I was born and raised in Vinh Long. It’s a lesser-known riverside province in the Mekong Delta which is usually overlooked by tourist.
Because of that, very few people and bloggers write a complete travel guide showing tourists like you how to have fun in this city. That is the reason why I came up with this ultimate list of what to do in Vinh Long for first-time visitors.
This article provides you an in-depth guide into finding the best things to do and attraction in Vinh Long. You will find a list of the photogenic spots, holy shrines, outdoor activities and many more!
4 Top-rated Attractions in Vinh Long
Vinh Long Temple of Literature
If you’re a fan culture and photography, then Temple of Literature is that one attraction in Vinh Long you should not miss. The ancient Temple of Literature in Vinh Long is one of the oldest Confucius temples in Southern Vietnam.
History of Vinh Long Temple of Literature
Facing the bank of Long Ho River, Vinh Long Temple of Literature was built in 1866 by Phan Thanh Gian to honor Vietnam’s traditional educational system.
Since the temple was where the scholars in Vinh Long gathered to rebel against the French occupation, the temple was almost demolished to avoid revolutionary.
Thanks to the positive movement of history, the temple is still perfectly preserved up to now!
Pensive Charm of the Temple
Unlike the other famous Confucius temples in Hanoi or Hue, the one in Vinh Long bears a pensive beauty taking over a small piece of land. The architecture is not extravagant that has you saying WOW, yet its simple and rustic design will definitely win your heart.
The ancient temple lies opposite to the red entrance gate, right at the end of the lengthy path. Tranquility and holiness are what you can feel after entering the gate. Each building on the inside puts on an elegant look.
The main hall set at the end of the path is dedicated to Confucius and his followers. The path leading to this building walks you through the shade of the century-old trees, Dipterocarpus, that is surely a gorgeous corner of art.
Along the path, don’t forget to take a closer look at the stelas in classical scripts. These were to sing praises of education, morality and the love of beauty.
A few steps further to the left of the main hall is a pavilion that was once used as a place for poems and arts. Nowadays, this building is used to pay tribute to the founder, Phan Thanh Gian and his scholars.
- Address: Tran Phu street, Ward 4, Vinh Long.
- Opening time: 8 am – 4 pm.
- Entrance ticket: free of charge
Ancient Chinese Temples
Another attraction in Vinh Long I highly recommend is the ancient Chinese temple. There are a few ancient temples built by Chinese immigrants dating back to the 19th century.
Most of them are in the city center with a perfectly preserved architecture.
Just like any other Chinese temples in the world, the ones in Vinh Long bear a similar charm with a traditional Chinese design.
They are divided into different sections such as the main hall and side halls that surround a sky well in the middle. This is a spectacular design to ventilate the inside atmosphere from the incense smoke.
Another factor that I love about the Chinese temples in Vinh Long is the combination of colors and ceramics used throughout the temples.
The large red doors, the 2 big lanterns and the ceramic statue of dragons and fairies along the roofline bring you a unique feeling.
However, since it’s a holy shrine, there’re some things you should keep in mind before visiting.
The first thing is to cover your knees and shoulders before entering to show respect to the deities inside.
Secondly, keep it quiet. A holy shrine should not be distracted by noise.
One last thing I want to mention is to avoid big occasions such as the Full-moon day or Lunar New Year. These days attract a huge number of locals paying a visit. If you look for a good background for your shots, come during the regular weekdays.
There are two most famous Chinese temples in Vinh Long to recommend.
Jade Buddha Pagoda
Locally known as “Phật Ngọc Xá Lợi” in Vietnamese, the Jade Buddha Pagoda is one of the most famous holy attractions in Vinh Long.
Thanks to the magnificent beauty and excellent location, the pagoda has become a muse of many locals in town. They visit here daily to snap the best shots for Instagram.
Located by the romantic Tiền River and next to the gigantic My Thuan Suspension Bridge, Jade Buddha Pagoda occupies a large piece of land with a spacious rooftop square.
We love standing on the square watching the sunset every day. The breeze from the river kisses on the skin while the landscape is more than just a peaceful scene.
The site attracts visitors with an enormous 35-meter-high Guanyin statue and a 45-meter-high Stupa tower. These are the top reasons that the young community in Vinh Long frequent every now and then for the best shots!
The Jade Buddha Pagoda is not a new Buddhist temple. It was firstly built in 1970, yet put on hold due to the ups and downs of the Vietnam War in 1975.
Nowadays, the pagoda turns back to its initial purpose: to worship and pay honor to Vietnamese Buddhism.
- Address: Highway No. 80, Tan Ngai Vinh Long.
- Entrance ticket: free of charge.
Vinh Long Ancient Houses
Beauty of the East-Meet-West
Little do you know that the ancient houses are the hidden charm of the Mekong Delta.
