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08/06/2013 | 15:16

 Đồng Tháp (About this sound listen) is a province in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. Dong Thap is 165 km away from Ho Chi Minh City, bordered by Pray Veng province (Cambodia) in the North with a length of more than 48 km; Vinh Long and Can Tho in the South; An Giang in the West; and Long An and Tien Giang in the East.

 Đồng Tháp (About this sound listen) is a province in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. Dong Thap is 165 km away from Ho Chi Minh City, bordered by Pray Veng province (Cambodia) in the North with a length of more than 48 km; Vinh Long and Can Tho in the South; An Giang in the West; and Long An and Tien Giang in the East.

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History [edit]

Dong Thap is a newly-cultivated area in about 17th and 18th century, under Nguyen dynasties. Foundation of this area adhered to powerful struggling history against nature, dangerous animals and aggressors. The South of Dong Thap province whose centre is Sa Dec (Sa Đéc) plays a very significant role. Many researches have shown that overseas Vietnamese got to come to Sa Dec area for reclaiming and setting up hamlets at least at the end of 17th century or at the beginning of 18th century. Sa Dec is a Khmer word meaning "iron market". Does this market sell agricultural tools made of iron or was the frame of this market made of iron? There has not had any reasonable explanations for these concerns however Sa Dec is probably considered the newest area on the way to develop the country in 1757 led by Nguyen Cu Trinh (Nguyễn Cư Trinh), a mandarin who was known for his achievement in reassuring people in Quang Ngai (Quảng Ngãi). After the civil war between Nguyen Anh (Nguyễn Ánh) and Tay Son (Tây Sơn) siblings, Gia Long was on the throne to help stabilize Sa Dec and made it become a part of Vinh An (Vĩnh An) district. Sa Dec then with a favorable geographical location, did become the most crowded trading centre of Mekong delta at that time, only smaller than Sai Gon (Sài Gòn), Cho Lon (Chợ Lớn). Cao Lanh (Cao Lãnh) located in the North of Tien (Tiền) river also has a glorious history. It is recorded in historical books that at the end of 17th century, or early of 18th century, some overseas Vietnamese at Ba Canh hamlet (currently belonging to Dap Da - Đập Đá- commune, Dap Da town, Binh Dinh - Bình Định- province) came to cultivate, settled down near Cai Sao Thuong (Cái Sao Thượng) rivulet, forming Ba Canh (Bả Canh) commune. Nguyen Tu (Nguyễn Tú) was accredited with having gathered people, cultivated and set up hamlets. He was elevated to the status of Tiền Hiền - an anciently righteous person - of the village. Nowadays, that stele has been found near Dinh Trung (Đình Trung) bridge, ward 2, Cao Lanh city. Cao Lanh (Cao Lãnh) used to be the stopover of many patriots such as Tran Chanh Chieu (Trần Chánh Chiếu), Nguyen Sinh Sac (Nguyễn Sinh Sắc)...People in Cao Lanh consistently struggled, tremendously contributing to the absolute victory of South of Vietnam in historical campaign Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh), united the whole country, and Cao Lanh, since April 30, 1975, was merged with Sa Dec (Sa Đéc) to become Dong Thap nowadays.

Geography [edit]

Topography [edit]

The topography of the province is quite flat with a sloping tendency from North to South and West to East; separating into 2 large regions: one in the North of Tien River (having an area of 250,731ha, in Dong Thap Muoi area) and one in the South of Tien River (having an area of 73,074ha, lying between Tien River and Hau River). Dong Thap benefits from a large river, channel and spring system, frequently silt-aggraded soil, and permanently fresh and non-saline water source.

Climate [edit]

Dong Thap is in the tropical climate zone, consistently in the whole province. There are two evident seasons; rainy season from May to Nov, and dried season from Dec to Apr of the following year. Average rainfall ranges from 1,682-2,005mm, mostly in rainy season which accounts for 90-95% of annual rainfall. Such climate is fairly advantageous for agricultural development. The average temperature is 27oC, of which the highest is 34.3oC, and lowest is 21.8oC. The hydrology of the province is under the influence of 3 factors: floodwater from upper Mekong River, in-field rain and tides of the South East Asia Sea. The hydrologic regime is divided into 2 seasons: exhausted season from Dec to Jun of the following year and flood season from Jul to Nov.

Administration [edit]

With an area of 3,374km2, Dong Thap is divided into twelve administrative regions: one provincial city (Cao Lãnh), two towns (Sa Dec and Hong Ngu) and nine districts (Cao Lanh, Thap Muoi, Thanh Binh, Tam Nong, Tan Hong, Hong Ngu, Chau Thanh, Lai Vung and Lap Vo).

