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Cần Thơ Travel Guide

About

As the sixth largest city of Vietnam, Cần Thơ is siutated along the famous Mekong Delta, which the latter has a very different importance to the locals than foreigners: it is named as the "rice basket of Vietnam", where more than half of the nation's rice production flows from this strip of provinces alone. It is fitting, for anyone visiting this city, to see what Cần Thơ is famous for and look upon the essence of its surrounding delta. Cần Thơ is especially famous for its floating markets: doubtless a staple attraction of many other countries and cities near it. Cần Thơ also does its tropical climate justice; where visitors can find a wide range of fruits such as pomelo, jackfruit, durian, mango and dragonfruit, in every corner of this city. Cần Thơ is also a city of both modern and historical sights. Beginning with the former, one of the iconic structures is the Cần Thơ Bridge: a cable-stayed bridge spanning over the Hậu River, it was opened in April 2010 after a collapse delayed its initial completion date by three years. Now, it is thew largest bridge in the region and serves the residents and visitors of Cần Thơ as part of its integral road network. As for the historical side of Cần Thơ, countless temples, pagodas, cathedrals and even a stork sanctuary adorn the skyline and nooks and crannies of this beautiful city. A must-visit location is the Cần Thơ Musuem built in 1976, which showcases more than 5000 objects and artifacts in the largest museum the city has to offer. One of the musuem's most alluring artifacts displayed is a life-sized pagoda that has been around almost as long as Cần Thơ itself: a powerful and appropriate representation of everything the city is.

Local Custom & Slang

Local Festivities

  • Cần Thơ has many names, and one of them can be arttributed to the numerous temples and pagodas bestowed across the city's landscape. One of the oldest pagodas in Cần Thơ is the Ong Pagoda: built in 1894, it was influenced by deeply Chinese architecture with porcelain motifs and ornate curved roofs. Once arriving on the shores of Cần Thơ, one can immediately tell how deeply Buddhism and the culure surrounding it is rooted in Cần Thơ. The city's resident saint is a Chinese deity called Guang Gong: a Chinese general from the Three Kingdoms Period who symbolises benovelence, righteousness and wisdom. With Ong Pagoda built to honor this legendary figure, it is no surprise that countless devotees and ceremonies throng the grounds of this historical place of worship. One of the famous ceremonies run in Ong Pagoda is the lantern auction festival which happens every 10 years: this is where Beautifully and cleverly made lanterns with traditional methods are sold off to raise money to contribute to charity organisations, just as the original philosophy of Ong Pagoda resonates through time: sharing your fortune with the less fortunate.

More Local Festivities

  • Foodie enthusiasts listen up: another one of Cần Thơ's local festivals centres around the local delicacy of cake, or bánh. Called the Southern Folk Cake Festival, it happens every April in the city itself. The festival strives to preserve and recreate the original methods and atmosphere of Southern Vietnam's cake-making culture, so expect bustling rows of street vendors preparing cakes and teas with traditional instruments as how they used it centuries ago. In addition, certain female locals would also be donning their traditional ba ba gowns to showcase the evolution of this cultural attire. Don't miss out this eye-opening and mouth-watering festival, and taste the naturally plant-dyed Vietnamese cakes as if they were made all those ages ago.

Phrases for shopping

  • How much (is this?): Bao nhieu? (baow nyew)

  • Could you reduce the price?: Giam gia duoc khong? (zam za duoc khom)

  • Is this for sale?: Co ban khong? (cor ban kohm?)

  • It's too expensive: Mac qua (mac wa)

  • You are very beautiful: Em dep qua (Em dep wah)

  • You are very handsome: Anh dep trai qua (Anh dep wah)

  • a cheeky but effective tip is to ask the price from a Vietnamese seller then compliment them. The Vietnamese love it when visitors do this, and you would almost every time score much more affordable prices after pulling this tactic.

Social Gestures and Touch

  • Pointing with one's index finger at sacred objects (e.g. Buddhas) is considered social taboo, so do use your whole hand when addressing something instead. Considering this point, it is seen as a sign of respect to remove one's hat in the presence of respected or elderly members of society (e.g. monks, senior citizens).