These houses harmonize the stunning beauty of French architecture and traditional Vietnamese designing methods.
Amongst many provinces in the Mekong Delta, Vinh Long beholds a few ancient houses which were once used as the mansions of the tycoons and bureaucracy in town.
In contrast to the multi-story buildings in the city center, the ancient mansions in Vinh Long are set on a large piece of land, sometimes facing the river and surrounded by nature.
These houses are divided into numerous compartments and facades. Each compartment is made of precious materials, which are mostly woods, encaustic tiles, and red bricks.
A trip into an ancient house in Vinh Long is a chance for you to travel back in time, admire the sophistication and meticulousness of the wealthy families during their heydays.
These houses were usually decorated by the skillful artisans from Hue, the former royal capital of Vietnam.
They were in charge of crafting and painting the details and patterns along the rooftop or pillars.
The most common decorative sculptures are carved panels, horizontal lacquered boards, tiled ceiling, and the encaustic floor.
Rather than featuring the holy spiritual animals, the masters decided to use common animals from the Mekong Delta such as crab, fish, tiger or leopard. This reflects the common sense and taste of the beauty of the Vinh Long locals.
My Favorite Vinh Long Ancient House
Amongst the ancient houses left in Vinh Long, Cai Cuong is the most sought-after destination. It is located by a small river in Binh Hoa Phuoc Island and guarded by the descendants of Cai Cuong family.
The entrance ticket is free of charge and visitors can admire the beauty of the mansion on the outside.
To visit on the inside, you only need to pay a few bucks to the guards and you’re good to go!
- Address: 38 Binh Hoa Phuoc, Long Ho District, Vinh Long.
- Entrance ticket: free of charge (applied for outside visit).
Tra On Floating Market
There are 2 different floating markets near Vinh Long. One is Cai Be in Tien Giang Province, an hour away from Vinh Long. Another one is Tra On, which is in a district of Vinh Long.
Cai Be is clearly more common than the one in Tra On, which is losing its fame and its real beauty since not many people are actually going there to trade off foods like dozens of years ago.
The one in Cai Be is the second most famous floating market in the Mekong Delta, after Cai Rang in Can Tho.
So no matter which one you choose to visit, they are still similar to one another in terms of concept, location, history and beauty.
The Mekong Delta floating market is a typical charm of the trading culture of the people living on the rivers, on the boats. It is a special character and reflects the way the locals deal with waters and canals surrounding them.
What to Be Seen on a Floating Market?
Most of the goodies you see in a floating market are for wholesales. They are mostly fruits and rice. Many other boats sell exotic food by mothers who have been doing this for their entire life. And they taste so good that you get to enjoy breakfast while being on the surface of the river for the first time of your life.
The whole market occupies a large section of river, usually at river junction where people from the surrounding areas gather and start exchanging goods.
These markets are open very early in the morning and ends at around 10 am. If you stay in Vinh Long, you need to get up very early in the morning and travel either by boat or car to the floating market you want.
The trip takes time so you probably get up at 4-ish in the morning to get ready for the trip. So my advice for my guests is spending the first night near the floating market they like, and travel there in the next morning.
For example if you want to see Cai Be, then stay in Tien Giang in the previous night. If you like Cai Rang, then spend the first night in Can Tho.
My recommendation for anyone who want to see the floating market is to sign up for a tour. You want a good tour guide who shows you the best beauty of the floating market that you cannot see yourself.
They will order you breakfast, get you drinks and tell you the story behind the birth of the floating market. This is something very important when you travel because you want to understand the culture of every place you visit. And it’s not just sightseeing!
6 Best Recommended Things to Do in Vinh Long
Spend a Night at the Top Homestay
Staying in a homestay is a must-do activity in the Mekong Delta. Vinh Long is one of the best places in Vietnam that is famous for a homestay trip.
Where are the Homestays Located?
Most of the homestays in Vinh Long are located on An Binh Island. People think about the An Binh as a serene ambiance with lots of fruit plantations, rivers, and canals.
Some other homestays are located on the outskirt of Vinh Long, such as Mekong Pottery Homestay. This is an excellent location for those who want to escape from the hustle of the city life, but not somewhere touristy like the An Binh Island.
Why Should You Choose Homestay over Hotel?
Choosing a homestay over a hotel is a great advantage if you like to discover the local life in a more authentic way.
It allows you to interact with the host family, cook and exchange culture with them. Those tourists who choose to spend their nights in a homestay know what they want.
They are searching for genuine culture. They want to see how the locals eat, how they live, what they do in the garden, and many more!
That kind of experience gives them something that they cannot find in a regular hotel or on a packaged tour.
