A newish town carved from the jungles and swamps of the Mekong Delta region, Cao Lanh is big for business, but draws few tourists.
Dong Thap Museum MUSEUM
(226 Ð Nguyen Thai Hoc; 7-11.30am & 1.30-5pm) The Dong Thap Museum is among the Mekong’s best museums, in spite of having no English captions. The ground floor exhibits an anthropological history of Dong Thap province, with displays of equipment , sculpture, types of traditional houses and some species of animals and pickled fish. Upstairs is devoted to war history and Ho Chi Minh.
War Martyrs Monument MONUMENT
On the eastern edge of town off Hwy 30, the War Memorial (Dai Liet Si) is Cao Lanh’s most remarkable landmark, a sculpture featuring a large white concrete statue of a decorated soldier and flowers in front of a stylised star. The rear of the statue is demonstrated with storks, a symbol of the Mekong.
Within the grounds are the tombs of 3112 VC who came to die fighting in the American War.
Tomb of Nguyen Sinh Sac PARK
(Lang Cu Nguyen Sinh Sac; off Ð Pham Huu Lau; car parking 6000d) The tomb of Ho Chi Minh’s father, Nguyen Sinh Sac (1862–1929), is the centrepiece of a lovely 9.6-hectare park and model heritage village. The grave itself is situated under a shell-shaped shrine set behind a star-shaped lotus pond.
Though various plaques (in Vietnamese) and tourist pamphlets extol Nguyen Sinh Sac as a great revolutionary, scarce evidence reveals that he was involved in the anti colonial struggle against the French. Next to the shrine is a small museum devoted to Ho Chi Minh consisting mainly of photos with Vietnamese captions.
The construction is situated at the southwest approach to town; turn right after Hoa Long Pagoda and follow the fence around until you get to the entrance.
Hoa Anh HOTEL $
For 210,000d you’ll get a clean , tiny double with a small bathroom at this fresh-faced hotel not far from the bus station. The two-bed rooms are large , whereas the pricier rooms are suitable for a family.
Xuan Mai Hotel $
A spacious restaurant, massage parlour and hotel combined into one, this represents good value, with large but rather messy rooms. Set behind the post office; rates include breakfast. There is no lift .
Nha Khach Dong Thap HOTEL $
A Communist Party special, with large, airy, OK rooms, a reception dripping in marble, and corridors wide enough to take a jeep. Nevertheless , little English is spoken and it has an institutionalised feel.
Song Tra Hotel$$
The exterior is clunky but rooms are in logical shape, with large windows, satellite TV, a minibar and hot water. Staff are more helpful than you’ll find in most other state-run places.
Cao Lanh is well-known for chuot dong (rice-field rats), so come with room in your stomach to sample the local speciality . At the very least, it’ll make a great story back home.
Ngoc Lan VIETNAMESE $
The ‘Magnolia’ is a bright and various choice, with fresh and tasty pot-cooked pork (35,000d) and mixed-vegetable soup (80,000d). It’s wonderful with a red-and-green LED sign at night.
A Chau VIETNAMESE $
Shut for a refurb at the time of writing, this eatery usually has tasty banh xeo (fried pancakes, which you roll up and dip in fish sauce) as a special food.
Dong Thap Tourist A remarkably friendly, helpful outfit that can arrange] a boat and other tours of the surrounding area. It also has a branch at My Hiep village.
Post Office (85 Ð Nguyen Hue) Internet access available.
Getting There & Around
Cao Lanh Bus Station (Ben Xe Cao Lanh; 71/1 Ð Ly Thuong Kiet) is conveniently located right in the center of town, with services to HCMC (65,000d), Sa Dec (15,000d), Vinh Long (17,000d), My Tho (30,000d), Tra Vinh (49,000d), Can Tho(45,000d), Soc Trang (55,000d), Vung Tau (112,000d) and Ca Mau (85,000d).
View around Cao Lanh will be the best if you visit by river . Although you could possibly arrange something privately with boat owners, you’ll find it easier – although slightly more expensive – to deal with Dong Thap Tourist. Plan on about $30 for a half-day boat tour.