You are planning to visit Tien Giang and wonder what to see and what to do in this destination. Don't worry, you absolutely will have a very wonderful and impressive journey when coming to Tien Giang by visiting stunning landscapes, taking part in traditional festivals and tasting special dishes. Some of special places to visit in Tien Giang are: Cai Be Floating Market, Dong Tam Snake Farm, Vinh Trang Temple, Thoi Son Island.

1. Vinh Trang Pagoda

If you truly enjoy the outdoors and want the unique experience of living with the local people in the Mekong Delta, you should not miss Vinh Trang Pagoda, an ancient southern architectural gem in Tien Giang Province.

The history of Vinh Trang Pagoda

Formerly, it was a small leaf hermitage set up in the early 19th century by District Chief Bui Cong Dat. In 1849, the Most Venerable Abbot Thich Hue Dang put it up a big pagoda and named it Vinh Trang Pagoda. The Abbot’s successor was the Most Venerable Thich Thien De. In 1890, lay-Buddhists came to the Royal-Chartered Linh Thuu Pagoda to invite the Most Venerable Thich Chanh Hau take charge of the Abbot of the Pagoda. In 1895, he had the Pagoda reconstructed. The pagoda has many netlike panels, horizontal boards and oblong boards of the parallel sentences. These netlike panels were elaborately carved. The Most Venerable Thich Minh Dang who had the Triple Gate, the main hall and the Patria. The pagoda has many netlike panels, horizontal boards and oblong boards of the parallel sentences.

Close eyes to the pagoda

Vinh Trang Pagoda is the greatest pagoda of Tien Giang Province, in an area of 2,000m2 with many beautiful trees. It was built in 1849 in My Phong village, My Tho City, in the shape of  “Nation” letter of Chinese characters. The pagoda includes four large departments connected with each other: the front department, the main department, the worship department and the back department, bearing a combination of European-Asian architecture and creating a splendid beauty, solemnity, but purity.
The beautiful structure features a mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese and Angkor (Cambodian) architectural styles. The pagoda consists of five buildings, two ornamental yards and 178 pillars. The extremely beautiful structures in the pagoda are two triumphal arches bearing an art of inserting bottle and porcelain fragments which create harmonious pictures illustrating the Buddha’s legendaries. Inside the pagoda, there is a set of pictures “eight angels riding on animals” another set of statues of the Amitabha Holy Trinity carved in bronze, as big as a man, and more particularly, the set of the eighteen Arhants, wood carving work, is the only one, not two, in the west of South Vietnam, made by a snumber of artists in 1907. Graves of Buddhist priests who took care of the pagoda are scattered around. These graves are decorated with carefully engraved flagstones.
There are three entrances to the pagoda. The central iron gate is always closed, while the two side gates, which are designed in the co lau style are open. The side gates are adorned with colorful porcelain mosaics featuring Buddhist folktales and natural scenery. The facade of Vinh Trang Pagoda contains both Asian and European architecture including  elements from the Renaissance period, Romanesque style, French decorative flowers and Japanese enameled tile. From afar, the pagoda resembles the five-tower Angkor Temple.
According to locals, a monk named Minh Dan and an architect named Huynh Tri Phu traveled to Cambodia prior to building the pagoda for inspiration and eventually combined Khmer architecture with European styles for the pagoda. Vinh Trang Pagoda houses 60 precious statues made from copper, wood and terracotta. The most valuable collection is the 18 arhats made from jackfruit tree wood in 1907. Additionally, the pagoda has a bell that was cast in 1854.
The pagoda is surrounded by gardens of ornamental trees, ancient trees and bonsai, creating a peaceful atmosphere. It provided shelter for Vietnamese patriots and is recognized as a national historical and cultural relic by the government.
The architecture of Vinh Trang Pagoda is a harmonious combination of Asian and European types of architecture, creating the splendid, but simple features of this Buddhist pagoda.

2. Cai Be floating market

Tien Giang province wins an award as not only the rice bowl of the Mekong Delta, but also the biggest fruit producing area throughout Vietnam. About 70km away from Saigon, the province is situated in the North of the Tien River. If you are planning to enjoy a short trip in the Delta, make sure that you add Cai Be Floating Market into your bucket list. The floating market lies in the area where the Tien River shares the border between 3 provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long as well as Ben Tre. Mingling with the bustling vibe and chaotic atmosphere of the market, your mind seems to soak up the rhythm of brandishing water flow, while your soul seems to be daydreamt by the vastness of the Mekong River.

