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Vietnam Travel Guide

Can Tho

Can Tho Overview

The Delta's Can Tho province sprawls westwards from the eponymous provincial capital along the southern bank of the Bassac (Hau) River -- the larger of the two branches of the Mekong River. Bordered to the west by An Giang and Tien Giang provinces, to the south by Hau Giang and to the north, on the other side of the river, by Vinh Long and Dong Thap, Can Tho province is one of the most popular Delta destinations among travellers and tourists alike.
The province is actually a municipality which was given provincial status when it was carved out of the larger original province (also called Can Tho) in 2004. The remainder forms the new province of Hau Giang which lies to the south. This elevated status reflects Can Tho's importance in the region, both as a trading and transportation hub and as home to the Delta's largest city.

The Delta is often refered to as Vietnam's rice basket, and Can Tho province, with its tremendously fertile soil is one of the largest producers in the region. Aside from rice, it also grows masses of fruit from its many orchards and farms and it's these goods which tourists flock to see in the floating markets dotted around the capital.
Crisscrossed by a tremendous array of tributaries and canals feeding water-borne traffic into the Bassac River, the sheer volume and incredible variety of boats and ships never fails to amaze and a trip along the backwaters can be a fascinating insight into the rural way of life in this beautiful province.

Home to over a million people, Can Tho City is the logical hub for anyone planning on exploring the province. With a wealth of hotels and guesthouses, a very well developed and affordable tourism infrastructure, a healthy supply of eateries and a selection of interesting floating markets within easy reach, it really is difficult to fault -- if you've got time for just one destination in the Delta, this is where you should be heading.

The main reason visitors come to Can Tho is to tour the nearby floating markets. While these are highly recommended, the riverfront promenade itself is also pleasant with some good places to eat and relax in. The city has a good range of accommodation from cheap backpacker haunts right through to comfortable mid-range digs and its urbane atmosphere contrasts to the more rural feel of the towns further out in the Delta.

While the majority of people opt to visit Can Tho as a part of a tour from Saigon, unless you are really short of time this is a poor choice. Spend a night or two in Can Tho, see the floating markets independently and enjoy the riverside setting -- you'll thank yourself later.

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