Cai Be - Place of Unique Life on Water in Vietnam
by Blake Johnson Mar 11, 2017
Cai Be is a district of Tien Giang Province in Mekong Delta, Vietnam. It does not take you a long time to travel to Cai Be from Ho Chi Minh City by boat. From 1732-1757, it was called Cai Be Dinh which was economic and political centre of South Vietnam. Nowadays, Cai Be not only provides agricultural products like tropical fruits for the whole country but also is an attractive place to those who love travelling.
Belonging to Mekong Delta region, there’s no doubt that the local’s life connects closely with water. The clear evidences are floating market, “floating houses” and several canals.
Cai be floating market seems to be the most remarkable things in this district. Explaining for the existence of this market and “floating houses”, some people think that because the residents living near the river were usually affected by the flood, they decided to use bamboo and wood for their living such building houses on stilts. Moreover, transportation such as bike or motorbike was not suitable in this area, so boats were popularly used for traffic and business. In fact, Cai Be floating market was established in Nguyen Dynasty. In 1732, Nguyen Lord built Long Ho Town which was called Cai Be town later. He allowed boats to gather and trade on the Cai Be river mouth, where we have the floating market nowadays.
Cai Be floating market will not let you down with its bustling trading scene and beautiful landscape. The lively atmosphere is easy to feel through the commercial activities. From early the morning, many boats packed with different types of goods are ready for exchanging. Some sellers will hang the sample of goods on the poles as a way to help buyers find what they need easily. The boats will cross on the river and sometimes you just can sit on the boats and find what you want. Several agricultural products such as flowers, vegetable and fruits are available on boats. You can also have chance to enjoy you meal here with a hot cup of coffee and a hot bowl of Pho or Hu Tieu (one of the famous dishes in Southern region).
>> Read more: 5 Famous Floating Markets in Mekong Delta
Like other places in Mekong Delta it’s not surprising when you can find the green paddle fields somewhere along the bank of the river. Another notable image you can see from the floating market is a Catholic cathedral on the river side.
This Catholic cathedral is called Cai Be church. It was built in 1929-1932 by a German priest. This church leaves strong impression on visitors by its five French bronze bells in the bell tower and its gothic architecture.
Your trip to Cai Be will not be perfect if you miss the chance to explore the land on the riverside. Beside visiting Cai Be church, riding bicycle on the narrow roads to experience the rustic lifestyle of Vietnamese, meeting friendly people and enjoying their specialty may absolutely be your great memory about this trip. You can also spend your time on visiting Dong Hoa Hiep Old House. It is one of the oldest houses in Cai Be district.
Dong Hoa Hiep Old House is located in the area of 2 hectares in Dong Hoa Hiep Commune. Unique combination between Western and Eastern architecture is one of the highlights of the 1938 house.
One of the ornamental paintings on the wall
Unlike the houses built at the same time, the floor of the house was built higher with the aim of avoiding water during the flood season. This house includes front house, back house and the sky-yard between them. In the past, front house was called worshipping house which was used for dedicating ancestors. Some notable things here are the wide path with the rail leading to the house and the antiques. Back house are decorated with parallel sentences, 3 cabinets ornamented with pearl and the box adorned with dragon. This box was given by King Tu Duc. The spaces outside the house are full with flower and tropical tree, which makes this house more beautiful.
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