My Tho


My Tho
My Tho

My Tho is an important riverside market town on the banks of the Tien River, a tributary of the Mekong. The town has had a turbulent history: it was Khmer until the 17th century…

My Tho sprawls along the bank of the northernmost branch of the Mekong River. Its proximity to Saigon has made My Tho the most popular destination for day-trippers who hope to catch a taste of authentic Mekong delta life. Here visitors can take a sampan along the waterways, visit orchards and try the local famous food of Elephant’s Ear Fish.

 

My Tho is an important riverside market town on the banks of the Tien River, a tributary of the Mekong. The town has had a turbulent history: it was Khmer until the 17th century, when the advancing Vietnamese took control of the surrounding area. In the 18th century Thai forces annexed the territory, before being driven out in 1784. Finally, the French gained control in 1862. This historical melting pot is reflected in Vinh Trang Pagoda which was built in 1849 and displays a mixture of architectural styles – Chinese, Vietnamese and colonial. The façade is almost fairytale in inspiration and the entrance to the temple is through an ornate porcelain-encrusted gate.


Tien River islands

There are four islands in the Tien River between My Tho and Ben Tre: Dragon, Tortoise, Phoenix and Unicorn. Immediately opposite My Tho is

 
Tan Long

(Dragon Island), noted for its longan cultivation. Honey tea is made on the islands from the longan flower, with a splash of kumquat juice to balance the flavour. There are many other fruits to sample here, as well as rice whisky. It is also pleasant to wander along the island’s narrow paths.

The Island of the Coconut Monk, also known as

Con Phung

(Phoenix Island), is about 3 km from My Tho. The ‘Coconut Monk’ established a retreat on this island shortly after the end of the Second World War where he developed a new ‘religion’, a fusion of Buddhism and Christianity. He is said to have meditated for three years on a stone slab, eating nothing but coconuts. Persecuted by both the South Vietnamese government and by the Communists, the monastery on the island has since fallen into disuse.

Con Qui

(Tortoise Island) there is an abundance of dragon fruit, banana and papaya. Here visitors are treated to singing accompanied by a guitar and Vietnamese monochord.

My Tho

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