Being the largest city of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho is located 170km from Ho Chi Minh City. Referred to as the “Western Capital”, it is noted for floating markets, rice paper-making village, bird garden, tropical fruits and picturesque rural canals.
The center of Can Tho is a buzzing town with motorized cyclos roaring up and down the street combined with throngs of people going about their life. Most people know about Can Tho is the perfect base for nearby floating markets where people sell and buy things on the river, the major draw for tourists who come here to boat along the intricate canals and rivers leading out of the town. The closest market is Cai Rang situated 8km south of the city by road or a 20km loop by boat. It is the biggest one in the region and opens from 5am to 11am with wholesalers selling a variety of fruit and vegetables. Another market is Phung Hiep, 31km from the town. This is the snake market, selling a plethora of living, wriggling and often poisonous snakes. Pythons and Cobras are caught by farmers by hand while others have come here to purchase snakes for restaurant, medicinal reasons or personal consumption. This market operates all day from 5am to 5pm. If travel by boat, you can stop by gardens of fruits like pineapple, rambutan, papaya… A little closer, but no less exotic, is the Phong Dien floating market.
Another worthwhile trip, best visited at twilight is the Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary 50km outside of town in Thot Not. An hour drive from Can Tho, following by another 15-minute longtail boat cruise, you will reach this place. The sanctuary is home to thousands of storks that return every evening to roost. An intimate glimpse of the Delta life along the waterway to and from the sanctuary will surely be an unforgettable experience. On the way back to the town, check out the Binh Thuy ancient house. The house was built in 1870 features the architectural blend of Asian and European styles with materials imported from France. It was chosen as the background of many famous films such as The Lover, The prince of Bac Lieu, The silt ways. Other attractions include the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the central market and the Cantonese Congregation Pagoda.