For this trip I hired a boat for about $14 dollars that will take me on an approximate 3.5 hour tour on the Hua River, a tributary of the Mekong where I’ll see a wholesale floating market in action and visit a rice paper making village. After 45 minutes of passing by colorful vessels and regular river activity, including tourist boats heading in the opposite direction on their way to other floating markets we arrived at the Cai Rang wholesale market. Cruising at a slower speed by boats almost spilling over with pineapples and other fresh fruit and produce. Local buyers arrive to purchase goods from the farmers that bring their fruit and produce to Cai Rang and take it to the cities to sell to shops and other wholesalers.
It’s important to hire a boat and leave the dock at Can Tho before 7am otherwise you’ll mostly just run in to other tour boats by the time you arrive. You can either book your boat in advance at your hotel or make a deal with one of the boat ladies hanging out at the dock on Hai Ba Trung. Typically a boat here will have a sample of whatever they’re selling attached to a long pole, so it’s easy to spot what you’re looking for from a distance on the water. This also saves the farmers or sellers from having to yell out what they’re selling like in a typical market.
You’ll also have a chance to interact with boats pulling up and offering drinks and snacks.
Can Tho was once part of the Khmer kingdom. There’s still a significant Khmer community noticable by the numerous Cambodian style Buddhist temples in the city.
If you’ve just arrived from Ho Chi Minh City you’ll appreciate a slighter slower pace with a mix of wide streets and narrow lanes. The city has enough interesting sites and places to stroll to keep you engaged for at least a few days. I found it effortless to settle in and enjoy the even friendlier environment and the inexpensive delicious food and fruit of the region.
The Khmer style temples of the region are Theraveda Buddhist unlike the Vietnamese type that are filled with Taoist Gods and Buddhist deities. A visit to Munirensay Pagoda will either immediately take you back to your days in Cambodia or inspire you to cross the border.
There are plenty of lovely restaurants along the waterfront on Hai Ba Trung as well as a nightly market with plenty of cheap food stalls but don’t miss out on the great spots on De Tham, the street of food located on Hue Vien close by the Munirensay pagoda. Here you can find a huge selection of dishes whether you favor meat, fish, or vegetarian. Plus there’s bake shops that sell slabs of cake for less than 50 cents, and fruit stalls with jackfruit that’s as sweet as candy.
There are lots of friendly streets to stroll and if you decide you want to take a rest and have a caphe da, or vietnamese iced coffee, just grab a plastic chair and have a seat. I like the fresh fruit juices cafes serve here as well.
Head back to Hai Ba Trung walk along the river’s edge, check off another Ho Chi Minh statue you’ve seen on your trip and make your way to the prettiest temple in Can Tho, Ong Temple inside the Guangzhou Assembly Hall. Under all of the huge incense coils that lends to the temples magical atmosphere you’ll find Kuang Kung or Guan Yu, right in the center. The God of war Kuang Kung symbolizes truth, justice, and courage among other qualities. Kuang Kung is the main deity worshipped at the temple.
Development and modernization is spreading across Vietnam including Can Tho but there’s still remnants from the past including the Ninh Kieu Pier Tourist Market and it’s Market Hall dating back to 1913. Inside you’ll find trinkets and clothes, souvenirs, and a restaurant/cafe with lovely river views. Meanwhile back on the floating market tour we traveled up one of the quieter pretty canals to visit a rice paper making village.
As touristy as some of this activity may seem you’d kick yourself if you didn’t hire a boat and visit a floating market while staying in Can Tho or the Mekong Delta region. The feeling of cruising up and down the river amidst this unique way of trade is an extremely rewarding adventure.
There are longer river trips and more temples and sites to see around Can Tho. However it’s the slower pace, obvious relaxed feel of the city and it’s people as well as the transcendental experience of the Mekong River system that is the bigger take away. It’s a reminder that as much as the country is changing it’s the old ways and pace of life that reflects the true beauty of Vietnam.
