Built along the bank of the Co Chien River, Vinh Long City is the capital of the Vinh Long Province. Deriving its name from the former Han Nom (Hán Nôm) writing system, Vinh Long means “eternal prosperity” and prosper it does. Lined with canals and floating markets, Vinh Long City is a cultural hub in the Mekong Delta River Region.
Outside of the city, the land is dedicated to a variety of fruit orchards. An integral part of the Mekong Delta, Vinh Long is a popular destination for tourists looking to explore this unique region. Visitors will fall in love with Vinh Long City’s romantic character as they tour the peaceful streets, markets, canals, and orchards.
Provincial Capital in the Heart of the Mekong Delta
Cityscape view of Vinh Long City. Photo: Jame and Jess
Vinh Long (Vĩnh Long) City is nestled along the riverbank and sits between two major cities: My Tho (Mỹ Tho) and Can Tho (Cân Tho). With large bridges crossing the river, Vinh Long is well-connected to other nearby destinations. Boats are also commonly used to travel around, however, some parts of the city may be inaccessible during low tide.
Being located in the heart of the Mekong Delta Region makes Vinh Long a popular destination. From My Tho, the drive to Vinh Long is only 1.5 hours. Can Tho is about 1 hour to the south and Ho Chi Minh City, Southern Vietnam’s top destination, is a little more than 2 hours to the northeast.
Driving is the best way for travelers to reach Vinh Long with both private and public transportation being available. Currently, the city does not have an airport. Visitors traveling from further destinations who are looking to cut travel times will have to fly to Can Tho International Airport, which is about an hour’s drive away from Vinh Long City.
Vinh Long. Photo: mannahi
A multicultural city, much of Vinh Long’s history was poorly documented or lost entirely. Notable historic events that have been recorded began in the 18th century as people began to settle in the Mekong Delta Region. The riverside location made Vinh Long an important port for trade in the area.
Additionally, the abundance of freshwater meant that people could easily turn to agriculture. Settlers who moved into Vietnam include ethnic Chinese and Cambodians (Khmer). Along with the Vietnamese Kinh, these ethnic groups represent the diversity of Vinh Long City. In the 1730s, the Nguyen (Nguyễn) lords ruled over Vinh Long City and the majority of the region.
By the mid-1780s, the Tay Son (Tây Son) brothers began to fight for control, which they ultimately won. Controlling the area for a little over 100 years, the Tay Son brothers would fall during the Cochinchina campaign. Fought between France and Spain, the campaign led to the Capture of Vinh Long in March of 1862.
Gaining control, the French established colonial rule over Southern Vietnam, which would last for nearly 100 years. It was towards the end of French colonization as well as throughout the Vietnam War that Vinh Long City began to be reshaped as it was merged with various districts.
Historic photo of Vinh Long. Photo: mannhai
After various adjustments to the provinces and districts, Vinh Long City emerged from the Cuu Long (Cửu Long) Province (now defunct) to become the capital of the Vinh Long Province. Since the early 1990s, when Cuu Long Province was disbanded, Vinh Long City and the province have remained relatively unchanged.
- The city covers an area of 48.1 sq km (18.6 sq mi).
- The name Vinh Long is written as 永隆 in the Han Nom writing system.
- As of 2018, the estimated population of Vinh Long City is 200,120 people.
Compact and quiet, Vinh Long City is a tranquil destination in the Mekong Region. Visitors to this provincial capital can enjoy traditional sights like floating markets, pagodas, river islands, and fruit orchards as well as cultural attractions like museums, villages, and historic bridges.
The top attractions in Vinh Long City are the Mang Thit Brickyard, An Binh Islet, Temple of Literature, Vinh Sang Eco-Tourism Area, Vinh Long Market, and Vinh Long Provincial Museum.
View crossing the My Thuan Bridge in Vinh Long City, Vietnam. Photo by: Anh Khoa.
Mang Thit Brickyard
Outside of Vinh Long City, the Mang Thit Backyard is a famous cultural attraction for tourists interested in the province’s oldest practices. Dating back to the 1700s, Mang Thit has been nicknamed the “Red Kingdom”. Locals in the village have been practicing pottery and brick burning for hundreds of years and the art has been passed through the generations.
Handcrafted and cooked in large kilns, the bricks and pottery are beautiful. Visitors are welcome to take a tour of the village and watch the production facilities in full swing. Artists also sell small pieces of pottery as souvenirs.
An Binh Islet
Flush with fruit orchards and home to a few historic sights, An Binh Islet is the most visited attraction in Vinh Long City. Located on the Co Chien (Cô Chiên) River across from Vinh Long City, An Binh can be accessed by boat. On the islet, there are 4 small communes called An Binh, Binh Hoa Phuc, Hoa Ninh, and Dong Phu, which all belong to the Long Ho District.
Attractions on An Binh Islet include the Tien Chau Pagoda and Mr. Muoi Day Stilt House. The pagoda, which has been restored several times, is a beautiful destination where visitors can learn about religion in Vinh Long. Rather large, the pagoda has two entrances and two bodhi trees at the front of the temple.
Inside, visitors can view the shrines and statues dedicated to various religious icons. A historic attraction and overnight accommodation option are found at Mr. Muoi Day Stilt House. Featuring traditional wooden architecture, the house sits along the Hoa Ninh Canal.
Tien Chau Pagoda on An Islet. Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Various types of trees are grown around the house and turned into tasty ingredients for traditional meals, which are served for lunch. Visitors can tour the house during the day or book a homestay for overnight.
Temple of Literature
One of only three Confucian sacred shrines that have been built in South Vietnam, the Temple of Literature (Vietnamese: Văn Thánh Miểu or “a temple worshiping the holy literary genius”) is an important relic to the city and its people. Located in Ward 4, it was originally built beginning in 1864 and has three gated entrances that lead to the main area.
Relics within the temple include wooden pillars inscribed with religious texts, two altars, and various buildings. On the grounds, ancient trees and ponds add to the temple’s beauty. Open daily to visitors, during the 7th and 10th lunar months, there are important festivals held at the temple, so plan your travels in advance as it can be a busy time to visit.
Vinh Sang Eco-Tourism Area
Another island on the Co Chien River is the Vinh Sang Eco-Tourism Area. Similar to An Binh, the island is well-known for its fruit orchards as well as rare animals like crocodiles, gibbons, and peacocks. Day tours to the Vinh Sang Eco-Tourism Area are both popular and recommended, often coming with transportation, insight into the area, and activities including fishing, grass skiing, and shooting.
Vinh Long Market
Vinh Long Market. Photo:
One of the best ways to explore the culinary culture of the city is to visit the Vinh Long Night Market. Featuring dozens of vendors, tourists can dig into the market stalls where inexpensive street snacks are freshly made. The market is also one of the best places to purchase local fruit from Vinh Long’s orchards.
Most of the market is situated on dry land, but it’s common to see boats stationed along the river too. The Vinh Long Market is open all hours of the day from morning to night, so tourists will have a chance to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner from a local stall.
Vinh Long Provincial Museum
While not much of the city’s history has been recorded, one of the best places to learn about the past is the Vinh Long Provincial Museum. Open daily, the museum heavily focuses on traditional and war history. One exhibit displays artifacts that teach visitors more about the local traditions in the city and province.
A second exhibit focuses on the Vietnam War and houses large historical relics like planes, guns, and tanks. Located on the waterfront, visitors in the area should take a quick tour of the museum. Guides are not necessary but are stationed through the exhibits at times.
Being that tourism important to Vinh Long City’s economy, multiple quality accommodations are found throughout the city. While there aren’t any large-scale resorts, guests can find a few larger hotels near the city center. Moreover, there are additional options including smaller boutique hotels and homestays.
Vinh Long City’s best accommodations are the Khach San Sai Gon Vinh Long, Phuoc Thanh IV Hotel, Hotel Phuoc Hung 2, and the Mekong Riverside Homestay.
Khach San Saigon Vinh Long. Photo: SaiGon VinhLong Hotel
Khach San Sai Gon Vinh Long – One of the largest hotels in the city, the Khach San Sai Gon Vinh Long is steps away from the Vinh Long Provincial Museum and City Center. Offering free wifi throughout the property and a daily buffet breakfast, on-site facilities include a restaurant, garden, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, and private parking.
Guest rooms at the Khach San Sai Gon Vinh Long have AC, a TV, fridge, kettle, desk, and a private bathroom. Linen and towels are provided as well. Room service can also be arranged through the 24-hour front desk.
