Tra Vinh, Khmer Culture in the Mekong Delta

Tra Vinh, VietnamCycling around the countryside surrounding Tra Vinh in Southern Vietnam and you’d be forgiven for thinking you had suddenly been transported to Cambodia such is the proliferation of Khmer culture. Dotted around the farmland are Khmer temples, architectural legacies left over from the great Khmer empire that left behind a substantial ethnic Khmer population in the Mekong Delta that is still present today.

The architectural style and detail of the temples is unlike any of the other Buddhist temples in Vietnam, it is highly intricate, very colourful and rich with Khmer imagery. Inside the temples are vibrant with murals and designs.

We cycled a loop along country lanes to visit a couple of temples one afternoon, our friend Bill leading the way. The first temple we visited was Chùa Hang, famed for its wood carving monks. They create the most remarkable wooden objects from carved bullocks to grand, and intricate, scenes of dragons and other wild creatures. Many of the pieces were scattered around the temple grounds or stored in classrooms.

Tra Vinh, Vietnam

Chùa Chòm Ca, another Khmer temple further on is set in beautiful grounds with ornate fountains, pristine lawns and colourful gateways. They were wonderful places to wander around and I’d have loved to have had time to explore a few more but our time in Tra Vinh was short.

Map of Europe with Vietnamese names, Chòm Ca Temple

Map of Europe with Vietnamese names, Chòm Ca Temple

We had taken the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Tra Vinh to meet up with Bill, a friend we had made on our travels in Jordan back in 2008. He has been living and teaching in Tra Vinh for a couple of years and it was marvellous to finally catch back up with him. His friend Huyen joined us on our jaunt around the countryside and joined us later in the evening to take us to a {family friendly!} KTV place for some karaoke fun.

The morning that we left, to return back to HCMC, we rose really early and Bill took us on a morning cycle around Tra Vinh to the market, a bustling throng of vendors and shoppers buying fish, vegetables, dried goods and bedding, a typically Asian assault to the senses.

Tra Vinh, Vietnam

It was great to be off the tourist circuit for a few days, not that many come this way which is a shame as there is some fascinating culture to experience, the countryside is beautiful and the people are friendly and welcoming. It is perfect for exploring bicycle.

Chòm Ca Temple

Chòm Ca Temple

Keep travelling:

The Island of Phu Quoc A tropical island amid turquoise waters in southern Vietnam.

Kampot, Cambodia Blissful retreating, canoeing along the backwaters, heaven!

5 Glorious Reasons To Visit Ninh Binh Fairytale scenery, ancient Vietnamese history and overnighting in the jungle.

Phong Nha Caves: The Best Thing We Did In Vietnam this quiet corner in mid Vietnam is incredible! Huge caves and perfect cycling!

Historic Hoi An For Tet (Vietnamese New Year) Hoi An is even prettier at new year!

Is That A Crocodile? Cat Tien National Park. Jungle adventures in Vietnam with crocs and gibbons aplenty!

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By Rachel Davis

3 Responses

  1. davegct says:

    SO excited for all your bicycle adventuring on this trip, it looks like such fun!! I had no idea there was so much Khmer culture in Vietnam, very interesting! And I love that you met up with someone you met in Jordan in 2008, nice that you stayed friends all this time. The temples look really spectacular and so different from Vietnamese temples. And I love the map of Europe with Vietnamese names, fantastic! Looking forward to your next post, as always.

    • I loved the map, it made me giggle, all the Vietnamese pronounced countries. It was amazing to explore and great to catch up with Bill. It’s certainly great to keep in touch with people from that trip, you guys included!

  1. July 10, 2014

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