People love staying in a Vinh Long homestay because they can experience the home-made meals. They can learn how to plant a tree, how to garden, how to row a boat, just like the way the locals live.
Architecture is another factor that generates a strong liking from tourists like you.
Each homestay has a different vibe and architecture. It expresses the personality of the host family.
Some are made of coconut, some are made of terra-cotta, some are made of woods. Each has its charm that gives you a unique feeling.
Cycle around the Islands
An Binh – All-time Famous Island
An Binh is the most talked-about destination on travel magazines regarding where to go in Vinh Long. The island is a perfect getaway for those searching for hidden natural beauty and serene landscapes.
This is where you can contemplate the gentle natural charm as well as discover the day in the life of the Vinh Long locals.
An Binh is located across Tien River in a namesake hamlet, which occupies half of the island. Meanwhile, the other half belongs to Binh Hoa Phuoc Island, which is by the bank of Co Chien River.
The island is the paradise on Earth, a true kingdom of tropical fruit plantations nesting by rows of willow.
Thanks to the perfect location by the river and canals, the soil is perfectly fertile and populous with fresh water. This is a great advantage for a delta life where gardening is the main occupation of the islanders.
Talking about which fruits to recommend on Vinh Long islands, I will definitely go for rambutan, mango, longan, durian, and guava.
Thanks to a frequent visit of tourists, many households on An Binh Island open their plantations for public visits.
Spending half a day on the island and you can enjoy the local home-made meal in a family-run restaurant, right in the middle of the plantation.
An entrance ticket per person is around 50 to 70.000 VND, and you can freely pick any tropical fruits you want as much as you want!
Binh Hoa Phuoc – Lesser-known Island with a Hidden Charm
If you want somewhere less-touristy and more peaceful, I highly recommend Binh Hoa Phuoc Island.
Not many tourists are aware of this place, which means you can enjoy your vibe to the fullest. Touring to this part of town in an exclusively private biking tour by Mekong Pottery Homestay.
They cycle with you along the riverside village paths where you hop on a boat trip along a small river.
The tour combines with a trip into a terra-cotta factory (which I mention in the next part).
Traditional Handicraft Villages
Red Terra-Cotta Factory Village
Aside from the lush tropical fruit plantations and homestay experience, Vinh Long is also the kingdom of red bricks and terra-cotta.
The traditional village of Vinh Long terra-cotta is by the bank of Co Chien River and has been existing for over a century.
It’s a stunning scene to admire at the towering kilns that are in the shape of the eggshells.
Such type of design plays a huge role in maintaining a certain temperate throughout the inner space. This is to prevent the baked items from going broken or unheated.
Where is Vinh Long Red Brick Factories Located?
The village of Vinh Long pottery is roughly 2 kilometers away from the city center.
You can easily rent a boat to travel along the river and enter the factory by waterway.
Or, you can also cycle to the factory on a biking tour by Mekong Pottery Homestay. This is one of the few exclusive tours that take you to a lesser-known factory and not a touristy site.
The Magic Behind Vinh Long Red Terra-Cotta
The unique red has become the selling point for Vinh Long terracotta beside its delicate designs. The magic behind this extravagant color is the clay at the bottom of the Co Chien River.
Surprisingly, you cannot find such special clay elsewhere in Vinh Long and the Mekong Delta. Only this section of the Co Chien River has supplied the source of clay for the making of red bricks and pottery for ages.
What is Inside a Pottery Factory?
Touring to a red terracotta factory in Vinh Long allows you to have an insight of how pottery is produced, step by step.
From the first stage when the clay is dug out from the river, mixed with sand and water; till it’s printed and formed in the mold before being baked.
Each step provides an interesting insight into how careful, accurate and hard-working the artisans have to be.
If you are about to spend a few days in Vinh Long, make sure to find a local friend to show you all you need to know about Vinh Long pottery tradition!
Coconut Candy and Puffed Rice Factory
Where to Find?
The factory of making coconut candy and puffed rice is in fact a small business. This is the most talked-about attraction in Vinh Long. Cuu Long Travel Company in Vinh Long is the main operator of the factory.
A huge number of tourists in big groups pay a visit to this site daily, both Vietnamese and foreigners.
It is located on An Binh island, and most of the travelers reach there by cruise. This is usually a part of their tour itinerary to Vinh Long.
The Making of Coconut Candy
What I like about this factory is an interesting insight. The local guide will explain everything inside out, from how to select the input elements, watch the heat, squeeze the milk to wrap the candy.
Rather than just presenting, the workers from that factory will display every single stage right in front of your eyes.
This is a great and visual insider! You can get a chance to taste the newly-made coconut candy right from the machine. The hot, sweet and milky candy is about to melt on your taste bud.
I highly recommend grabbing some coconut candies home as souvenirs. Or not, you can save some and eat along the trip as well!
