It’s only another 65km southeast through some classic delta scenery – vivid green rice paddies, backed by coconut and water palms – to TRA VINH, an outback market town whose broad, tree-lined streets and smattering of colonial piles have yet to see tourists in any numbers. Even if you don’t plan to stay here, it makes an interesting day out from Vinh Long. This region of the delta is Khmer country; as you get nearer to Tra Vinh, distinctive pagodas begin to appear beside the road, painted in rich pastel shades of lilac, orange and turquoise, their steep horned roofs puncturing the sky. Altogether there are over 140 Khmer pagodas scattered around the province.

Most visitors come here to visit the storks at nearby Hang Pagoda, although the town’s low-key charm makes it an intriguing place to spend a day or two. Unusually, Tra Vinh isn’t ostensibly dominated by a branch of the Mekong – you’ll have to journey a couple of hundred metres east of the 800-metre-square grid forming the town centre to find the river. A hike through the market to riverside Bach Dang makes the most engaging approach. The bridge 100m north of the fish market commands great views of the Tra Vinh River, whose eddying waters run canal-straight to the north. In places the river is almost corked by boats moored seven or eight deep.

Just south of the market, at the junction of Pham Thai Buong and Tran Quoc Tuan, the Chinese Ong Pagoda is worth a visit as it’s a very active place of worship and there’s always something interesting going on. North of the town centre up Le Loi, the Ong Met Pagoda is very different, with a Khmer-style roof above colonial arches and shutters: you’re assured of a friendly reception here from the monks studying at its English school. Immediately north is the pretty Tra Vinh Church, an imposing buttressed construction, fronted by a statue of Christ above the entrance, with waves of stonework rippling up its spire.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
Why Da Nang is Vietnam's new foodie hotspot

Why Da Nang is Vietnam's new foodie hotspot

Da Nang has long been missed off Vietnam’s well-trodden tourist trail. Those that do visit tend only to stop by for a day, spending their time basking on the…

10 Oct 2017 • Freya Godfrey insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook