Positioned on the Hau Giang (Hậu Giang) and Tien Giang (Tiền Giang) branches of the upper Mekong River, An Giang Province is a culturally and historically significant destination in Vietnam. Mountainous only in the west, the majority of the province has flat terrain that’s interlaced with rivers and canals.
Home to ethnic groups of Vietnamese, Cham, and Khmer Krom people, tourists will have the opportunity to experience traditional ways of life. A quiet tourist destination known for its agricultural and silk productions, the future of An Giang is bright as more and more travelers discover this rustic province as they travel through the Mekong.
Agricultural Province in the Mekong Delta
Landlocked and sharing a border with Cambodia, An Giang Province is filled with poetic countryside landscapes. Higher elevations in the province’s western district, Tinh Bien (Tịnh Biên), drop to flat open land in the east. Cutting through the land, numerous rivers and canals are an important freshwater system for An Giang’s agricultural production.
Covering a large area of the upper Mekong River Delta, An Giang Province boasts a mix of remote and popular destinations. The provincial capital, Long Xuyen (Long Xuyên) is located close to the southern border of the province, which places it close to other Mekong Delta destinations like Cao Lanh (Cao Lãnh), Can Tho (Cần Thơ), and Vinh Long (Vĩnh Long).
Vietnam’s famous southern city, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), is about 193 km (120 mi) to the northeast of An Giang Province. Driving is the best way to get there and takes about 4 hours from HCMC. Travelers can arrange for private or public transportation from HCMC. Alternatively, travelers can fly into the airport at Can Tho and then drive the 1.5 hours north to Long Xuyen City.
The human habitation and culture of An Giang Province have existed for thousands of years. Dating back to the 1st millennium, the Oc Eo (Óc Eo) Port was significant to the Funan Kingdom. Knowledge of the port spread as far as the Roman Empire where it was called Cattigara. From the 2nd century BC to the 12th century AD, the Oc Eo Port connected the Mekong Delta to the world.
Today, evidence of the port can be found at the Oc Eo Agricultural Site, which is located in An Giang Province. On-site various ancient artifacts like pottery, tools, jewelry, coins, and religious figures are housed. Even though culture in An Giang can be traced back to Oc Eo, significant development of the area didn’t begin until 1832 when the area was declared a province.
Settled by Vietnamese migrants who were looking to move south, ethnic minorities like the Cham (Chăm) and Khmer Krom have lived in the Mekong Delta and An Giang Province for hundreds of years. Even today, communities of these minorities live in communes throughout An Giang.
One important part of the local culture is agriculture. The flat and river-fed landscape is the perfect environment for growing rice and the province has significantly added to the development of rice in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta. Besides rice, An Giang is known for producing high-quality silk. Dating back hundreds of years, silk textiles led to the cultural development of the province.
- As of 2021, there are 2,014,532 people living in An Giang Province.
- In Sino-Vietnamese, the name An Giang is written 安江 and it translates to “peaceful river”.
- Vietnam’s 2nd president, Ton Duc Thang (Tôn Ðức Thắng) came from An Giang Province.
An integral part of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, Long Xuyen is the capital city of An Giang Province. The city is situated in the southern part of the province on the western bank of the Hau Giang (Bassac) River, which is a channel of the greater Mekong River. Boasting a population of 382,140 people, Long Xuyen is the largest city in An Giang Province.
Prior to being called Long Xuyen, the city was established as an outpost in 1789 under the name Dong Xuyen. The current name, Long Xuyen, came from a local market, which became more famous than the city in the 1860s. Attracting most of the attention, the administration changed its name from Dong Xuyen to Long Xuyen.
Important to locals as a hub for the economy, politics, and culture, Long Xuyen is mostly used as a stopover destination for travelers heading to or from Cambodia. As most tourists tend to stay in the city for only one night or a few days, Long Xuyen has plenty of attractions that can be explored in half a day or less.
