MEKONG RIVER DELTA – SOC TRANG PROVINCE

Capital: Soc Trang City

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

Highlights:  Doi Pagoda, My Phuoc Islet, Khleang Pagoda

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS    

Khleang Pagoda

Khleang Pagoda, one of the most ancient pagodas in Soc Trang, features an archi­tectural style sim­ilar to the pago­das of Cambodia. It is situated at 71 Mau Than Road, Group 5, Ward 6, Soc Trang City. Built in 1533, it was originally made of wood with a roof thatched with palm leaves. The pagoda was later reconstructed with brick, and the roof was covered with tiles. The pagoda consists of a central chamber and a range of wooden stilt-houses, used as places for holding traditional ceremonies and for housing the pagoda’s monks. Additionally, there is a tower containing ashes of the dead, a cremation chamber, a guest­house, and Pothi School for teaching the Khmer language. Khleang Pagoda also houses writings from ancient books, which tell about the origins of Soc Trang and the pagoda.

Doi Pagoda (Bat Pagoda)

Bat Pagoda is located on Le Hong Phong St., Ward 3 in Soc Trang City, about 4km from downtown Soc Trang City. Bat Pagoda also called Ma Toc Pagoda, or Mahatuc Pagoda was built during the 16th century. It is one of the oldest pagodas in the province and has been renovated several times since. The latest time is in the early of 2010 after a fire at the pagoda in 2007 had made the sanctum of the pagoda completely destroyed. The pagoda presents Khmer arts, with skilful, symbolic decorations on its pillars and roof and splendid relieves and statues. An ancient Buddha statue and a number of Buddhist books written on sugar palm leaves can be admired there. There’s also a beautifully painted Khmer longboat here which as the type used at Ooc Om Boc Festival. The pagoda is famous for its beautiful archi­tecture, and also for its very large roof that houses tens of thousands of bats. Some have wingspans of more than a meter and resem­ble large ripe pears as they hang upside down from the upper branches. They cling to tree all day, fly away at night to seek food, and return the following morning. The bats never eat the fruit in the garden. Behind the pagoda, there are odd tombs painted with the image of a pig on each one. The first tomb was erected in memory of a pig with five toenails (usually pigs have only four toenails) that died in 1996. Others rare pigs with five toenails have survived and are being raised by the monks. These pigs are pets. After dying, they were buried there.

Buu Son Tu Pagoda

Almost 2km from centre of Soc Trang City is Buu Son Tu Pagoda. This pagoda is visited by many local and foreign tourists who come to burn incense and to see the display of pre­cious clay items, such as the thousand Buddha statues and the four sacred animals (dragon, unicorn, turtle, and phoenix).

My Phuoc River Islet

My Phuoc Islet is located in the middle of the Hau River, in Nhon My Commune, Ke Sach District, about half an hour by boat, 10km from Ke Sach Town. My Phuoc Islet (also called Cong Dien or Bun Islet) which has many tropical fruit frees, is in a refreshing and cool area with a beautiful river landscape.

Tan Long Stork Sanctuary

The sanctuary lies at Long Binh Commune, Nga Nam District, 17km from Phu Loc Town. Over the past 20 years, this sanctuary has been home to thousands of storks. It has been recognized as one of the green tourist attractions.

Binh An Tourist Area

Binh An Tourist Area is situated at No71, Ward 2, Soc Trang City, by National Highway 1. This area resembles Dam Sen Cultural Park in Ho Chi Minh City, but in a smaller scale. Coming here, tourists have opportuni­ties to join many recreation and entertain­ment activities. The tree-lined road system, swimming pools, fishponds and other facili­ties are well arranged. Behind the gate lies a man-made mountain with 30 to 40m high. Atop the mountain stands a big statue of Avalokitesvara. At the foot of the mountain there are fishponds and paths. Inside the mountain is a mini hotel. Next to the mountain stands a two-storey villa built in the mixed Russian and Chinese architectural style, where wedding ceremonies, parties or banquets can be held. Binh An Tourist Area has stirred up the atmosphere of a peaceful town imbued with Khmer cultural identity in a province of the Mekong River Delta.

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