Quiet Charm

Submitted by: Lanh Nguyen

Whatever the time of year, the river is red and full of silt. The area s prosperity is due to the rust colored water, which feeds the fields around this peaceful town on the banks of the Tien River in Vietnam s Mekong Delta. Of course, the Mekong doesn t just nourish the little town of My Tho. This mighty river springs from the Tibetan highlands and irrigates many regions before emptying into the sea.

In Vietnam s delta, the mighty Mekong splits into two rivers, the Tien and Hau, before splitting into nine river-mouths that give the Mekong its Vietnamese Name Cuu Long, which means Nine Dragons .

The river s rich slit is responsible for the lush green scenery of Vietnam s southern provinces and the peaceful aura like My Tho.


Spend a night near the river in My tho or Can Tho and you will hear the monotonous sound of boat engines shutting people and goods across the river. Boats carry everything from sand bricks to rice, flowers and bonsai trees. Along with their craft, you will see small rowboats. Instead of pushing the ors with their hands people here use reason the women rowing bots on Mekong look more romantic in their ao ba ba tunics than the rustic, hard-working women in the North.

Both the women working as tourist guides on Thoi Son Island and the women rowing their wares to market in the early morning attract photographers. With their lithe figures and long hair, these women are praised in countless songs, poems and stories.

Less than an hour s drive from Saigon. My Tho remains a world apart. While Vung Tau and Can Tho feature high-end entertainment, My Tho remains a small, steeply town with a rural feel. Things close early here, the roads falling quiet after dark. Like Sleeping Beauty, this town seems to be breading, contents to avoid the bustle of other cities in the delta.

This isn t to say that there is nothing to see. My Tho features some interesting tourist sites, such as Vinh Trang Pagoda, Thoi Son Island and the Dong Tam Snake Farm. Foreigners tend to panic when they see calm local ladies holding bundles of tangled snakes at Dong Tam. The nab the tails of tree snakes hidden amongst green leaves. Faced with tourists terror, the snake ladies merely smile and laugh.

Female tour guides take visitors to Thoi Son Island, and then skillfully prepare cups of honey tea. With their shy smiles, these women add to the charm of a stroll through a llongan orchard and a cup of tea and coconut candies enjoyed while listening to traditional don ca tai tu singers and guitarists.

The food in My Tho is similar to that found in other Southern provinces and cities, with a lot of sugar and fish sauce. In the morning, I enjoyed a bowl of banh canh (rice noodles) at the Tiem Ong Tau restaurant into middle of Hung Vuong Road. While the noodles were delicious, the atmosphere was even better. Cramped and slightly gloomy, the restaurant features panels decorated with pictures from Chinese legends. It was packed with ethnic Chinese people.

A cook from My Tho is credited with having invented fried sticky rice balls. These snacks are row popular across Vietnam. In this small city, legends and facts are as intertwined as the canals that twist around the fruits orchards and coconut groves.

My Tho is amazingly peaceful. I spent days there lying on a hammock in a garden leisurely eating rambutans, pineapples and bananas. After dark, I strolled along the riverside admiring the old colonial- style buildings. My Tho s quiet made me feel at home.

About the Author: This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage TravelFor original article, please visit:




Permanent Link:


Posted in Uncategorized