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A fish out of water: Can Tho’s newest tourist attraction

Le Trung Tin, a farmer in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta city of Can Tho, makes a good living, training a bunch of snakehead fish to leap out of a pond.
Le Trung Tin, a farmer in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta city of Can Tho, makes a good living, training a bunch of snakehead fish to leap out of a pond.


Mr Le Trung Tin

Tourists often visit to see the fancy trick and later eat a tasty meal made of the fish.

Tín, whose pond and house is located on Con Son (Son Islet), has bred the fish for 20 years.

Initially, he gave them fresh food but later used processed feed to encourage the fish to jump out of the water.

Gradually, the fish began to “fly” up to 40 to 50 centimetres above the water to catch the food.

“Unlike other snakehead fish which often dive deep underwater, my fish leap from the water to snatch their food," Tin said.

Before he began training the fish, he sold all of them before Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday every year, earning about VND200 million (US$9,500), with profit of about VND90 million.

But now he keeps some of the trained fish as a tourist attraction.

Visitors can watch the brief show, then eat dried snakehead fish afterwards.

“The meat from the flying snakehead fish is more delicious because they jump out of the water every day, which develops their muscles,” Tin said.

Tín also sells papaya and guava to visitors to add to his income.

Le Thanh Tu, a visitor from HCM City, said he enjoyed the flying fish and the meal, and wanted to visit again next year.

Rustic dishes also include grilled snakehead fish and field crab hotpot.

Situated on the Hau River, a tributary of the delta, the 67ha Sơn Islet attracts tourists with its serene setting, fresh air, fruit orchards, floating houses and delicious traditional southern cakes made by locals.

It has around 100 farming households that offer homestays where tourists can experience the life of a farmer, catch fish in a pond and make dishes and cakes with their hosts.

About 50 families living on floating houses farm fish in cages, where tourists can feed the fish and spend a night in their houses.

The area is 600 metres from the riverbank and takes only five minutes to reach by boat from the Co Bac boat station.

The islet is located in Bui Huu Nghia Ward in Bình Thuỷ District, just 6km from Can Tho City’s Ninh Kieu Wharf.  

Tourists to the area often visit just a few places to explore cake-making, watch flying fish, walk in the pomelo garden, row boats, and walk on countryside roads to experience the culture of the locals.

Tourists pay VND10,000 (50 US cent) for each sightseeing spot. They can also buy Nam Roi pomelo and green-skinned pomelo for VND35,000 and VND50,000 a kilo, respectively, while snakehead fish is priced at VND120,000 a kilo.

Can Tho City is about 160km from HCM City. From the Western Bus Station in HCM City, visitors can catch a bus for VND120,000 ($5) to Can Tho. It will take about three to four hours. 

The city enjoyed strong growth in tourism last year when international political and cultural events as well as traditional festivals were held, according to its Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Last year, the number of tourist arrivals surged 40 per cent to 7.5 million, while tourism revenues rose 61 per cent to VND2.9 trillion ($127.6 million).



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