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Swayambhunath-“The Monkey Temple”-Kathmandu, Nepal-Captured this morning at 6:30 while observing/filming Gunla, the month long Buddhist festival observed by Newari Buddhists. The Newaris are the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. This month long ritual of praying, fasting, playing music, and singing is believed to originate from when the monks retreated from the monsoon rains to meditate. Loud, but full of joy I only recently discovered this festival with the kind help of a ticket attendant at Swayambhunath who let me use my entrance ticket a second day,(never happened before), to see the Gunla ritual. Inspiring to see young and old followers enjoying the warm spirited atmosphere at this storied site. Energy/vibe-crazy amazing!!!#nepal #himalayas #kathmandu #annapurna #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #buddhist #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #travelblogger #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #mountainscape
Kathmandu, Nepal-More From Gai Jatra 2018 Festival this past Monday. Some of my best moments spent in Nepal besides trekking in the Himalaya have been observing the various festivals whether they’re Hindi, Buddhist, or Newari. The indescribable aura especially with the mix of beliefs and people that come from all over the country to work in the Kathmandu Valley is magical, unlike almost anywhere else I’ve visited. Sometimes I wonder did I find this place or did it find me. On my 8th visit in as many years… #kathmandu #hindu #hinduism #nepal #festival #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #WeAreSherpa
Kathmandu, Nepal-Gai Jatra 2018, “The Festival Of Cows”! These boys are dressed as cows leading processions of people who have lost a loved one this past year. Cows lead the processions but if one is not available a boy dressed as a cow is an acceptable substitute. They accept offerings from people in the street. Young children are dressed in bright colorful costumes and adults sometimes dress in funny outfits. It’s all to help those see they are not alone in their suffering and to help relieve the pain of loss. I felt so much joy and community today in Kathmandu. Once again the spirit of harmony and compassion unfolded itself in a beautiful ritual in the Kathmandu Valley. #kathmandu #hindu #hinduism #nepal #festival #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography
Varanasi, India-The look in their eyes. Sometimes I turn the camera the other way just to capture moments like this. A group in this boat staring up at the ghats of the great Ganges each with their own perspective, different reasons perhaps of why they are there. Do they have a relative who’s body was cremated or are they waiting for someone to finally pass on to the next life? Are they simply just tourists admiring the ghats and city for the first time. Or could they be reminding us to always feel gratitude no matter what’s currently happening in our lives. Varanasi goes at many speeds with layers of activity that can sometimes only be felt days, even years after the fact…. #varanasi #nikon #puja #incredibleindia #hinduism #streetphotography#photojournalism #away #tripme #traveling #alone #nikon #flowers #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram#instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #FF #igtravel #followme
The Hungry Ghost Festival 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan
The Hungry Ghost Festival 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan
Mt. Kailash,Tibet-The highest point on the kora of Mt. Kailash, Drolma La Pass, 5630 meters. This is one of the most unique adventures on the planet. Travel to remote Western Tibet, Walk for 3 days on a pilgrimage around one of the holiest places of Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Bon followers. They say doing one kora around Mt. Kailash wipes away the sins of a lifetime. Some believe after you do a kora, circumambulation of Mt. Kailash, you will go on to do something good for humanity. It’s an incredible awakening and it helped change my life! #tibet #buddha #buddhism #hinduism #photojournalism #trekking #india #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #travelblogger #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #mountainscape
Hanoi, Vietnam-I think we’ve lost so much in the way of individuality and charm when it comes to retailing, let alone how it’s impacted our cultures and society. So many governments encourage big business and multinational chains with tax breaks and incentives while making it increasingly harder for an individual to start a small business- shameful! The Old Quarter Of Hanoi is still filled with family businesses that offer products, services, and style that’s quite unique for a capital city these days. From a traveler’s perspective it’s so refreshing to walk around a city and not see the same stores that are showing up everywhere else on the planet. I want more LOCAL at home and when I travel! #vietnam #hanoi #fuji #myfujifilm #fujifilm #streetphotography#photojournalism #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #walkingstreet #nightmarket #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #FF #igtravel #followme #travelphotography