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.
|Visitors enjoy tours of fruit orchard gardens in southern provinces launched by tourism agencies in HCM City.-- Photo Ngoc Diep|
Lai Thieu Orchard
Lai Thieu Orchard is located along the Sai Gon River in Binh Duong 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 Thuan 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 Lai Thieu 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 Vietnam by the Vietnam Records Organisation.
Well-known attractions, including Be Hai Garden and 99 Garden in Hung Dinh Ward, and Chu Ba Son Garden in Tân An Ward, offer hands-on experience in harvesting for VND50,000 (US$2) to 120,000 ($4.5) per person.
Students from HCM City and other neighbouring provinces love riding by motorbike to Lai Thieu Garden on the weekends in the summer. After grabbing a bite to eat, they lie on hammocks thinking about love and future careers.
Cai Mon Orchard Village
Cái Mơn Orchard Village in Ben Tre Province is popular for ornamental plants. Located in Cho Lach 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 Cai Mon Floating Market on the Cai Mon Canal. Local farmers’ boats follow the Cổ Chien and Ham Luong 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 Khanh’s orchard gardens
A bit farther from HCM City, around 72km, Long Khanh Town in Dong 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 Khanh’s fruits are diverse and of high quality.
Famous gardens include Phung Thanh Tam and Cat Anh in Binh Loc Commune, and Ba Ba Vui and Anh Cuong in Hang Gon 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 Hang Gon Tomb and Tran Bien Literature Temple, both special national heritage sites.
Hang Gon has a unique architecture rarely found elsewhere in Vietnam 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 Khanh to Bà Rịa-Vung Tau 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.
Tran Bien was built in 1715 in Buu Long Ward in Bien Hoa 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 Bien Hoa-Dong Nai Region in 1998.
Bird garden in Ca Mau
The Bird Garden, located in the Ho Chi Minh Presidential Monument Area in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta City of Ca 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.
Ca 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 Tan Thanh Sedge-Mat Weaving Village in Tan Thanh Commune in Ca Mau City.
The village’s products are different from bamboo mats and mattresses.
On traditional festival occasions, Tan Thanh 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, Ca 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.