An Giang, where nature charms

By Thanh Thu   December 20, 2020 | 02:27 pm GMT+7
Saigonese Nguyen Thanh Tinh reflects on the allure of cajuput forests, lakes, pagodas, and palm trees in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang.
At the mention of An Giang, surely the Tra Su cajuput forest, with its diverse ecosystem including a rich variety of flora and fauna, comes immediately to mind. Photo by Shutterstock/Jindowin

At the mention of An Giang, surely the Tra Su cajuput forest, with its diverse ecosystem including a rich variety of flora and fauna, comes immediately to mind. The forest is located in Van Giao Commune, Tinh Bien District in the southern province, 10 kilometers from the Cambodian border.
From Nha Bang Town in Tinh Bien District, head on provincial Highway 948 and turn left at Bung Tien Bridge at the 6 km milestone. From there, it is just four kilometers to the Tra Su forest.
An Giang has increased investment in infrastructure at the Tra Su tourist complex to foster tourism. The entrance fee is VND100,000 ($4.3) per person and canoe and long-tail boat tours inside cost an additional VND50,000.

On the way to the Tra Su cajuput forest, Tinh, 22, saw a snow-cone cart, and treated some kids who looked they could not afford it. Appreciating his gesture, a family in a house nearby invited him in for some green tea.

On the way to the Tra Su cajuput forest, Saigonese Nguyen Thanh Tinh, 22, saw a snow-cone cart, and treated some kids who looked they could not afford it. Appreciating his gesture, a family in a house nearby invited him in for some green tea.

Dubbed Heaven Gate and Heavenly Gate of Time by backpackers, this highly Instagrammable gate of the Koh Kas Temple is in Chau Lang Township in Tri Ton District. Since there is no specific address for the attraction, just follow the path leading to Hang Cong Temple in An Hoa Hamlet, also known as Kran Krok Temple.  Koh Kas is right behind the temple.According to Tinh, the best time for photos is early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not beating down and the light shining on the fields is just enough. During harvest season, the fields turn golden making them an even more pleasing backdrop for your photos. To reach the gate  from Chau Doc Town, head for the Ba Chuc intersection. At the intersection turn right and continue straight on until you arrive at the gate on the right.

Dubbed Heaven Gate and Heavenly Gate of Time by backpackers, this highly Instagrammable gate of the Koh Kas Pagoda is in Chau Lang Commune, Tri Ton District.
Since there is no specific address for the attraction, just follow the path leading to Hang Cong (Kran Krok) Pagoda in An Hoa Village. Koh Kas is right behind the pagoda.
According to Tinh, the best time for photos is early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not beating down and the light shining on the fields is just enough. "During harvest season, the fields turn golden making them an even more pleasing backdrop for your photos."
To reach the gate from Chau Doc Town, head for the Ba Chuc intersection. At the intersection turn right and continue straight on until you arrive at the gate on the right.

A giant emerald mirror reflecting its pastoral surroundings, Ta Pa Lake is a fairytale-like destination in the Mekong Delta. Prepare to be mesmerized by the deep and pristine lake and the rocky mountains next to it. The lake is on one of An Giang’s seven peaks commonly referred to as That Son in Nui To Commune, Tri Ton District. Its namesake Khmer temple is located on the edge of the mountain nearby.  The daily flock of travelers and backpackers notwithstanding, the surrounding area is deserted. Near the lake is a beverage and tea stall which enables travelers to have a quick pit stop.Tinh especially emphasized the hospitality he received from locals in the Mekong Delta, especially from these tea stall owners. They are always more than enthusiastic to help travelers take photos, he said.  If you are traveling by motorbike from Chau Doc, head toward Tri Ton District. Once you reach Tri Ton Market, head down Nguyen Trai Street to reach Ta Pa Temple and ask for directions to the lake.

A giant emerald mirror reflecting its pastoral surroundings, Ta Pa Lake is a "fairytale-like destination" in the Mekong Delta, Tinh said. "Prepare to be mesmerized by the deep and pristine lake and the rocky mountains next to it."
The lake is on one of An Giang’s seven peaks commonly referred to as That Son in Nui To Commune, Tri Ton District. Its namesake Khmer pagoda is located on the edge of the mountain nearby. The daily flock of travelers and backpackers notwithstanding, the surrounding area is deserted. Near the lake is a beverage and tea stall which enables travelers to have a quick pit stop.
Tinh especially emphasized the hospitality he received from locals in the Mekong Delta, especially from these tea stall owners. "They are always more than enthusiastic to help travelers take photos," he said.
If you are traveling by motorbike from Chau Doc, head toward Tri Ton District. Once you reach Tri Ton Market, head down Nguyen Trai Street to reach Ta Pa Pagoda and ask for directions to the lake.