List of Dong Thap Administrative Units
Name Sub-division units Area (km2) Population (2004) Population density (Pop. per km2)
Cities and Towns
Cao Lãnh 8 wards, 7 communes 107.2 149837 1398
Sa Dec 6 wards, 3 communes 57.86 110646 1912
Hong Ngu 3 wards, 4 communes 122.1616 74488 610
Districts
Cao Lãnh 17 communes, 1 township 491 206.220 420
Châu Thành 11 communes, 1 township 234 156.000 667
Hồng Ngự 11 communes 325 211.000 649
Lai Vung 11 communes, 1 township 219 154.000 703
Lấp Vò 12 communes, 1 township 244 178.989 734
Tam Nông 11 communes, 1 township 459 93000 202
Tân Hồng 8 communes, 1 township 291.5 79.300 272
Thanh Bình 11 communes, 1 township 329 151.000 459
Tháp Mười 12 communes, 1 township 525.44 165.408 315
Whole Province 14 wards, 129 communes and 9 township 3.283 1.639.400 500

Transport [edit]

Cao Lãnh is 162 kilometres southwest of Mien Tay Bus Station in Ho Chi Minh City/SaiGon. There are direct buses from Ho Chi Minh City/SaiGon, My Tho, Can Tho, Vinh Long, Long Xuyen. There is only road transport. Sa Dec Town is 143 km from Ho Chi Minh City, midway between Vinh Long and Long Xuyen.

Economy [edit]

Growth of agriculture and aquaculture [edit]

Enjoying a temperate climate, wide irrigation system, permanent fresh-water source supplied by Tien River and Hau River, and rich river deposit, the agriculture of Dong Thap keeps growing well. At present, Dong Thap is the 3rd largest rice paddy in Vietnam with a planted area of 462,042ha and paddy output of more than 2.8 million tons. Apart from rice, the province also has more than 38,000ha of area for secondary and annual industrial crops. Some farm produce zones across Tien River and Hau River have been built up as specializing areas which supply agricultural products to serve the need of processing and export.

The Sa Dec flower village – one of the largest flower villages in Vietnam which is nearly 300ha wide – provides more than 12 million types of flowers and ornamental plants both locally and overseas every year, taking a significant proportion in the economic growth target of the province. The village has been further invested to enhance its quality, preserve and develop particular local flowers, and applied with advanced biological technology in breeding to raise floriculture as a potential line of production and develop it to be one of the major ecotourism sites of the province.

Dong Thap is also well known for fruits, specifically as Cao Lanh mango, Lai Vung mandarin, Chau Thanh longan and Phong Hoa grapefruit (fruit-able during the year), etc. which bring about high economic values for gardeners. Of all the total area of 30,000ha, fruit-trees reach an output of more than 150,000 tons per annum. Within the province, there are various typical orchards having been specialized to produce consistent quality fruits, which aims at building up brand-name and meeting export requirements.

With a large river body, fishery stand after rice to become the 2nd advantage of the province. Aquaculture is widely developed all over the region, especially catfish and blue-legged prawn. The water surface area for aquatic breeding reaches 5,285ha, where farmers focus on breeding prawns in rice fields and fish in warps along Tien River and Hau River. Each year, Dong Thap supplies over 290,000 tons of fish and thousand tons of blue-legged prawns for export processing, accomplishing an export turnover of hundred millions of US dollars.

Culture [edit]

Buddhism [edit]

Đồng Tháp has, since December 22, 2008, the largest Buddha statue of the Mekong Delta, built in Quan Âm Pagoda, abbot Venerable Thich Giac An. "The sculpture, 32 meters long and weighing 100 tons, is that of Buddha lying on his side on a lotus petal, his right arm supporting his head and his left arm lying along his body. Buddhist scriptures say the Buddha assumed this position when he attained Nirvana, the release from the cycle of death and rebirth of an enlightened person. Thich Giac An of Quan Âm Pagoda, which from today will be home to the statue, said many Buddhists and locals contributed the 2,000 sacks of cement, five tons of iron and many other necessary materials worth VND1.6 billion (US$94,000) needed to build the statue. Quan Âm Pagoda, founded 200 years ago by a mandarin named Tran Quy Tanh, receives many devotees from across the country for major Buddhist festivals."[1]

Tourism [edit]

Generous natural conditions and submerged in-land ecosystem have awarded Dong Thap with multiple valuable ecotourism resources. The first which should be mentioned is Tram Chim National Park, known both locally and internationally. This is a miniature ecological model of Dong Thap Muoi and the habitat of red-head cranes – a precious bird species protected by the world. Tram Chim National Park also achieves 7 out of 9 criteria in the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance. Next is Gao Giong ecotourism site. This is a 2,000ha complex of cajeput forest where more than 15 species of precious birds live, nest and lay eggs. Besides, the site offers a rich variety of aquatic resources, etc.

