If you are a backpacker who loves to explore off-the-beaten path travel and trying local foods, head to Soc Trang.
Soc Trang city is about 240km south of Ho Chi Minh city and 60 km southeast of Can Tho city. The name “Soc Trang” comes from a Khmer name “Srok Kh’leang” which means “a place where silver is stored”. This is also where most of Khmer people live. Therefore, beside Kinh’s culture (the major people in Viet Nam), Khmer cultural characteristics can be seen everywhere, especially at Khmer pagodas.
Like most provinces in Mekong Delta, Soc Trang has two distinguish seasons: wet season from May to November and dry season from December to April of the following year. You should visit Soc Trang in the dry season to avoid unexpected rains.
The highlight in Soc Trang is pagodas. Most of them were built under the influence of Khmer culture. Thus, it is easy to recognize the unique designs of Khmer people with scrupulous attention to detail. The most famous pagoda in Soc Trang is Dơi pagoda or Bat Pagoda. This is where thousands of bats used to stay, hanging their body under the pagoda’s roofs or threes. Unfortunately, in 2010, a fire destroyed most of the furniture. Beside Bat pagoda, Khleang pagoda, which is one of the oldest pagodas in Soc Trang is known for its harmony combination of great buildings and nature. The Clay Pagoda is famous for its clay Buddhist statues and dragon sculptures. There are also 6 giant candles here, which can keep burning for 60 years. One more well-known pagoda is Chén Kiểu pagoda where you will be impressed by the sophisticated design by china.
After spending time visiting pagodas, good foods are always ready for you. Bún Nước Lèo Sóc Trăng (a kind of rice noodle with soup) is famous all over the southern because of its delicious taste and well seasoning. One popular place to eat this food is Cây Nhãn (longan tree) where noodle is served under a longan tree. Another is Banh Cong, a kind of snack which is made from flour, green bean, pork and a small shrimp on the top, eating with fresh herbs and vegetables.
Travellers can easily buy bus ticket from Ho Chi Minh city to Soc Trang from Mai Linh bus corporation.