Mekong Delta hub turns social distancing oasis

By Huy Phong   April 21, 2020 | 04:02 pm GMT+7
With popular tourist spots closed and streets empty due to Vietnam’s social distancing campaign, Can Tho City has reclaimed a sense of tranquility.
Without visitors, tourist boats anchored day after day in front of Cai Rang Floating Market, which floats on Hau River, a branch of Mekong River in Vietnam. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, every day about 200 boats takes visitors to the Mekong Deltas largest floating market.The wholesale market, a major tourist attraction in Can Tho, is the biggest of its kind in the Mekong Delta where trading on waterways has been a way of life for generations. The 40-minute boat ride is the best way to explore life along the waterways as it passes houses built on stilts over the water and boats in a bewildering variety of sizes, shapes and colors docked along the shore.

About 200 tourist boats lie idle in front of the Cai Rang floating market, located on Hau River, a branch of the Mekong River in Vietnam. The wholesale market is the largest in the region where trading along waterways has been a way of life for generations.

Nguyen Van Trung who has been running a motorboat selling breakfast for 25 years said the market was no longer busy and crowded as before.Before the Covid-19 pandemic gets more intense in the country and tourist destinations were closed following the social distancing campaign, I can earn VND250,000 ($10.6) a day thanks to selling 200 bowls of noodles, said the 53-year-old man, adding he now can sell around 50 bowls for local traders a day.

Nguyen Van Trung has sold breakfast from his boat for 25 years. "I could earn VND250,000 ($11) a day prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, selling nearly 200 bowls of noodles," the 53-year-old said, adding he now sold only around 50.

Ninh Kieu Tourist Port, which receives hundreds of tourist boats everyday, temporarily suspended operations.Can Tho was one of 15 localities categorized in a lower risk group in which they are required to extend the social distancing campaign until April 22, along with 12 other localities at high risk, including Hanoi and HCMC. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Monday Vietnam will ease social distancing step by step and implement adequate controls to avoid underestimating the Covid-19 epidemic.

Ninh Kieu Tourist Port, which receives hundreds of tourist boats everyday, temporarily suspended operations.

Can Tho was one of 15 localities categorized "at risk" of infection to extend social distancing until April 22, along with 12 other localities at "high risk", including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Monday Vietnam would slowly ease social distancing to contain the epidemic.

A cruise ship with a capacity of 500 guests temporarily stopped receiving tourists for sightseeing tours around the Hau River and Can Tho River. 

A cruise ship with a capacity of 500 people temporarily halted operations along Hau and Can Tho rivers. 

A woman in face mask walks on a deserted street in Ninh Kieu Port. 

A woman walks near deserted Ninh Kieu Port. 

Can Tho Market, a usually-crowded tourist destination in Can Tho, was shut down amid the social distancing order.This was one of the oldest markets in Vietnam along with the iconic Ben Thanh Market and Binh Tay market in Ho Chi Minh City. The Can Tho Market was built in 1915 during the French colonial times and renovated in 2005. 

Can Tho Market is one of the oldest in Vietnam along with the iconic Ben Thanh and Binh Tay markets in Ho Chi Minh City. It was built in 1915 during the French colonial period and renovated in 2005. 

The first pedestrian bridge in Can Tho had no pedestrians and was left deserted in mid-April. The bridge nearly 200 m long and 7.2 m wide with a total investment of nearly VND50 billion was inaugurated four years ago and a highlight of the center of Can Tho.Can Tho,the largest economic hub in the Mekong Delta, Vietnams most productive agriculture and aquaculture region, lies at an intersection of canal and river networks that measure a total of 1,157 km. The Hau River, one of the two tributaries of the Mekong River in Vietnam, flows along the city’s north.

The first pedestrian bridge in Can Tho, nearly 200 meters long and 7.2 meters wide, was inaugurated four years ago at a cost of nearly VND50 billion ($2.13 million).

Can Tho, the largest economic hub in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's most productive agriculture and aquaculture region, lies at an intersection of canal and river networks that measure a total of 1,157 kilometers. 

Binh Thuy, a well-preserved 149-year-old house, one of Can Tho City’s most popular attractions, closed its doors and stopped receiving tourists from March 25.The house at 144 Bui Huu Nghia Street was built by Duong Chan Ky, a wealthy merchant in 1870, and was renovated in the early 20th century.  The interiors are characterized by traditional East Asian crafts, while the exteriors are in West European style and blend well with the landscapeThe ancient house of Binh Thuy is also a popular location for film shoots, and was the setting for Lovers, a 1992 erotic drama film based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras..

Binh Thuy, a well-preserved 149-year-old house, one of Can Tho City’s most popular attractions, closed its doors to tourists from March 25.

The house at 144 Bui Huu Nghia Street was built by Duong Chan Ky, a wealthy merchant in 1870, and renovated in the early 20th century.  Interiors are characterized by traditional East Asian crafts, while the exterior resembles a West European style.

The ancient house of Binh Thuy is also a popular location for film shoots, and was the setting for "Lovers", a 1992 erotic drama film based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras.

The largest eco-tourism village in Can Tho with 35 hectares, in Phong Dien District, closed from mid-March. Previously there were about 400-500 visitors every day. But after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in Vietnam late January, the number of visitors has been on the decrease since then and the village is now closed during the social distancing campaign,said Le Van Sang, director of the tourism village, adding that he has twice provided food subsidies and daily necessities for 50 his employees who lost their jobs. 

The largest eco-tourism village in Can Tho covering 35 hectares in Phong Dien District closed from mid-March.

"Previously, there were about 400-500 visitors a day," said director Le Van Sang, adding he has twice provided food subsidies and daily necessities to 50 employees who lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Le Trung Tin, who opened tourism services in Son Islet, located in the middle of Hau River in Binh Thuy District has to spend VND1 million to feed for a herd of 10,000 flying snakeheads. During this time, I cleaned the orchard area with nearly one hectare, planted more ornamental plants and maintained training for flying fish so that when the pandemic is contained, we can welcome visitors immediately, he said. 

Le Trung Tin, who runs tourism services on Son Islet, located in the middle of Hau River in Binh Thuy District, has to spend VND1 million ($43) a day to feed 10,000 flying snakeheads.

"During this business suspension time, I have cleaned the orchard of nearly one hectare, planted more ornamental plants and kept my fish 'flying', waiting for the end of the pandemic," he said. 

 
 
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