Viet Nam News
By Hoàng Linh
For an unforgetable experience in watching birds and making salt, head to Bạc Liêu Province, located 290km from the center of Hồ Chí Minh City, a five-hour car ride away.
Bạc Liêu Bird Garden is situated in Hiệp Thành Commune, 6km away out of Bạc Liêu Town.
The garden used to be a coastal mangrove forest, but sand and alluvial sediment have overtaken the sea, in parts.
Bạc Liêu Bird Garden is home to many bird species and waterfowl, such as lesser whistling ducks, herons, blackbirds, etc. Their gathering season lasts from May to October, when they build nests to which they return the following year.
The lively garden is dotted with what look line white stones but are, in fact, bird eggs. A bird watching tower offers views of the garden and its inhabitants, best experienced at the end of the day when they all come back to rest.
A night spent at the garden is noisy with the appealing sounds of birds foraging for food at night, wind blowing through the leaves, and rain falling.
Tangy experience: The sea water in Bạc Liêu is clean and salty, which makes it easy for farmers to extract salt. — Photo news.zing.vn
Bạc Liêu Salt Field
In Hòa Bình and Đông Hải Communes, people extract salt from seawater. The salt-making season generally lasts from December to April. It is said that the seawater in Bạc Liêu is so clean and salty that the salt-making process is easy and quick.
Tourists are encouraged to join in for a tangy experience.
Old longan garden
Bạc Liêu is also known for its 100-year-old longan garden. The pride of the locals, the garden spreads over 230 hectares, belonging to both Hiệp Thành and Vĩnh Trạch Đông Communes of Bạc Liêu Town.
The garden is famous for its aromatic and sweet longan fruit. Tourists come here and sleep under the longan trees to recharge their energy and buy longan fruit as gifts.
Best with rice: Ba khía paste sauce is one of the most delicious paste sauces in Bạc Liêu province. — Photo news.zing.vn
Cá nâu braised with mẻ
Cá nâu (brown fish) has dotted skin which is like the skin of a panther. The fish often eat seaweed so their meat does not smell too fishy. Cá nâu can be made made in different ways - fried with salt and chili or grilled. Cá nâu braised with mẻ (fermented rice) is especially worth trying. The scented dish is sour-sweet and just lightly fishy. Mẻ makes the fish meat whiter and more tender. If spiced with more chili, the dish tastes even better.
Cải xá bấu
Cải xá bấu (salted and sweetened radish) is among the best dishes of Bạc Liêu. It is often best served with hot rice soup, which has a sweet flavour and distinctive smell.
In the past, cải xá bấu was only eaten on the Tết (Lunar New Year) festival. However, nowadays, cải xá bấu can be found any time. It is also a frequent side dish for vegans. Cải xá bấu is also sold along national roads throughout Bạc Liêu Province, making it easily accessible to tourists.
Ba khía (three-striped crab) lives in salty and brackish water. Ba khía can be used to make paste sauce, one of the most delicious paste sauces in the Mekong Delta, which goes particularly well with crispy fried rice.
It takes one about five hours to travel to Bac Lieu. Tourists can take the buses of the Phương Trang, Hoàng Yến, or Kim Yến Companies. Tickets cost VNĐ190,000-VNĐ210,000. Getting around the province is best by hiring a motorbike or taking local buses.
Accommodations are found everywhere in Bạc Liêu. Prices vary from VNĐ180,000 to VNĐ300,000 a room in the center of Bạc Liêu Town. At more upscale hotels, rates are VNĐ500,000- VNĐ1,500,000. — VNS