Along the riverbank, some of the best attractions in Long Xuyen include the floating villages and markets. Religion is also an important part of the local culture and throughout the city, visitors can tour the peaceful pagodas and cathedrals.
To learn more about the province and its capital city, visitors should head to the An Giang Museum where exhibits focus on colonial and war history. Another historical site is Onh Ho or Tiger Island, which includes the Uncle Ton cabin (childhood home of Vietnam’s former president, Ton Duc Thang).
With short stays in mind, hotels in An Giang Province are affordable and comfortable. Most properties located in or near the city center are smaller in size, although there are a few larger establishments. Travelers staying in Long Xuyen shouldn’t expect to find large resort properties. Instead, boutique hotels and hostels are the most popular options for travelers in this Mekong Delta City.
Hotels in Long Xuyen with the highest ratings include the Chau Khuong Hotel, Phuong Nam Hotel, Lara Hotel Long Xuyen, and the Marina Plaza Long Xuyen. Serving traditional Vietnamese meals, international cuisine, and tasty dishes, there are dozens of restaurants in Long Xuyen.
From the food stalls in local markets to fine dining establishments, travelers won’t have to worry about going hungry during their stay. A few of the best restaurants in Long Xuyen include the Vuon Hanh Phuc Restaurant and Lounge, 1.2.3 Dzo Restaurant, Kokoro Sushi, K3 Long Xuyen, Oh La La Paris, and Taijo Sushi.
Famous Places in An Giang Province
While many tourists are only passing through, those who dedicate the time to exploring An Giang may be pleasantly surprised at what they find. Away from the provincial capital, the province is divided into a series of cities, towns, and districts. A few of the famous places that showcase the best of the local lifestyle and culture are Chau Doc City, Tan Chau Town, and the Thoai Son District.
Chau Doc City
Home to Sam Mountain, the tallest peak in the Mekong Delta, Chau Doc (Châu Ðổc) City sits in the very north of An Giang Province along the international border with Cambodia. Similar to Long Xuyen, most travelers will simply pass through Chau Doc. However, the city has a few famous landmarks that have become tourist attractions.
Historical and cultural, the Phuoc Dien (Phước Ðiền) Temple has been declared an official monument in Vietnam. Just outside of the city, another temple that is known for its beautiful architecture is called Tay An (Tây An), which dates back to 1847.
Near the city center and main market, the Victoria Hotel is a noteworthy destination where travelers can relax after a long journey. More than just an accommodation, the hotel gives guests a front-row view of life on the Mekong.
Tan Chau Town
Another destination that sits along the border with Cambodia is Tan Chau (Tân Châu) Town. With a modest population, this town’s claim to fame is the Tan Chau silk. Dyed black using the Diospyros mollis fruit, the silk has been produced for hundreds of years.
Travelers in Tan Chau can learn more about the growing and making process by observing artists or purchasing a product to take home. In addition to the silk, Tan Chau charms visitors with its small-town feel and stunning riverside landscape.
Thoai Son District
A rural district along the southern border of An Giang Province, Thoai Son (Thoại Sơn) is famous for the ruins of Cattara or Oc Eo. Once a part of the Funan Kingdom, this district used to have an ancient trading port that operated from the 1st to the 7th century CE.
A cradle for the Oc Eo culture, the district is now a busy tourist destination. The archeological site houses many artifacts from the Oc Eo culture. In addition to the historic and cultural significance of the district, the local landscape only adds to the area’s beauty. Backdropped by the Sap and Ba Mountains, tourists will have plenty to see and do in this small district.
Although An Giang Province is known for its cultural and historic areas, the province excels at combining nature and culture. Tucked away amongst the natural landmarks, tourists will find a series of beautiful temples and pagodas. In a few spots, the lack of human interference allows travelers to escape to the tranquility of nature.
