CAN THO CITY IN MEKONG DELTA
The Can Tho city is the Mekong Delta’s largest tourist centre, located in southern Vietnam 170 km from Ho Chi Minh City, on the banks of the Hau Giang River. With a population of 1.7 million, it is the largest city in the Mekong Delta. The city is populated mainly by Vietnamese, but also by Chinese, Khmer and the Champa ethnic group.
VIETNAMESE RICE BASKET
The Mekong Delta is the rice basket of Vietnam, as half of the rice harvested in all of Vietnam is grown in the Can Tho region. The Mekong’s major industries are coconut oil production, fish, fruit, rice farming. The Mekong is a marshland with an excellent canal system and its also sheltered from the waves by mangrove forests. Small marshy rivers, canals, floating markets are a very important part of the Mekong’s culture, and are also the main attractions of Mekong Delta.
As there are not many roads in the Mekong, many villages can only be reached by boat, drifting along narrow channels, and sometimes by using the monkey bridges that the locals have woven together to shorten the walking distance. Legend has it that once upon a time both banks of the river below Can Tho were used to grow fruit, and vegetables, which were successfully sold from boats. The main floating markets are Phong Dien and Cai Rang where small boats drift along the Mekong River, offering a variety of food, drinks, fruit and other consumables for sale.
CAN THO HISTORY
Can Tho city and areas were inhabited as early as 2,500 years ago where recent archaeological discoveries suggest that until the 5th and 6th centuries the Mekong areas were inhabited by the Funan (Óc Eo) multi-ethnic kingdom who had good relations with China and India. Óc Eo may have been a city known to the Romans as Kattigara, which gradually became the economic and cultural centre of the Mekong Delta, and an important position on the maritime routes of south-east Asia. From the 6th century, the Chenla kingdom (Chinese Sui dynasty) was established where, from the 9th to the 15th century, the Mekong Delta was already inhabited by the Khmer Empire.
In the 17th century, the Vietnamese arrived in the Mekong region after a civil war between the Trinh-Nguyen dynasties in which the Khmer were suffering heavy losses at the same time as the Siamese and were unable to stop the Vietnamese migration. In the 19th century, France began to pay great attention to the region, first occupying Saigon and imposing a protectorate over Cambodia, and later extending its control over Laos, creating French Indo-China. Foreign troops remained in the lower Mekong until the end of the Vietnam War.
MEKONG - LARGEST RIVER IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA
The Mekong River is the largest river in Southeast Asia with a length of 4,350 kilometres flowing from Tibet at the foot of Mount Guozongmucha at an altitude of 5,224 metres through China’s Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and flows into Vietnam’s South China Sea. The Mekong is called by different names in different languages because of the poor navigability of its upper and middle reaches, which means that throughout history the Mekong has separated rather than united the peoples along its banks. In Tibetan (Dza-chu). Cambodia: Mékôngk or Tonle Thom. Laos: Mènam Khong. Thailand: Mae Nam Khong. Vietnam: Sông Tiên Giang or Sông Cửu Long (‘river of nine dragons’) or Sông Mê Kông. China: Pinyin or Láncāng Jiāng or Méigōng Hé.
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