After a three-hour bus trip from HCMC, tourists will arrive at Vam Xang fruit garden in Nhon Loc 1 Hamlet in Phong Dien Town in Phong Dien District in Can Tho City. A young tour guide in ao ba ba, a traditional costume of people in the south, and bandanna shows guests how to cross a foot bridge above a pond to get into an estate where tourists can admire a line of high areca trees in front of the house. The owner of the garden is Uncle Nam Lien who would introduce visitors to all members of his family and the tradition of worshiping ancestors and the customs of the locality.
Then, guests will receive keys to their rooms which are assigned with images of animals like cricket, dragonfly, ant and bee, instead of numbers.
Guests will see some beautiful small bridges across canals with benches along the bridges. The rooms have wooden walls and outdoor bathrooms. There are vegetable areas, rice fields and cottage houses in the property. Tourists, especially foreigners, may find it interesting to see each cottage house having a wooden fence and a big vase to contain rain water and a dipper made of coconut shell.
People should spend some time visiting Ha Chau strawberry garden in the property and learn about farming techniques from locals. After visiting the garden and enjoying fresh fruit, tourists will join a bike tour to the other side of Vam Xang River. On the way, people may find a peaceful moment by admiring gardens and fields. The first destination is the facility of blacksmith Sau Quyen who was born into a family with a tradition of making hammers and knives.
The next destination is the house of Uncle Ut Dzach who has the traditional job of making banh hoi, steam rolls made of fine rice flour. The food making techniques should be transferred to daughters-in-law in the family as locals believe that daughters-in-law are their real children, not their daughters who will get married and live in their husbands’ homes.
Uncle Ut Dzach will introduce every step in the process of making banh hoi and visitors can learn to make the cake using wooden frames. Then, guests will steam the cake and eat it with grilled pork, vegetables and fish sauce. Another destination on the tour is a garden where farmers plant various vegetables like cabbage, cucurbit and eggplant. People can take pictures and buy seeds to plant at home.
Tourists should head back for dinner with banh xeo, a Vietnamese-style pancake, and rustic dishes of southerners, including stewed pork with coconut juice, fried fish, boiled vegetables and crab soup. They can choose to have a foot massage and bath with herbs so as to have a sound sleep to prepare for the next morning to work as a seller on the floating market on the river.
They will don ao ba ba and bandanna, and come in a group of three to buy fruit from wholesale shops for resale at the floating market. They will have to transport all the fruit to boats to get to Phong Dien floating market, a popular destination in Can Tho, to sell their products.
A man makes banh hoi, which are steam rolls made from ﬁne rice ﬂour
A woman tries to make a knife at a traditional house
Tourists are seen at a ﬂoating market
Travelers cycle on a village road
A room at Vam Xang Rustic Home in Can Tho City – Photos: Kim Dung
Source: Newspaper VIETNAMNET