Main attractions in An Giang Province that can’t be missed are the Tra Su Cajuput Forest, Bay Nui (Bảy Núi) Mountain, Ta Pa Mountain, and the Ba Chua Xu (Bà Chúa Xứ) Temple.
Tra Su Cajuput Forest
Covering 850 hectares, the Tra Su Cajuput Forest is home to a mangrove ecosystem that supports various native species of flora and fauna. Known for its verdant trees and river, tourists can arrange to take a boat tour through the forest. Species that are frequently spotted in the forest include a variety of birds, fish, and reptiles.
While the river is the main attraction, travelers should also check out the observation tower and bamboo bridge that have been built in the forest.
Bay Nui Mountain
Mythical in appearance, Bay Nui Mountain has been turned into a small resort area. Popular with visitors due to the amazing summit, activities at the mountain include visiting the lake, tourist areas, Buddha statues, and pagoda. A small community living at the summit provides services like overnight accommodations and dining to travelers.
The pagoda is open daily and is not far from the massive Buddha statue, which sits on the shore of the lake. Popular throughout the year, Bay Nui Mountain quickly fills with crowds during times of festivals and celebrations.
Ta Pa Mountain
Much more remote, rugged, and empty than Bay Nui, Ta Pa Mountain is a paradise for nature lovers looking to escape the crowds and city noise. Without temples, tourist areas, and attractions, guests to Ta Pa can enjoy the sounds and views of the mountain.
Criss-crossing the peak is a network of hiking trails that will take visitors all around the base and to the summit. A lake near the top is the perfect place to rest and have a picnic. With most trails rather difficult to conquer, travelers should be prepared to tackle a moderate hike.
Ba Chua Xu Temple
Overlooking the valley, Ba Chua Xu Temple sits at the top of Sam Mountain. Although the main temple sits at the very top, travelers who are walking up the mountain can stop at a few pagodas along the way. After climbing the stone steps, visitors are greeted by a large, ornate gate.
Inside, visitors will find a beautiful scene as the temple is renowned for its water garden and large Buddha statue. Throughout the year, visitors will head to the temple to ask for success from the madam Chua Xu shrine. However, a temple festival held during the 4th lunar month is when Ba Chua Xu becomes especially busy and a flurry of activity.
While every temple and pagoda in An Giang Province has its own festival, one of the most unique celebrations in the area is the Cow Racing Festival. Held during the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar, the Cow Racing Festival is a way for the locals to express their gratitude to their ancestors. Gathering around Bay Nui Mountain in the Tri Ton (Tri Tôn) District, cows are raced in a flooded rice field.
A blue flag marks the starting point and a red flag marks the finish line. The cows are raced in pairs as a driver stands on a rake between the two. As cows are raised for food and frequently sold by villagers, the winning cows are seen as a good omen and kept as assets to the village. Certainly a thrilling event, the Cow Racing Festival highlights a unique part of the province’s Khmer culture.
With similar weather patterns to the rest of the Mekong Delta Region, An Giang Province has a wet and dry season. The wet season occurs from May to November and is the least popular time for tourists as heavy rain and high temperatures make venturing throughout the province increasingly difficult.
Instead, travelers should plan their trip to An Giang during the dry season. Beginning in December and lasting until April, the dry season brings cooler temperatures and less rain. It’s also the time when most pagodas will hold their festivals. Those who wish to see the Cow Racing Festival will have to brave the wet weather as this event is held during the month of August.
Often seen as a stopover destination, An Giang Province is slowly transforming into an alluring tourist hotspot. Though tourism is currently limited, the vast landscapes, rich culture, and historic gems of An Giang Province are certain to entice curious travelers.
Activities near An Giang Province
- Ben Tre (193km)
- Bien Hoa (252km)
- Can Tho (96km)
- Cao Lanh (93km)
- HCMC (224km)
- Long Xuyen
- My Tho (177km)
- Phu Quoc (168km)
- Rach Gia (70km)
- Sa Dec (96km)
- Thu Dau Mot (233km)
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