

Ferry services operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from VND1,000 to VND20,000 ($0.04 to $0.80), depending on the chosen means of transportation.

Ferries operating between Can Tho and Dong Thap are primarily for locals. Tourists seeking higher service standards are advised to contact travel companies for tour bookings.


Hotels in Dong Thap are primarily concentrated in two major cities: Cao Lanh and Sa Dec. Room prices vary from VND300,000 to VND700,000 ($12 to $28). Highly rated hotels on booking websites include Thu Le, Tri Le, De Vuong, and Bao Ngoc.

In close proximity to Tram Chim Township, the Wildbird hotel offers various options, a conference room accommodating 50 guests, and a restaurant. Additionally, in Tram Chim, Tam Nong District, a few hundred meters from the Tram Chim National Park, there are several hotels, motels, and farmstays for accommodation.

Story by Tam Anh