Visitors enjoy tours of fruit orchard gardens in southern provinces launched by tourism agencies in HCM City. Photo Ngọc Diệp
Famous orchards in the south have improved their services and are now attracting many local and foreign visitors who want to sample local fresh food and commune with nature. Thu Anh reports.
Lái Thiêu Orchard
Lái Thiêu Orchard is located along the Sài Gòn River in Bình Dương Province. It is only 20km from HCM City.
Its beautiful gardens, green trees, fragrant fruits and friendly farmers have made it a top travel destination for Saigonese and tourists for many years.
The gardens of Thuận An Commune cover an area of more than 1,200ha. They are home to several kinds of traditional fruits such as mangosteen, grapefruit, durian and rambutan.
Mangosteen in Lái Thiêu has good quality and special flavour due to the area's soil and climate.
In 2015, the fruit was honoured as one of the top 50 famous specialty fruits of Việt Nam by the Vietnam Records Organisation.
Well-known attractions, including Bé Hai Garden and 99 Garden in Hưng Định Ward, and Chú Ba Sơn Garden in Tân An Ward, offer hands-on experience in harvesting for VNĐ50,000 (US$2) to 120,000 ($4.5) per person.
Students from HCM City and other neighbouring provinces love riding by motorbike to Lái Thiêu Garden on the weekends in the summer. After grabbing a bite to eat, they lie on hammocks thinking about love and future careers.
ái Mơn Orchard Village
Cái Mơn Orchard Village in Bến Tre Province is popular for ornamental plants. Located in Chợ Lách District, the village has around 2,000sq.m of cultivated land growing tropical fruit trees and bonsai.
Garden owners also grow apricot blossom trees widely sold in HCM City during the Lunar New Year (Tết) holiday. Some of them have become billionaires (in Vietnamese đồng) from this traditional business.
The village’s favourite destination is Cái Mơn Floating Market on the Cái Mơn Canal. Local farmers’ boats follow the Cổ Chiên and Hàm Luông rivers to enter the canal to do business every morning. Their products are sold at reasonable prices.
The village is filled with beautiful flowers and plants in red, yellow, green and violet, making a colourful picture.
For many years, the village and floating market have offered HCM City residents a chance to escape the city’s hustle and bustle while breathing fresh air and picking up fruits and plants.
Long Khánh’s orchard gardens
A bit farther from HCM City, around 72km, Long Khánh Town in Đồng Nai Province attracts visitors for its fruit gardens and ancient tombs. The gardens offer avocado, strawberry, rambutan, durian, jackfruit, and mangosteen from May to September.
Because of its soil classification, Long Khánh’s fruits are diverse and of high quality.
Famous gardens include Phùng Thanh Tâm and Cát Anh in Bình Lộc Commune, and Bà Ba Vui and Anh Cường in Hàng Gòn Commune.
Along the streets, many café garden shops provide visitors with a fresh outdoor atmosphere and traditional dishes.
Two of the town’s famous ancient sites are Hàng Gòn Tomb and Trấn Biên Literature Temple, both special national heritage sites.
Hàng Gòn has a unique architecture rarely found elsewhere in Việt Nam or the world. It dates back to between 150BCE and 24CE, according to experts.
It was discovered by French civil engineer J. Bouchot in 1927 during the construction of a road from Long Khánh to Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province.
The rectangular shaped tomb is 4.2m long, 2.7m wide and 1.6m high. It is made of huge granite stone slabs weighing 40 tonnes each.
It is surrounded by many 7.5m-high granite pillars.
Trấn Biên was built in 1715 in Bửu Long Ward in Biên Hòa City, and has been recognised as the first literature temple built in the south.
The temple was destroyed by the French colonialists in 1861. The province rebuilt the 15-ha temple to mark the 300th anniversary of the Biên Hòa-Đồng Nai Region in 1998.
Bird garden in Cà Mau
The Bird Garden, located in the Hồ Chí Minh Presidential Monument Area in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta City of Cà Mau, is a great place to view many kinds of birds.
The 3.1ha garden is home to about 53 species and 6,600 birds.
It attracts more than 10,000 birds during mating seasons. Most of the birds are little egrets, Chinese pond herons, great egrets, little cormorants, black-crowned night herons, darters and grey herons.
More than 30,000 visitors flock to the garden per year.
Local authorities plan to grow more trees to provide a better habitat for birds and build bird-watching towers for foreign and domestic bird-watchers.
Cà Mau Province is also famous for its craft villages. Visitors love shopping for dried fish, dried shrimp, dried banana, sedge mats, chopsticks and other products at these villages.
One of the province’s favourties tourist sites is Tân Thành Sedge-Mat Weaving Village in Tân Thành Commune in Cà Mau City.
The village’s products are different from bamboo mats and mattresses.
On traditional festival occasions, Tân Thành villagers, many of whom have left their home to work at companies, work hard but cannot meet the high demand for sedge mats.
Under its plan to 2020, Cà Mau targets having 37 craft villages next year, up from the current 13.
To increase income for workers, the province has also worked with tourism agencies in neighbouring provinces and HCM City to offer new tours to promote products from craft villages. VNS