On the way to Ba Chuc Town in the direction of the memorial site (nha mo) is a giant tree full of vines in the middle of the road. Legend has it that this natural roundabout is 300 years old. The nearly dead trunk of the tree seems to be held on by the lively sacred fig tree outside, creating a unique backdrop for photos. Locals have many supernatural stories about this tree.

On the way to Ba Chuc Town in the direction of the memorial site (nha mo) is a giant tree full of vines in the middle of the road. Legend has it that this natural roundabout is 300 years old. The nearly dead trunk of the tree seems to be held on by the lively sacred fig tree outside, creating a unique backdrop for photos. Locals have many supernatural stories about this tree.

Tinh visited Ba Chuc Tomb and at once felt fright and deep pain. This historical relic has 1159 ossuaries of innocent civilians who were killed in the Ba Chuc massacre by the Khmer Rouge. The building is in the shape of a white lotus pointing toward the sky, with each petal representing an age and gender group of civilians.[It is an] eerie yet moving sensation in this spiritual and heart-rending place, Tinh said.

Tinh visited Ba Chuc Tomb and at once felt fright and deep pain. This historical relic has 1,159 ossuaries of innocent civilians who were killed in the Ba Chuc massacre by the Khmer Rouge. The building is in the shape of a white lotus pointing toward the sky, with each petal representing an age and gender group of civilians.
"It is an eerie yet moving sensation in this spiritual and heart-rending place," he said.

In the sweltering An Giang sun, doub palm trees, 10-20 meters, are ubiquitous and closely intertwined with life in An Giang.  Besides adding a unique touch to the local scenery, doub palm trees give fruits that are used to make pandan honeycomb cake, palm sugar and refreshing beverages.

In the sweltering An Giang sun, doub palm trees, 10-20 meters high, are ubiquitous and closely intertwined with life in An Giang.
Besides adding a unique touch to the local scenery, doub palm trees give fruits that are used to make pandan honeycomb cake, palm sugar and refreshing beverages.

Tinh saw a local operating a tilling machine. The man warmly invited him for a drink.

Tinh saw a local operating a tilling machine. The man warmly invited him for a drink.

During Tinh’s journey through Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts, images of women carrying piles of firewood were a constant occurrence. Although evidently of modest means, they seem to find happiness in the most simple and ordinary things. The harsh sunlight and dirt roads of the countryside cannot wear down their determination.

During Tinh’s journey through Tinh Bien and Tri Ton districts, images of women carrying piles of firewood were a constant occurrence.
"Although evidently of modest means, they seem to find happiness in the most simple and ordinary things. The harsh sunlight and dirt roads of the countryside cannot dishearten them."

Thanh Tinh plays with local children before departing to Can Tho City for his next adventure. The kids were affectionate and reluctant to take leave of the young man from Saigon.   Tinh’s one-day trip to An Giang cost VND500,000 ($22). A coach or sleeper bus ticket costs around VND155,000. Since the tourist attractions are 20-30 minutes away from each other, it is a good idea to list them and create an itinerary first. When in An Giang, relish in regional specialties like beef rice and porridge, fermented thick vermicelli soup and snakehead murrel noodles for VND30,000-35,000 a portion each.

Tinh plays with local children before departing to Can Tho City for his next adventure. The kids were affectionate and reluctant to take leave of the Saigon young man.
Tinh’s one-day trip to An Giang cost VND500,000 ($22). A coach or sleeper bus ticket costs around VND155,000. Since the tourist attractions are 20-30 minutes away from each other, it is a good idea to list them and create an itinerary first, he said.
When in An Giang, relish in regional specialties like beef rice or porridge, fermented thick vermicelli soup or snakehead murrel noodles for VND30,000-35,000 a portion each.

Photos Nguyen Thanh Tinh, and Shutterstock/Jindowin

 
 
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