An Giang, in Vietnam’s Southwest stands out for its vibrant cultural life, exciting attractions, and delicious food. It is one of the most popular places in the region, appealing to many visitors every year.
If you are curious about the land and want to spend a few days visiting An Giang in the future, here is a travel guide.
Visiting Holy Mother of the Realm Temple (Bà Chúa Xứ)
The Holy Mother of the Realm Temple (Bà Chúa Xứ) is located at the foot of Sam Mountain, in Châu Đốc City. A prestigious spiritual site, the temple attracts worshippers not only from An Giang but also many people living in the southwestern region.
According to legend, local people discovered the Statue of Holy Mother of the Realm on top of Sam Mountain more than 200 years ago. At that time, everyone wanted to take the statue down from the mountain to worship, but a dozen strong young men couldn’t do it. It was not until the Holy Mother appeared in their dreams and told them that it would only take nine virgins. As the figure was carried down the mountain, suddenly it became too heavy for the girls. The locals thought the Holy Mother chose this place to settle and so they built a temple there.
There are quite a lot of visitors here on regular days. But the most crowded is the first month of the year, or from the 22nd to the 27th of April in the lunar calendar. This is the time for Bà Chúa Xứ temple festival and people from all parts of the country come to pray for themselves and their families. Through word-of-mouth it became known the Holy Mother of the Realm Temple was a sacred place and she could offer what you prayed for. Visitors come with complete faith, relaxation, and peace in their souls. Besides the sacred aspect, it has beautiful architecture.
Note that visitors should wear discreet, polite clothing and be respectful because it is a religious place.
Contemplating the beautiful scenery at the top of Sam mountain and Long Sơn temple
There are two ways to get to the top of Sam mountain. You can ride a motorbike or take a cable car at a round-trip ticket price of 90,000 VND per person. At Long Sơn temple on top of Sam mountain you can see many solid, splendid statues of Buddha and Bodhisattva. The temple has beautiful architecture and open space where visitors can rest, contemplate the vast rice fields and view the tremendous mountain ranges below.
The best time to enjoy the beautiful scenery on top of Sam mountain is sunset. In the orange glow of the setting sun, the sound of the bell rings, reverberating through the mountains and making people feel the ethereal spirit in their hearts.
Rowing boats in Trà Sư melaleuca forest
The Trà Sư melaleuca forest is located about 20km from the center of Châu Đốc city, in the area of the Thất Sơn mountain. This is one of the most beautiful melaleuca forests in Vietnam.
It is known as the iconic flooded forest of the western area of the Hau River and home to hundreds of species of water birds and animals. An unforgettable destination for tourists, it is also of international significance in the conservation of wetlands in the Mekong Delta, an immensely green space with an important ecosystem.
In addition to renting boats to row along the canal, you can rent bicycles for 20,000 VND per hour to ride along the tourist path and immerse yourself in the beauty of the melaleuca forest.
Striking Islamic architecture of the Chams.
An Giang Province currently has nine Cham villages, with about 5,000 households. What stands out in villages is the impressive Islamic architecture and the many large mosques. The most beautiful are Masjiarak Mosque. Both of them have arc-shaped domes like the arms of a young strong Cham man. The Chams have three major holidays according to the Islamic calendar: Roja on December 10th; Ramadan from September 1st to September 30th; ad Jamiul Azhar Mosque and Mubnd Muhammad’s birthday on March 12th. The main occupations of the Cham in An Giang province are trading, weaving, fishing and farming.
Listening to the fairy tale of Cô Tô mountain – Tức Dụp hill
Tức Dụp hill is located at the foot of Cô Tô mountain, a place where a magical fairy tale is hidden. Tức Dụp is the Vietnamese term for “Tuc chup” in Khmer, meaning water flowing in the night. Flowing from mountain to mountain, including in many deep large caves, this duo destination is quite far from the heart of An Giang, but worth exploring.
At the beginning of heaven and earth, it is said fairies used to stop at the top of Cô Tô to walk, bathe and play. One day, the fairies played a game, standing on top of Cô Tô and throwing rocks to the mountain foot. The falling stones were piled up to form a hill and the stream from the top flows down through it. And since then, at the foot of Cô Tô the mountain, streams and hills create rich poetic features.
When visiting this place, you can also experience entertainment and delicious local cuisine.
Explore Tri Tôn district – the land of Palmyra fruit.
In the Tri Tôn district located adjacent to Cambodia’s boundaries, you can roam the streets between the rows of Palmyra trees standing side by side, growing in the middle of vast rice fields. That’s why people call it “the land of Palmyra fruit.” At dusk or dawn, the area creates good memories because of its peaceful and poetic nature.
The largest mountainous district in An Giang attracts many tourists, due to the beautiful mountain scenery and plentiful Palmyra trees. One of the most famous places in the district is the cluster of Palmyra trees that form a heart shape between the vast rice fields.
Enjoy the famous fish noodle soup.
Fish noodle soup is the number one specialty in An Giang. Even though this delicious dish appears all over the Mekong Delta, you can’t miss it in An Giang.
It is made with fresh snakehead fish and the base is a turmeric broth with the scent of ngải bún (auttum crosscus). Vegetables for the side dish include shredded banana flowers, water spinach, bean sprouts with some sesban-river bean and water mimosa. And the dipping sauce is a sweet and sour taste mixed together.
In Long Xuyên City, there is a fish noodle soup restaurant that has operated for more than 30 years. Its nickname is Quán Bún Cá Kỷ Lục (meaning the record fish noodle soup). In 2012, the restaurant was nominated as a representative of Long Xuyên fish noodle soup by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of An Giang Province. This was when the Vietnam Record Book Centre came there to taste, evaluate and let the people vote. The Centre awarded the certificate confirming that the soup was worthy of being one of the 50 most famous Vietnamese specialty dishes.
Buy gifts in An Giang
An Giang cuisine is famous for its dried fish as well as fish paste. They can be preserved for one to three months, eaten with white rice, or used as ingredients for cooking. In addition, you can buy fresh palmyra fruits to make drinks with a cooling effect that can be preserved for two to three days. Palmyra sugar, which lasts about six months, is another good option for cooking fish stew or making sweet soup.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt