MEKONG RIVER DELTA – BAC LIEU PROVINCE

Capital:  Bac Lieu City

Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Khmer, Hoa, Cham

Highlights:  Bac Lieu Bird Reserve, Western Villas in Bac Lieu

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS    

Vinh Hung Ancient Tower

The tower is situated in Vinh Hung A Commune, Vinh Loi District, 20km from Bac Lieu City. The tower is the only structure in style of Angkor of Khmer people preserved in the Mekong River Delta. Vinh Hung Tower also known as Luc Hien or Bhah Dhat Tower was found in 1911. In the 20th century, archaeologists found a stele engraved with Sanskrit in a pagoda next to the tower. The tower is built of bricks, which are so tight that we cannot see mortar between bricks. It is 8.9m high. Its base is rectangular with a side of 5.6m and the other of 6.9m. There are a hand of a deity made of bronze, a lower part of bronze statue, a stone statue of the goddess, head of Buddha statue and many worshipping objects. Monks in the tower pagoda chant twice a day at 4am and 4pm. Every year, local residents organize an anniversary on the 15th day of the first lunar month at the tower. A large number of Buddhists inside and outside the province pilgrimage to the pagoda to pray for good things.

Bac Lieu Bird Reserve

Located 4km east of Bac Lieu, the bird reserve is notable for its 50-odds species of birds, including a large population of graceful white herons. Visitors to Bac Lieu Bird Reserve can observe the birds different stages of life, from egg laying to nest building. Some birds build concealed nests to fool predators and increase the life expectancy of their young. Bac Lieu Bird Reserve is one of the most interesting sights in the Mekong River Delta for both foreigners and Vietnamese tourists.

Quan De Pagoda (Ong Pagoda)

The architecture of Quan De Pagoda deeply characterises the Hoa people. Located on the bank of Bac Lieu River, the Hoa people in the area consider the pagoda to be a cultural symbol. Quan De Pagoda was built in 1835 by a Chau Quai salt merchant who encour­aged the local people to raise funds for its construction. It houses several precious religious artefacts and Quan Van Truong, a Chinese military mandarin from the San Kuo period, is wor­shipped here.

Xiem Can Pagoda

Xiem Can Pagoda is locat­ed 7km Bac Lieu City, on the same road that leads to Bac Lieu Bird Reserve. This Khmer pagoda is over a century old, and was built, carved, and decorated in an original Khmer style.

Western Villas in Bac Lieu

Unlike many other provinces, such as Can Tho and An Giang, there are still many west­ern-style buildings include the villa of Bac Lieu Mandarin’s son, which stands along the river, and other buildings situated in Hang Me Park, such as Administration House, the court, Bo mansion (the building of the head mandarin), Son quarter official building, and Dong Trach. Presently, these building are used for the provincial library, the People’ Court of Investigation, and the office for the Bac Lieu Newspaper. The materials of the construction including steel, marble, tile, and brick, were all import­ed from France. The 20th century Western – style buildings have spacious surroundings, symmetrical architecture, and tile-covered roofs. The roofs are octagonal, and the sup­porting rafters look some – what like those in a pagoda. The old villas and mansions of Bac Lieu have their own style, quite unlike the French villas in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City or Da Lat. In general, they feature high ceilings; their exteriors are washed with yellow paint, and they have high vault-like roofs.The 30 mansions and villas that remain standing along the two banks of the river in Bac Lieu have become part of the relics of Bac Lieu Province.

FESTIVALS           

Dang Bong Ceremony

When villages of the Khmer build a bridge, road, school, pagoda, or other public project, they first hold a Dang Bong Ceremony to raise money for the construction. During the ceremony, the bonzes chant prayers, while the local people welcome traditional singing groups.

Dang Phuoc Ceremony

The Khmer in the Mekong River Delta provinces often hold this ceremony to com­memorate their deceased friends and family members.

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