Speckled with floating villages and colorful markets, Long Xuyen is the gateway to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Region. A hub for the local economy, politics, and culture, the city is also a tourist destination.
Whether staying to explore the area or stopping over on the way to Cambodia, Long Xuyen is an interesting city that mesmerizes travelers with its unique and lively character.
Provincial Capital in the Mekong Delta Region
An integral part of the delta, Long Xuyen is built around the Hâu Giang River, which is a channel of the Mekong. The majority of the city is located on the river’s west bank with neighborhoods connected by roads and canals. Long Xuyen is the capital of An Giang Province and the Mekong Delta’s second-largest city. There are 13 subdivisions of communes and wards in the city.
Being located in Southwest Vietnam, most people traveling to Long Xuyen come from Ho Chi Minh City, which is 115 miles (186 kilometers) to the northeast. Driving from Saigon to Long Xuyen takes about 4 hours, although, with public transportation, the drive may take an hour longer.
Travelers may also come from Cambodia as the border is only 53 miles (85 kilometers) away. Cars and buses are the most reliable way to get to Long Xuyen.
Before Long Xuyen, the area around the city was called Dong Xuyen. Established as an outpost on the Tam Khe Canal, the name “Long Xuyen” caught on when the local market became a popular place to shop or trade and locals soon forgot the outpost’s original name. Only changed by one letter, the city grew with its new name at a rapid pace.
By 1877, the local administration was in charge of multiple neighborhoods and wards. In 1999, Long Xuyen was formally declared to be a city. Long Xuyen’s most well-known period of history was during the time that the Hao Hao villagers gathered to form a new religion in 1939.
Led by Huynh Phu So, the Hao Hao opposed foreign influence as they became a powerful independent force in South Vietnam. For decades, the Hao Hao stayed in power until Communist rule began in 1976.
From temples to palaces, historical landmarks remain in Long Xuyen and many sites are open to the public. Museums in the city are a great activity for visitors who want to learn more and explore the past of Long Xuyen. With little information published online, most of the city’s history is kept and recorded by locals who work at the museums and monuments.
- 382,140 people live in Long Xuyen
- Long Xuyen is the birthplace of Vietnam’s second president, Ton Duc Thang
- The Mekong Delta’s second-largest university, An Giang University, is located in Long Xuyen
Many of the main attractions in Long Xuyen are in tune with the city’s reputation of being a stop-over destination. This means that there are a lot of attractions that can be explored in less than a day, which is ideal for travelers who are just passing through the area.
Explore the Markets
Long Xuyen has two markets – one on land and one on the water.
The Central Market in Long Xuyen is housed in a mint green building and it is divided into several sections to make shopping easier. Not a tourist market, foreigners won’t be hassled to make a purchase. Those who are visiting or shopping at the market can wander through various sections to see what seafood, vegetables, and live animals are being sold.
Similarly, the floating market is not a tourist shopping center and visitors won’t be hard-pressed to support a business. Though, getting to the floating market is more challenging, since most do not know if its existence in the city. Long Xuyen’s floating market is out on the river.
Visitors can head to the local jetty to hire a guide to give them a tour. An hour should be enough time to stroll through and make any purchases.
Pagodas and Cathedrals
Long Xuyen is a very religious city with many pagodas and cathedrals. Many of these religious sites have gardens and beautiful architecture, which makes them popular stops for city tours. Quang Te and Phuoc Thanh are the two most visited pagodas in Long Xuyen. Alternately, the Long Xuyen Cathedral is another religious site that has become popular with foreign visitors.
Life on the Mekong
The Mekong River is an icon for East and Southeast Asia and understandably, tourists are often eager to get out on the water and take a cruise. With multiple local tour agencies offering river cruises, tourists will have the opportunity to experience the local lifestyle in Long Xuyen.
For the city, the Mekong River is an essential life force that is historically and culinary important to the locals. From afternoon rides to multi-day cruises, exploring the river around Long Xuyen is a fun way to spend the afternoon.
An Giang Museum
For an in-depth view into the history of Long Xuyen from before the war and after the war, the An Giang Museum is one of the most visited attractions in the city. Exhibitions in the museum focus on the history of the French invasion and the Vietnam War in Long Xuyen, with artifacts from both colonial and war times on display.
In addition, the An Giang Museum focuses on teaching visitors about the local culture. Exhibitions on the local ethnic and religious groups give insight into the modern-day city and its people.
Ong Ho Island
Also called Tiger Island, Ong Ho sits in the middle of the Hâu Giang River. Formed by silt, the island is fertile with various types of aquatic plants. While the beauty of the island is well-known, the real reason why the island has become a tourist site is that it was the former home of Vietnam’s second president, Ton Duc Thang.
