Tapping Water-based Tourism in Southern Tien Giang Province

5:10:14 PM | 29/6/2010

Tien Giang province, about 70 km from Ho Chi Minh City, is endowed with all favourable natural conditions to develop water-based tourism. A 32 km coastline and a thick waterway system have created advantages and attractions for tourism development.
Water-based civilisation
Lying along the Tien River and stretching 120 km to the East Sea, Tien Giang has a very thick crisscrossing canal network, spotted by beautiful islets like Co Lich, Tan Phong, Ngu Hiep, Thoi Son, Tan Long and Con Ngang to create verdant gardens in all four seasons where famous fruits are growing like Hoa Loc mango, Ngu Hiep durian, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, Vinh Kim Lo Ren star apple and Go Cong acerola, and create the fresh air and water world in the Mekong River. The diverse natural conditions divide Tien Giang province into three different ecological zones - naturally conducive to tourism development.
The freshwater ecological zone consists of the fruit tree island region and the residential region along the Tien River, including Cai Be, Cai Lay and Chau Thanh districts and My Tho City where fruit trees are green in all four seasons and canals are very thick for the formation of water-world resorts like Thoi Son islet and Cai Be floating market. Thoi Son islet is now a visitor welcoming centre of Tien Giang province where more than 300,000 visitors are served each year, including 70 percent being internationals. The Thoi Son islet eco-tourism zone, covering 77 ha, is designed to have seven thematic areas: reception area, camping site, water sports centre, southern Vietnam village, garden recreational centre and a convalescence centre to create typical tourism products of the Mekong Delta.
The mangrove ecological zone forms the Tan Thanh - Hang Duong beach resort for sea exploration and relaxation. In the future, this will be connected with beaches in Vung Tau city and other localities by express passenger canoes. The planned 80-ha Tan Thanh - Hang Duong resort is be built as a beach tourist complex, connected with Truong Dinh Fortress and Con Ngang resort.
The alkaline ecological zone, typical of the Mekong Delta, will be a miniature of the flooded Dong Thap Muoi forest area in Tan Phuoc district, with 100 ha of the central area and 1,800 ha mangrove forests in the buffer zone. This water-covered resort is home to special rare animal species for scientific researches or discovery.
Historical marks
Tien Giang is famous for its patriotic and revolutionary traditions associated the names of national heroes and revolutionary heroes like Truong Dinh, Thu Khoa Huan and Le Thi Hong Gam. The province is also home to Go Thanh - a hub of ancient Oc Eo culture with vestiges backdated to the 15th centuries. Natural landscapes are added the beauty by tombs, temples and shrines of high cultural and historical values like Truong Dinh tomb, royal tombs, Thu Khoa Huan temple, Vinh Trang pagoda, Long Hung communal house and many already-built tourist sites like Thoi Son islet, Tan Thanh beach, Cai Be floating market, Ap Bac victory monument, Rach Gam - Xoai Mut and Dong Tam sake farm.
Rach Gam - Xoat Mut is a very famous name in the Vietnamese history as this place was a battlefield where King Nguyen Hue defeated Siamese invaders led by Chieu Tang and Chieu Suong in 1785. Annually, on the victory day, the 20th day of the first lunar month, local people organise the celebratory rites.
Truong Dinh temple - a homage tribute to Truong Dinh who led Go Cong people to stand against French invaders - was restored in 1972 and completed in 1973 with orient-typical architectures. Truong Dinh tomb was built like other old-time last resting places in southern Vietnam last century. Inside the tomb are three horizontal boards and six steles recorded the life and career of the national hero. This historical site was made the national historical relic in 1988.
Ap Bac relic in Tan Binh village, Tan Phu commune, Cai Lay district, about 20 km from My Tho City to the west, is a American war battlefield where two Vietnamese army battalions, 261 and 514, defeated 2,000 well-armed American invaders on January 2, 1963. This was one of most important victories in the American war, which ended in 1975.
Visiting Go Cong, you will have the chance to attend a fish worshipping ritual in Vam Lang - a traditional cultural act of coastal people. The festival begins at 9 a.m. on the 10th day of the third lunar month on a well-decorated boat. Boats on the sea are also decorated with lanterns and flowers during the festival. After a long procession in the region, the Holy Fish is placed in his pagoda. Villagers eat, drink, sing, dance and play all the day.
The Tu Kiet festival is an annual rite held in Thanh Hoa commune, Cai Lay district on the 25th day of the last lunar month to commemorate four leaders named Duoc, Long, Rong and Than who led local people to fight against French invaders. Many characteristic commemorative activities are held during this festival.
In addition, Tien Giang has many historical relics like Truong Dinh Fortress, royal tombs, Vinh Trang Pagoda, Sac Tu Linh Thuu Pagoda, Long Hung communal house, Dong Tam snake farm, Cai Be floating market and Tan Phong islet.
More investments for infrastructure development
The number of tourist arrivals in Tien Giang has steadily increased year after year. In 2009, in spite of the world economic crisis, the local tourism industry managed to attract 866,000 visitors, an increase of 9 percent compared with 2008. Remarkably, the province has successfully held the maiden fruit festival - a very attractive event to visitors. This was also a chance for Tien Giang province to introduce its tourism potentials and strengths.
In the framework of the Mekong tourism development project, Tien Giang will increase its investment into tourism infrastructure development to spur community tourism and strengthen tourism cooperation with the Mekong subregion. The opening of My Tho wharf will serves ships from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh (Cambodia), creating a new opportunity for linking tours between waterways and roadway tours and Mekong Delta provinces with other countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Mr Nguyen Ngoc Minh, Director of Tien Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said: The province has not made any plans for building large-scale amusement parks but several investors are kicking off big ones in Thoi Son tourist site, Tan Thanh beach resort, Con Nganh ecological resort, Dong Thap Muoi ecological tourist site and My Tho urban zone. With this investment, Tien Giang will be a favourite destination of domestic and foreign tourists in the coming period.
Q.Thanh – P.Nhung