Bird watching, salt making in Bac Lieu
VietNamNet Bridge – For an unforgetable experience in watching birds and making salt, head to Bac Lieu Province, located 290km from the center of Ho Chi Minh City, a five-hour car ride away.
Bac Lieu Bird Garden is situated in Hiep Thanh Commune, 6km away out of Bac Lieu Town.
The garden used to be a coastal mangrove forest, but sand and alluvial sediment have overtaken the sea, in parts.
Bac Lieu Bird Garden is home to many bird species and waterfowl, such as lesser whistling ducks, herons, blackbirds, etc. Their gathering season lasts from May to October, when they build nests to which they return the following year.
The lively garden is dotted with what look line white stones but are, in fact, bird eggs. A bird watching tower offers views of the garden and its inhabitants, best experienced at the end of the day when they all come back to rest.
A night spent at the garden is noisy with the appealing sounds of birds foraging for food at night, wind blowing through the leaves, and rain falling.
Bac Lieu Salt Field
In Hoa Binh and Dong Hai communes, people extract salt from seawater. The salt-making season generally lasts from December to April. It is said that the seawater in Bac Lieu is so clean and salty that the salt-making process is easy and quick.
Tangy experience: The sea water in Bac Lieu is clean and salty, which makes it easy for farmers to extract salt. — Photo news.zing.vn
Tourists are encouraged to join in for a tangy experience.
Old longan garden
Bac Lieu is also known for its 100-year-old longan garden. The pride of the locals, the garden spreads over 230 hectares, belonging to both Hiep Thanh and Vinh Trach Dong communes of Bac Lieu Town.
Sweet fruit: The longan garden spreads over 230 hectares and is home to the oldest longan trees in Bac Lieu. — Photo didauchoigi.com
The garden is famous for its aromatic and sweet longan fruit. Tourists come here and sleep under the longan trees to recharge their energy and buy longan fruit as gifts.
Ca nau braised with me
Ca nau (brown fish) has dotted skin which is like the skin of a panther. The fish often eat seaweed so their meat does not smell too fishy. Ca nau can be made made in different ways - fried with salt and chili or grilled. Ca nau braised with me (fermented rice) is especially worth trying. The scented dish is sour-sweet and just lightly fishy. Me makes the fish meat whiter and more tender. If spiced with more chili, the dish tastes even better.
Cai xa bau
Cai xa bau (salted and sweetened radish) is among the best dishes of Bac Lieu. It is often best served with hot rice soup, which has a sweet flavour and distinctive smell.
In the past, cai xa bau was only eaten on the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival. However, nowadays, cai xa bau can be found any time. It is also a frequent side dish for vegans. Cai xa bau is also sold along national roads throughout Bac Lieu Province, making it easily accessible to tourists.
Ba khia (three-striped crab) lives in salty and brackish water. Ba khia can be used to make paste sauce, one of the most delicious paste sauces in the Mekong Delta, which goes particularly well with crispy fried rice.
Best with rice: Ba khia paste sauce is one of the most delicious paste sauces in Bac Lieu province. — Photo news.zing.vn
It takes one about five hours to travel to Bac Lieu. Tourists can take the buses of the Phuong Trang, Hoang Yen, or Kim Yen companies. Tickets cost VND190,000-VND210,000. Getting around the province is best by hiring a motorbike or taking local buses.
Accommodations are found everywhere in Bac Lieu. Prices vary from VND180,000 to VND300,000 a room in the center of Bac Lieu Town. At more upscale hotels, rates are VND500,000- VND1,500,000.