The history of Cai Be Floating Market

Together with Cai Rang, Phung Hiep, Phong Dien Floating Markets, Cai Be Floating Market stands out as one of the noticeable and influential markets in Mekong Delta. Although its origin is still unknown, many people still consider that the market was formed by those from the central of the country in 17th to 18th centuries, during time of the formation of the delta. They were known as the first founders who cultivated and settled down the delta for a long time. As per what Gia Dinh Thanh Thong Chi recorded, in 1732, Nguyen Lord declared to start constructing Long Ho Town at Cai Be Town.
Every day, lots of boats and rafts in the delta gather here to trade and do business. Although the market is often open all day, the liveliest time is at sunrise. Some sellers visit the market to purchase products from the merchant. Then, these will be brought back the markets on land for sale.

The colorful atmosphere of Cai Be Floating Market

Foreigners who never heard floating markets before are highly advised to set foot in Cai Be once in their trip to Vietnam. Floating market is a huge marketplace where both sellers and buyers make deals or purchases on the boats. The truth is that this kind of market is very common in the Mekong Delta region where the people’ lives are also closely attached to the waterway. There are lots of the tourist agencies that introduce Cai Be floating market tour for nature lovers and adventurous visitors. All you must do is simply to sign up for a package tour as well as have yourself ready to get up early in the morning.
In general, the market is split into 2 distinguishing parts, called buying places and selling places. At that time, boats and sampans packed with vegetables, fruits, and other agricultural goods from other provinces, such as sweet potatoes (Vinh Long) and pumpkins (Hau Giang), will be anchored along the banks of the Tien River for kilometers. Similar to Cai Rang Market, the sample of the merchandise is also hung on a long pole in front of each boat to attract and help customers realize more easily. This seems to be a common and unique sign you only find in the floating markets in Mekong Delta.
You are able to hire a motorboat to sail along the river as well as experience how animated and vibrant a floating market is. From the 3:00 AM in the early morning, boats and sampans are busy and crowded since Cai Be is considered one of the largest wholesale markets in the region. Spending their lifetime on the river, traders also use their boats as “mobile houses” from generation to generation. The water is likely to become an inseparable part of their daily lives. They eat, sleep, hang out, and do other jobs on water. On the deck of one boat, it is easy to catch the images of kids studying or playing with dogs.
In addition, you may also gain practical experience by accompanying with the locals to know how they catch fish. After sailing on the river, visitors may enjoy homestay atmosphere, wander around the fruit gardens, sample local cuisine and immerse in the old stories. If departing for the journey on a nice day without rain, you should not let this interesting tourist attraction slip out of your itinerary.

3. Dong Tam Snake Farm

Situated about 9 km west of My Tho City, Dong Tam Snake Farm in Binh Duc Commune, Chau Thanh District, Tien Giang Province is the largest centre for snake rearing and snakebite treatment in the Cuu Long River Delta. It has long been an interesting tourist site for domestic and foreign visitors.
The farm has the tasks of doing scientific research, rearing and conserving precious species of snakes, medicinal plants and animals, producing traditional medicines and providing first aids and treatment for people who are bitten by poisonous snakes in the region. Dong Tam Snake Farm has become a scientific center with great achievements in curing people.
The farm covers 12 ha. It has separated areas to rear precious species of snakes, such as the king cobras, burrowing cobras and ringhals, another to grow medicinal plants, a hospital for snakebite treatment, a research department, an animal reserve and a snake museum.
On average, each year, the centre receives over 1,000 victims of poisonous snakes. In 2005 it received over 10 billion VND from the State, ministries and sectors to build an emergency ward with facilities, machines and equipment for snakebites treatment.
Since March, 2006, the patients here have been treated free of charge. Over the past decades the centre has saved the lives of thousands of people bitten by venomous snakes.
It has a team of experts and qualified physicians with experience in snakebite treatment. The centre also extracts the venom of the king cobras and vipers to produce medicines and serums for snakebite treatment and it also grows Vietnamese medicinal plants. It has hundreds of categories of medicines for different diseases, from influenza and headache to heart, liver and stomach diseases.
Dong Tam Snake Farm is a unique site in the My Tho - Thoi Son Island - Dong Tam Snake Farm tour. At the farm the tour guide will help visitors learn about each species of snakes, their characteristics and physiology, how to distinguish venomous and non-venomous snakes so that they can survive when bitten by the snakes. Here, visitors seem to be lost in a kingdom of hundreds of species of snakes.
There are many snakes winding themselves around the branches. Visitors also have an opportunity to see many rare and precious species of amphibians, such as pythons, crocodiles and turtles which are in danger of extinction in Vietnam. Dong Tam Snake Farm has a museum with over 40 specimens of snakes which have been listed in Vietnam’s record book. This is the first snake museum in Vietnam.
Besides learning about the snakes, visitors will enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the fruit gardens which are reminiscent of a peaceful countryside. Every year, about 30,000-40,000 domestic and foreign tourists visit this area.