Phrases for eating

  • May I have the menu please: Cho toi cai menu duoc khong (Cho toy khai menu duuc khom)
  • What is this?: Cai gi vay? (kai zi vai)
  • I am allergic to peanuts: To di ung voi dau phong (Doi yi ung voy dau fong)
  • I cannot eat pork: Toi khong an duoc thit heo (Toi khom an duo tit hehll)
  • I am vegetarian: Toi an chay (Toi an chayh)
  • I would like to have this: Cho toi cai nay (Chor toi kah nai)
  • May I have the bill please: Tinh tien (Din ting)

Trip Essentials

  • Weather
  • Currency
  • Visa
  • Electricity
  • Cần Thơ's climate can be classified as tropical wet and dry, with both a wet and dry season all year round, with a relatively high humidity of 83%.

  • The dry season of Cần Thơ occurs between December to April, with temperatures ranging from 22.1°C to 33.4°C.

  • The wet season of Cần Thơ occurs between May to November, with temperatures ranging from 24.1°C to 32.9°C.

  • As Cần Thơ's main attractions would be pagodas, cathedrals and the city's resident floating market; the ideal time to visit would be around a drier season, as although this period ushers in drizzles and light rainfall, it would be still be possible to travel around the city on foot visiting its many historical attractions.

Transportation

By Bus

  • Due to Cần Thơ's location on the Mekong Delta, many bus services travel from to and fro Cần Thơ and other cities from the centre and northern Vietnam, and it is also popular for travellers to arrive in Cần Thơ through Ho Chi Minh City.
  • There are three main operators of these buses coming into and from Cần Thơ: Mai Linh, Phuong Trang and Thanh Buoi.All three operators offer complimentary bottled water as well as air-conditioning on bigger buses, and begin from Ho Chi Minh City before arriving in Cần Thơ. Prices are usually fixed rates; Mai Linh Bus charges 80,000 VND for a ticket to Cần Thơ, while a ticket on Phuong Trang Bus costs 135,000 VND, and finally 125,000 VND for Thanh Buoi to travel to Cần Thơ from Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Each ride takes around 4 hours each, and all three operators give all travellers a 30-minute toilet and food break in-between, so don't worry about not catching any breathing time during the long journey.

By Motorcycle Rental

  • Just like many other Vietnamese cities, it is relatively easy to find a shop offering motorcycle rentals in Cần Thơ. Take note to bring your valid driver's license before renting this vehichle, as well as not being covered for accident insurance unless you're holding a valid Vietnamese license.

  • Rentals for motorcycle rentals begin from 220,000 VND. In addition, you might be required to take an impromptu driving test before allowing you to rent.

By Bicycle Rental

  • While the option of bicycles are the much cheapr one compared to motorcycles, most of the bicycles offered here by the locals are smaller and lighter-made for the size of local cyclists-compared to European tourists who are taller and bigger in size. If you happened to be the latter, do check the bicycle you rented beforehand, as there has been many cases where the bicycle fell apart while on rent: not from production quality, but simply from the weight.

  • Much cheaper but riskier than renting a motorcycle, prices vary according to small shops to proper companies: bicycle rental in Cần Thơ can start from 130,000 VND.

By Taxi or Private Car

  • Compared to Saigon and many other parts of Vietnam, there is no significant difference in the qualities of taxi companies' in Cần Thơ. Do take note that compared to other Vietnamese cities, it is harder to hail down a taxi in Cần Thơ, and it is recommended to keep the name of a taxi company on hand or in your head so you can make a direct call. As the call will be made in Vietnamese, the written instructions come in handy as you could simply ask for help in a nearby hotel to call for your cab.

  • As the city of Cần Thơ is split up into districts, fares are usually calculated according to them. Rates to travel between one district can start from 347,000 VND.

  • Local Operators: Mai Linh Taxi and Taxi Mekong

By Boat

  • Another one of Cần Thơ's highlights is its two resident floating markets; Cái Răng and Hong Điền Floating Markets. While getting to the location of the markets itself can be done in a myriad of ways, there are "boat ladies" at each market that offer a special mode of transport to get around the market. Due to the size of density of boats in each floating market, it is impossible for larger tour cruises to enter the markets' waters, thus there is much smaller rowboats which function as both tour transport for willing foreigners. While the "boat ladies" can be persuasive in convincing you to take up these boat tours, it is much safer for you and your wallet to rent it directly from a boat owner instead.

  • There are different tour packages offered at different prices, but the flat rate is usually 70,000 VND per hour. These tours will take you either through the canals or the market itself. While starting prices can vary from 230,000 VNd to 460,000 VND for a 3-hour or 7-hour tour, brush up on your negotiation skills and you can get the prices bargained down to 160,000 VND to 340,000 VND with no change to the tour durations.

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