Tien Giang is located north of the Mekong Delta, alongside the north of Tien River. The Kinh ethnic group accounts for more than 99% of the total population. The climate is divided in two distinct (dry and rainy) seasons. The rainfall in this province is considered lower than in the other provinces located in the Mekong Delta. Famous sites include Thoi Son Islet, Dong Tam Snake Farm, and Dong Thap Muoi Area.
A province in the Mekong River Delta, the rice granary of Vietnam, Tien Giang has vast areas of durian, mango, rambutan, and other delicious tropical fruit trees. The province is 7 km southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.
The province is inhabited by the Kinh, who account for 90% of the province's population, and ethnic minorities of the Cham, Hoa and Khmer.
My Tho, considered as the quiet capital city of Tien Giang province, is the traditional gateway to the Mekong River Delta, owing to its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City. Famous in the town is the noodle soup Hu Tieu My Tho. It is typically a clear pork broth with rice vermicelli and wheat flour noodles combined. My Tho is also famous for its Bo Vien or beef balls. There are very busy stalls near the My Tho market that serve only Bo Vien in beef broth or with Hu Tieu noodle. It is eaten with very hot chilli sauce.
As the regional capital, My Tho is the main market which receives all the produce from everywhere across the region as well as fish and seafood from My Tho‘s large ocean going fishing fleet. The very large and exuberant market is one of the biggest sources in Southern Vietnam for dried fish and other dried seafood products such as Muc Kho (dried squid). At night the market is dedicated to the dealing and sorting of Mekong River fish, particularly catfish for Ho Chi Minh City‘s wholesale markets. Produce, especially fruit and vegetables, is delivered by boat directly to the market.
It can be said that My Tho is a popular starting point for tourists to take a boat trip on the Mekong River.
Location: Dong Tam Snake-Breeding Farm is 12km from Mytho City, Tien Giang Province.
Characteristics: Dong Tam is medicinal plant cultivation and the study and treatment of snake-bite. There is a snake-breeding zone with dozens of species to feed or even to play with. There are also crocodiles and other species of birds and animals on hand.
Location: Cai Be Floating Market is held where the Tien Giang River forms the border between the provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long, and Ben Tre. It takes about one hour to reach the market from the town of Vinh Long Province.
Characteristics: The merchandise sold in each boat is hung on a pole in front of the boat to attract customers.
Formerly, it was a small leaf hermitage set up in the early 19th century by District Chief Bui Cong Dat. In 1849, the Most Venerable Abbot Thich Hue Dang put it up a big pagoda and named it Vinh Trang Pagoda. The Abbot’s successor was the Most Venerable Thich Thien De. In 1890, lay-Buddhists came to the Royal-Chartered Linh Thuu Pagoda to invite the Most Venerable Thich Chanh Hau take charge of the Abbot of the Pagoda. In 1895, he had the Pagoda reconstructed. The pagoda has many netlike panels, horizontal boards and oblong boards of the parallel sentences. These netlike panels were elaborately carved. The Most Venerable Thich Minh Dang who had the Triple Gate, the main hall and the Patria. The pagoda has many netlike panels, horizontal boards and oblong boards of the parallel sentences.
Close eyes to the pagoda
Vinh Trang Pagoda is the greatest pagoda of Tien Giang Province, in an area of 2,000m2 with many beautiful trees. It was built in 1849 in My Phong village, My Tho City, in the shape of “Nation” letter of Chinese characters. The pagoda includes four large departments connected with each other: the front department, the main department, the worship department and the back department, bearing a combination of European-Asian architecture and creating a splendid beauty, solemnity, but purity.
The beautiful structure features a mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese and Angkor (Cambodian) architectural styles. The pagoda consists of five buildings, two ornamental yards and 178 pillars. The extremely beautiful structures in the pagoda are two triumphal arches bearing an art of inserting bottle and porcelain fragments which create harmonious pictures illustrating the Buddha’s legendaries. Inside the pagoda, there is a set of pictures “eight angels riding on animals” another set of statues of the Amitabha Holy Trinity carved in bronze, as big as a man, and more particularly, the set of the eighteen Arhants, wood carving work, is the only one, not two, in the west of South Vietnam, made by a snumber of artists in 1907. Graves of Buddhist priests who took care of the pagoda are scattered around. These graves are decorated with carefully engraved flagstones.
There are three entrances to the pagoda. The central iron gate is always closed, while the two side gates, which are designed in the co lau style are open. The side gates are adorned with colorful porcelain mosaics featuring Buddhist folktales and natural scenery. The facade of Vinh Trang Pagoda contains both Asian and European architecture including elements from the Renaissance period, Romanesque style, French decorative flowers and Japanese enameled tile. From afar, the pagoda resembles the five-tower Angkor Temple.
According to locals, a monk named Minh Dan and an architect named Huynh Tri Phu traveled to Cambodia prior to building the pagoda for inspiration and eventually combined Khmer architecture with European styles for the pagoda. Vinh Trang Pagoda houses 60 precious statues made from copper, wood and terracotta. The most valuable collection is the 18 arhats made from jackfruit tree wood in 1907. Additionally, the pagoda has a bell that was cast in 1854.
The pagoda is surrounded by gardens of ornamental trees, ancient trees and bonsai, creating a peaceful atmosphere. It provided shelter for Vietnamese patriots and is recognized as a national historical and cultural relic by the government.
The architecture of Vinh Trang Pagoda is a harmonious combination of Asian and European types of architecture, creating the splendid, but simple features of this Buddhist pagoda.