Phuoc Thanh IV Hotel – Larger in size, the Phuoc Thanh IV Hotel is less than one mile from the city center. Staff at the hotel speak English and offer a variety of services including a 24-hour front desk, tour assistance, and car hire. Guest rooms are air-conditioned and include a TV, fridge, kettle, hairdryer, and minibar. The hotel also boasts an outdoor terrace, restaurant, and snack bar.
Hotel Phuoc Hung 2 – Close to the Khach San Sai Gon Vinh Long is a newer property called Hotel Phuoc Hung 2. Well-rated for its location and service, the hotel is a smaller property with rooms that feature terraces, AC, a TV, fridge, kettle, and a private bathroom. Staff at the hotel can assist guests with arranging room service and city tours.
The pool at Mekong Riverside Homestay. Photo: Mekong Riverside Homestay
Mekong Riverside Homestay – Family-friendly and local, the Mekong Riverside Homestay has a rustic feel as guests sleep in a riverside country house. Run by a local family, facilities at the homestay include a 24-hour front desk, terrace, garden, and snack bar. Served daily is a buffet breakfast.
With affordable rates, guests can book family rooms, dorm rooms, bungalows, cottages, and a chalet. Previous guests love this homestay and have stated that it is the “perfect Mekong experience”.
Although the local market is one of the best hotspots for good food, Vinh Long City also has plenty of delicious restaurants where travelers can eat out to refuel after a big day. Typically serving traditional Vietnamese meals, some of the city’s best restaurants are the Nha Xua O Vinh Long, Meo U Kitchen, and the Song Tien Floating Restaurant.
Nha Xua O Vinh Long – Situated in an ancient house and more formal, the Nha Xua O Vinh Long is one of Vinh Long’s fanciest places to eat. Serving traditional Vietnamese meals including delicious bowls of soup, this restaurant is well rated by previous diners. Tables are set up in the ancient house or guests can choose to eat in the picturesque garden.
Meo U Kitchen – With charming aesthetics and good food, one of the best places to eat in Vinh Long City is the Meo U Kitchen. Guests are seated out in the garden and inside, delicious food is cooked. Perfect for a morning breakfast or quick lunch, this restaurant has become a hit with the locals and tourists.
Meo U Kitchen. Photo: MÈO Ú kitchen
Song Tien Floating Restaurant – A unique place to eat is the Song Tien Floating Restaurant, which is situated on a boat. Serving good food, guests are also taken on a tour of the Mekong. Open from breakfast to dinner, the restaurant specializes in seafood dishes.
Due to the water flooded landscape, fruit and rice are popular in Vinh Long. Honoring its best agricultural products, the city hosts an annual Fruit and Rice Festival. Taking place in June, numerous fruits are displayed, including the famous Nam Roi grapefruits. Common activities include an opening ceremony, art performances, stalls, conferences, planting demonstrations, and contests.
In early January, the Rice Festival is held in a similar tune to the Fruit Festival but showcases the best of the city’s grain. During the festival, rice is the main ingredient and it is cooked alongside local favorites like fresh fish and fruit. In addition to the typical performances and ceremonies, products featuring rice are heavily promoted to domestic and foreign visitors.
There are plenty of ways to get around Vinh Long City including walking, biking, taxis, and motorbike rentals. Tourists who are staying around the city center won’t have to worry about alternative transportation being that the area is walkable. However, a few of the attractions are further away and they may require tourists to find a set of wheels.
Bicycle and motorbike rentals are affordable and very popular amongst tourists. Those who don’t want to drive themselves will find that taxis are also available for hire.
With high temperatures, humidity, and heavy rain showers during the summer months, the least popular time to visit Vinh Long City is from May to September. Instead, for the best weather conditions, visitors should plan their trip for the dry season. Rain begins to dwindle in October, but peak tourist season doesn’t begin until December.
Lasting through the holidays until April, there are several months where tourists won’t have to worry about poor weather conditions ruining their plans. Showcasing the quieter side of life in the Mekong Delta, Vinh Long City is a great destination that is perfect for a weekend getaway.
Tourable in just a few days, travelers may fall in love and end up staying longer as they seek to avoid the Mekong Delta’s tourist crowds. With just enough charm to be popular, Vinh Long City doesn’t feel too touristy, which is bliss for those who know how crowded the Mekong Delta can be.
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Keyword: Vinh Long City, Vietnam