Explore Dong Thap, land of the lotus, for just $20

By Linh Sea, Di Vy   November 25, 2018 | 04:06 pm GMT+7

Dong Thap is beautiful year round. But May to November is the season when lotus flowers bloom and orchards fruit.

Dong Thap is renowned for its lotus fields. Photo by Shutterstock/Tzido Sun

Dong Thap is renowned for its lotus fields. Photo by Shutterstock/Tzido Sun

December to April is suitable for travelers who prefer the dry season.

The estimated cost of this two-day trip is VND500,000 – 700,000 per person ($21.34 - $29.87). The price varies depending on the quality of transportation, housing and the place you choose to visit.

Day 1

The best places to see in Sa Dec City, the southern province of Dong Thap are Tan Quy Dong flower village, Huynh Thuy Le ancient house, and Kien An Cung Pagoda. It takes only 2 – 3 hours to visit all of them.

Two farmers are working in a flower village in Sa Dec city, Dong Thap province. Photo by Shutterstock/Dory F

Two farmers are working in a flower village in Sa Dec City. Photo by Shutterstock/Dory F

Tan Quy Dong flower villageAs one of the most important flower-growing centers in southern Vietnam, this village has a history of more than 100 years in growing flowers. You will find more than 50 types of flowers with all sorts of colors and fragrances such as chrysanthemum morifolium, petunia, lisianthus, marigold, moss rose, iris, dahlia.

The front of Huynh Thuy Le ancient house in Sa Dec city. Photo by Shutterstock/Vivanvu 

The front of Huynh Thuy Le ancient house in Sa Dec City. Photo by Shutterstock/Vivanvu 

Huynh Thuy Le ancient house: Situated on a street along the Sa Dec River, this 100-year-old house combines both Western and Asian styles. Thanks to the success of the movie and novel "The Lover," about the love story in 1929 between the Chinese house owner Huynh Thuy Le and French author Marguerite Duras, the house attracts thousands of tourists every day.

Kien An Cung PagodaBuilt in Chinese style, Kien An Cung was built by immigrants from Fujian in China to honor their ancestors and educate the next generation. Many tourists visit this pagoda to take photographs and learn about the culture.

Day 2

Cao Lanh market gate. Photo acquired by VnExpress

Cao Lanh Market gate. Photo acquired by VnExpress

Cao Lanh Market: Having been around more than two decades, this market is remarkable for its decoration with pink lotus, the symbol of the province. On two sides of the market are temples that honor its two owners, who are famous for their magical powers, especially among businesspeople.

Van Thanh Mieu: This is a temple that promotes learning and preserves Confucian teachings. Today the area surrouding Van Thanh Mieu is a large park called the Park of Van Mieu, a public space for outdoor activities for locals.

Dong Thap has three beautiful and large melaleuca forests. It takes half a day to explore each, so you should choose one of them since you are on a two-day trip.

A paranomic view on Tram Chim village. Photo by Shutterstock/Tonkinphotography 

A paranomic view on Tram Chim village. Photo by Shutterstock/Tonkinphotography 

Tram Chim National Park: Situated 40 km from Cao Lanh, the park has hundreds of species of animals and around 130 types of plants. You can go deep into the forest by canoe to see many rare endemic birds. Admission costs VND40,000 ($1.71) for an adult and a canoe costs around VND500,000 ($21.43).

The entrance to Xeo Quyt. Photo by Shutterstock/HuPa

The entrance to Xeo Quyt. Photo by Shutterstock/HuPa

Xeo Quyt historical site: 30 km from Cao Lanh, this site is known to have the most beautiful path through/across the melaleuca forest of Vietnam. Walking or sitting in a rowboat snaking through the forest, you can see a revolutionary base during the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975). An admission ticket costs VND10,000 ($0.43).

Gao Giong Eco-Tourism Area in Dong Thap province. Photo by Shutterstock/Vivanvu

Gao Giong Eco-Tourism Park in Dong Thap Province. Photo by Shutterstock/Vivanvu

Gao Giong Eco-Tourism ParkThis melaleuca forest, 15 km from Cao Lanh, has tens of thousands of white storks and is one of the largest stork habitats in Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds). Gao Giong is also a source of seafood for Dong Thap Muoi’s signature foods. An admission ticket costs VND10,000 ($0.43).

Dong Thap Muoi is an inland wetland in Vietnam's Mekong Delta. Most of the wetlands are within Long An Province and Dong Thap Province.

Transportation

Since Dong Thap is about 170 km from Ho Chi Minh City, you can go there by motorbike or car, which is the most convenient option for explorers. Buses are also available and cost VND90,000 – VND200,000 ($3.84 – $8.54) from Mien Tay bus station (Ho Chi Minh city) to Cao Lanh or Sa Dec, and the trip takes 3 – 4 hours.

Transportation is quite convenient in Dong Thap with a wide variety of options such as taxi, motorbike taxi (xe om), boat, and ferry. You can also rent a motorbike in Cao Lanh and Sa Dec city for VND100,000 – 200,000/day ($4.27 - $8.54).

Housing

Motel and hotel prices in Dong Thap are quite low, ranging from VND50,000 to 70,000 per night ($2.13 - $2.99). If you are a nature lover, you can try sleeping in wooden huts above lotus fields in Thap Muoi, a rural district of Dong Thap

If you want to discover the local culture, you can also try homestays in Sa Dec. But motels and hotels in Cao Lanh are the most convenient option.

Signature food

You should definitely try signature local dishes such as grilled mullet fish wrapped in lotus leaf, steamed rice wrapped in lotus leaf, Sa Dec rice noodles, Lai Vung fermented pork roll and mandarine, Vietnamese dragon blood rice, and lotus milk.

In addition, Tien Giang River and Hau Giang River offer signature dishes made from linh fish, sesbania sesban flowers, stock garden, stir-fried mouse, Cao Lanh grilled mouse in a terracotta jar, Sa Giang shrimp chips, pink lotus wine...

Restaurants can be easily found in local markets and night markets. Food prices are quite affordable. It is advisable to find eateries in densely populated areas.

 
 
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