There are plenty of flavors you can choose from! Pandan, milk, durian and chocolate are just a few to be named!
The Making of Vietnamese Puffed Rice
Another appealing experience to try at this factory is observing the making of Vietnamese puffed rice. Puffed rice is a common snack in the Mekong Delta. It has a sweet and fragrant flavor of rice blended with syrup and packed into a small square shape.
Thanks to the wide availability of rice fields, Vinh Long has come up with a delicate and fun snack to consume. The making of puffed rice is eye-catching and exciting.
During the process, you will be amazed at how the puffed rice is produced, from roasting, coating with syrup and shaped into cakes.
Just like the coconut candies, you can sample a piece of puffed rice, hot and fresh, right in the middle of the factory!
What Else to See at the Factory?
I visit here quite some times and see tourists frown real hard when tasting snake wine. That is a strong wine I promise!
The making of snake wine comprises of, of course, dozens of snakes overlapping at the bottom of the jar. And rice wine soak to the mouth of the jar.
Snake wine is an alcoholic beverage. The locals soak the whole snakes into rice wine. It’s very common to infuse one large cobra on the top of other venomous snakes. As a tradition, this is to reinvigorate a person as a method of traditional medicine.
They use snakes to create essence for the alcohol. The venom dissolves in the liquor and therefore, produces no threat to the human body.
Master Your Vietnamese Culinary in a Cooking Class
Are you in love with the Vietnamese food and aspiring to learn how to make it?
It’s time for a cooking class right in the middle of the Mekong Delta.
Some homestays in Vinh Long offer a cooking class experience, usually for dinner. The most common food option is pancake and spring rolls.
The host family will show you step by step to make the best Vietnamese dish. Sometimes it combines with a trip to the local market to buy the ingredients.
This is more fun than ever as you get to see how the locals shop for food, what is available all year round, what is in season and what is good for your health!
Sometimes, the cooking class happens inside a traditional kitchen, sometimes outdoor. And you will learn how to process your very own dish for the night, based on the explanation and presentation of the home cooks.
At the moment, I’ve known of a cooking class offered by Ut Trinh Homestay. Most of the time, it’s a part of a homestay tour in Vinh Long by a travel agency in a 2-night-3-day trip.
Tourists in the tour will usually spend the first night in Vinh Long and visit Can Tho on the following day.
So if you’re looking for a food tour in Vinh Long, you can consider staying at Ut Trinh Homestay or signing up for a tour like I mentioned above.
Explore Downtown in a Food Tour
Have you ever thought of doing a night food tour in the Mekong Delta?
Probably not! I’m sure not many people think of that when visiting this region. But do you know that Mekong Delta food is one of the most diverse and exotic local cuisine in Vietnam?
I was a tour guide before in Saigon. It generated a strong passion inside of me in creating a food tour in my hometown, Vinh Long.
A food tour in Vinh Long starts during sunset and lasts for around 4 hours. You will stop by local eateries in the city center and sample different authentic food.
These places are favored by most dwellers in town and have been around for ages. I take you to these places simply because I personally love them. And I don’t think you can easily find it yourself somewhere else!
So rather than a cooking class, why not opt for a night food tour and cycle around downtown in the tropical breeze to eat with the locals?
Mingle with the Locals at Vinh Long Market
I love the local markets. These are the places I followed mom and grandma every day before the meal. And by visiting the Vinh Long Central Market, you will fully understand and admire a lively and vibrant scene of the locals and scooters stirring up the corner.
Just like any other market in Vietnam, you can find anything from fresh to dried.
Fruit is the most common product, followed by veggies, fish, seafood, clothes, accessories and many more.
Everything is displayed from the back of a store to straight on the streets, making it a busy and fun shopping scene.
There is one compartment in the market that I love, the food court! I must say that this is where you must visit if you want to see the real local life, eat the exotic food and mingle with the friendly mothers!
The market is open all day long till midnight.
Grab a Beer and Get Some Fresh Air at Vinh Long Central Square
A few steps further from the market is the Vinh Long Central Square. This is where the local families hang out every night, especially weekends with the opening of the pedestrian street.
Vinh Long Pedestrian street is a short section of road that only allows walking, no vehicles.
Every weekend from 6 pm, you will see hundreds of people, young and old, gather here to pick their favorite street food.
Grilled and fried skewed food is the most common. You can also grab some beers along the bank of the Tien River right close by before heading back to the accommodation!
If you come with a scooter, there are several parking lots at the surrounding of the city square. The fee per vehicle is 5000 VND. It’s open until 10 pm.
To try every single activity I listed above, you will need at least 2 nights in Vinh Long. Now it’s time to search for the best homestay in Vinh Long and start planning your trip!
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