Locally known as Uncle Ton, the former president’s childhood cabin still stands on the island and it has become an important memorial to the past political leader. Available for day trips and overnight stays, Ong Ho is a great place to escape city life and reconnect with nature.
As a well-developed city, there are a lot of accommodation options in Long Xuyen and the best part is that many have very affordable rates. While resorts are not common, there are dozens of hotels with high ratings scattered throughout the city.
Long Xuyen Hotel – The Long Xuyen Hotel is one of the city’s top-rated accommodation options because of its excellent service and clean rooms. A short walk from the Asia Plaza, the hotel is in a prime location for visitors who don’t want to have to worry about local transportation during their stay. Included with a booking, visitors are provided with free Wi-Fi, private parking, and room service.
Chau Khuong Hotel – In the same area as the Long Xuyen Hotel, the Chau Khuong Hotel is an upscale establishment that provides guests with modern comforts. Impeccably clean and with a friendly staff, the Chau Khuong has earned the reputation of being the city’s best newly built hotel. Guests of the hotel will have access to on-site facilities like the restaurant, bar, and 24-hour front desk.
Hoa Binh 1 – One of the most popular hotels for foreign tourists with families, the Hoa Binh 1 Hotel has an exceptional staff that ensures each and every guest feels at home. With an outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, spa services, and large rooms, guests consistently give this location their highest ratings.
Additionally, the staff is more than happy to help guests arrange for transportation or tours of the local area.
As a place where cultures collide, Long Xuyen is host to plenty of restaurants that focus on local, regional, and international cuisine. Local favorites include the basa fish and coconuts, which are frequently fried or added to soups. However, international favorites can also be found with influence from Western countries.
Boss Café – For a light snack between sightseeing activities, the Boss Café is a cozy little place to order a coffee or light meal. Located between two malls, the café has a relaxed atmosphere and attentive staff. Serving local favorites, popular dishes on the menu include fruit medleys and seafood delights.
Vuon Hanh Phuc – A luxury restaurant, the Vuon Hanh Phuc has an English menu and English-speaking staff to cater to foreign visitors. Using fresh and local ingredients, patrons, in particular, tend to highly rate the seafood dishes. Located in a prime location, the restaurant has excellent views of the neighborhood.
Oh La La Paris – Setup as a quaint sidewalk café, Oh La La Paris gives visitors a taste of home. Steak is the favorite for many as the chefs here know how to cook it just right to ensure that the flavor explodes in your mouth. Featuring mostly foreign dishes, the café has mastered French cuisine. Serving wine and beer with excellent table service, Oh La La Paris is a great choice for lunch or dinner.
During certain times of the year, Long Xuyen is extremely busy as residents and visitors are thrown into a celebration for the national holidays. Fireworks, parades, songs, and dances are all common amongst the celebrations both in Long Xuyen and throughout the country. However, one celebration that Long Xuyen is famous for is their elaborate display of fruit during the Tet holiday.
Tet starts on the 1st day of the Vietnamese lunar calendar and it is more commonly known as the Lunar New Year. Celebrations are grand, but Long Xuyen has a special way to celebrate. Markets in Long Xuyen begin to sell special fruit for the Tet holiday in the local markets. Exotic and odd fruits appear with many painted golden or carved with good wishes.
Compared to nearby cities, Long Xuyen is more compact, which makes it easier to navigate. Tourists exploring the city center won’t need to worry about transportation because they can use their own two feet. Many of the site seeing and landmark hotspots are close by and centrally located in Long Xuyen.
Travelers should be able to walk from place to place, however, if local transportation is needed, the best options are tuk-tuks, called “xe lam” in Vietnam, or taxis. Local transportation services often have affordable rates.
With a dry and wet season, weather in Long Xuyen can certainly impact a vacation. The best months to visit Long Xuyen are December to February, which is during the dry season. During the winter months, temperatures are cooler and there is less rain, which is ideal for exploring the Mekong Delta Region.
The least popular time to visit Long Xuyen is during the months of June, July, and August. This is because rain, humidity, and heat are at their highest during the summer months.
A blend of local culture and modern tastes, Long Xuyen is a stopover destination that has frequently been ignored. Most guests may only spend hours in the city as they head on their way to other parts of the country and that is a mistake. Deserving of a weekend trip, there is a lot to see in Long Xuyen and the city will likely surprise you with its quiet charm.
With affordable rates and fun activities, Long Xuyen is worth a visit.
Activities near Long Xuyen
- Can Tho (50km)
- Ho Chi Minh City (184km)
- Rach Gia (62km)
- Vung Tau (268km)