4. Thoi Son Island

Thoi Son Island is one of famous attractions in Mekong River Delta. This island fascinates visitors by its beautiful landscapes, ancient houses, unique traditional Vietnamese folk music – Don Ca Tai Tu, and special cuisine.
Thoi Son Island is also known as Con Lan Island or Unicorn Island. This island is administrated by Thoi Son Commune in My Tho City (Tien Giang Province). This is the largest of 4 islands in My Tho River, a part of Tien River. Thoi Son Island has an area of ​​about 1,200 hectares with crisscrossed canals and ditches. In spite of its position in the same river (My Tho River), Dragon Island or Con Long Island and Thoi Son Island belong to My Tho City of Tien Giang Province, while Con Quy Island and Con Phung Island belongs to Tan Thach Commune, Chau Thanh District of Ben Tre Province. Residents in Thoi Son Island make their earn living mainly by growing fruit trees such as longan and sapoche, or bee keeping, fishing and aquaculture. Visiting the island, you will have an opportunity to discover many interesting things and have unforgettable moments.
Thoi Son Island has a length of about 11 km, and a width of 1 km. This island is not just a well-known attraction in Mekong River Delta, but also a famous growing fruit area with the population of about 6,000 people. The island receives alluvial from Tien River. From afar, this island looks like a fortress explored 300 years ago. In 1990, Thoi Son Island tourism started to develop.
After 30 minutes of enjoying landscapes by boats, tourists will reach Thoi Son Island. It is really interesting when sightseeing in this island by boats. Owing to the rich alluvial, trees are green all year round. And, the atmosphere here is fresh and cool. Here, tourists will enjoy the comfort in lush green gardens, laying in a hammock or sit on rocking chairs and enjoy the cool breeze and juicy fruits. Thoi Son Island is always full of seasonal fruit trees, from longan, rambutan, to durian, etc. Popping into orchards of these fruits trees will bring you interesting experiences.
Another attraction in this island is ancient houses. There are many spacious and cool houses with Southern architectural characteristics. The front yard of these houses is the place of bonsai pots with various strange and interesting shapes. Houses in this island remain their ancient and untouched beauty. Mr. Tam's house is a famous attraction in this island. This house is a typical model of southwestern houses. The house is furnished with ancient styles of pearl-carved altar, delicate tables and couches, along with other antique things. The house is surrounded by beautiful and strange bonsai.
Apart from discovering specialties as delicious traditional food, facilities of making candy and other products, you have a chance to enjoy sweet melodies of Don Ca Tai Tu – a traditional music of Southern Vietnam in particular and of Vietnam in general. Beautiful vocals with unique melodies of Don Ca Tai Tu will bring a special Vietnamese cultural space to tourists.
Discovering cuisine in this island is one of indispensable things. Tourists can enjoy dishes of fish, shrimp, especially Tai Tuong fried fish dish. You will have the opportunity to get familiar with all funny and hospitable gardeners. They will invite you to taste honey with its own special flavor going with tea and coconut candies. Once dropping by Thoi Son Island, you should not miss to visit some small facilities of producing coconut candy and other products made of coconut. The scents of these specialties appeal visitors to taste, admire and buy as gifts for family and friends. Coming here, visitors can see the process of making coconut candy by the manual method, buy crafts, and utensils made ​​from coconut trees. In addition, currently, in this island, there is an area for sightseeing and restaurant chain with ancient architecture invested and built to meet the need of tourists. You will have the feeling of luxury, coziness and comfort.
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