Situated by the bank of annually windy Tien River of fertility and sun, the flower village of Sa Dec is the homeland of hundreds “uncanny flowers and strange herbs”. The village – one of the flower centers in the South – covers an area of around 300ha for planting flowers and ornamental trees. Here, you can see scarce and priceless bonsai of hundreds of years old. In addition to economic importance shown in high incomes brought to the regional economy, Sa Dec flowers also include cultural, art, esthetic and environmental-protecting values. Having been planned for construction, the Sa Dec flower village will soon become an interesting tourist site bearing original particularities of the Mekong Delta.

Dong Thap also has a long-term history with different cultural and historical relics. Go Thap historic site is a national cultural and historic site with a complex of 5 typical relics: Go Thap Muoi, Co Tu Towel, tomb and monument of Doc Binh Kieu, Go Minh Su and Ba Chua Xu Temple. Especially, archaeologists have discovered Oc Eo cultural relics of Phu Nam Kingdom which was around 1,500 years ago. Besides, Go Thap, in the centre of the vast Dong Thap Muoi, still maintains wide ecological environment and beautiful landscapes. The Ministry of Culture – Sports and Tourism has approved the project of constructing an ecotourism site in Go Thap with recreational areas; the project of 10-storey Lotus culinary tower; Thap Muoi wildlife conservation and showroom site; historical and religious relics preservation and introduction site; and ecological site with various lotus ponds, cajuput forests and bird grounds and fishing. The South regional committee relic is anticipated to be built and restored. Moreover, Go Thap festival (lunar Mar and Nov each year) with cultural and art activities and folk festive atmosphere has become a remarkable event in Southern provinces that attracts hundred thousands of visitors. Meeting spiritual needs of all levels, religious and cultural tourism in Go Thap is an interesting and particular form of tourism which is potential to grow. Xeo Quyt relic – the revolutionary base during the US resistance war of wetlands – is covered with 20ha of primary cajeput forest and contains relics restoring part of the historical period of previous Kien Phong provincial committee.

The revered Nguyen Sinh Sac historical site with an extended area of nearly 11ha located in Cao Lanh city is a construction work to commemorate Nguyen Sinh Sac – the father of the greatest ever leader of Vietnam’s people - President Ho Chi Minh. Within the site, ancient Hoa An traditional village is also restored with Cai Tom canal, garden, coconut trees, plum trees, mango trees, monkey bridge, bamboo bridge, village wandering paths along the site, especially ancient houses such as “Dinh”-like (a Chinese character) house, Bat Dan house, San house, Noc Ngua house, etc.

In Dong Thap, tourists can listen to sweet and tormenting Dong Thap chantey on borderless lotus fields or rice fields, visit the ancient architecture remains of Kien An Cung Pagoda (Ong Quach pagoda), Go Quan Cung – Giong Thi Dam monument, Doc Binh Vang Palace worshipping Tran Van Nang famous general, or My An crane garden, etc.

Traditional trade villages is one of the strengths to develop tourism in Dong Thap such as: Dinh Yen mat, Rach Ba Dai building yard village, Long Thuan towel weaving village, Hong Ngu fish breeding village, etc. speciality such as Lai Vung mandarin, Chau Thanh longan, Cao Lanh mango, Phong Hoa grapefruit, Lai Vung nem (fermented pork), Hoa An plum, Sa Giang shrimp cracker, and Sa Dec noodle; and folk dishes such as grilled field mice, “dien dien” flower sour soup, braised anabas fish in clay pot, grilled snakehead fish in young lotus leaf, snakes, frogs, and pickled mud fish, etc. are also advantages for tourism that attract visitors to come and enjoy.

Lotus has long been a particular plant of Dong Thap Muoi, which is now invested to plant in centralization to take seeds for export.

Large-scale tourism investment projects are being implemented such as Bau Dong tourism site near Dinh Ba border gate, Mekong tourism site – Hong Ngu town, Wet rice culture tourism rite of Lap Vo district, etc., which will create a difference for Dong Thap tourism products from others in the Mekong Delta once they are completed.

Mrs. Roberta Tione from Italy
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 Hallo Mario
We had a nice flight back home, and now we are redatto to get back to work. Which is the hardest part or been back home :( 
The journey through Vietnam was marvellous and did enjoyed very much! We do appreciate your and all the staff in Vietnamtravelart professional!
Thank you for our discovery of your beautiful country! 
Warmest Regards,
Mrs. Roberta Tione from Italy
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Mario Nguyen
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