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Visiting Ca Mau Province, experiencing community tourism

Ca Mau is the southernmost land of the country where the nature has offered numberous and various specialities. Having a special geographic location with three sea borders, and a 245km coastline, Ca Mau sea has had a reputation for an abundant source of shrimps and fish nationwide. Ca Mau is a destination with two national parks, namely Ca Mau Cape National Park and U Minh Ha National Park. Ca Mau Cape National Park is recognized by UNESCO as the world’s Biosphere Reserve and  the 2,088th Ramsar site. Ca Mau’s natural advantages such as the interlacing system of rivers and canals, the immense forests of mangrove and Melaleuca coupled with uniquely beautiful island clusters like Hon Khoai, Hon Chuoi, Da Bac have made the province a beautiful landscape picture of forest and sea. These are favorable conditions for Ca Mau to develop eco-tourism, nature tourism, leisure trips…community-based tourism. Among them, community- based tourism has currently favoured by many Vietnamese and foreign visitors.

Community-based tourism is a typical tourism products of the river land Ca Mau. The tourists can discover the place where “the land grows, forest moves and sea spreads”, eat and stay with locals, and live the life of the local communities. From Ca Mau city to Nam Can District and then to Dat Mui, in addition to Ca Mau Cape Tourism and Culture Park, tourists can reach community-based tourism sites located in the trasition zone of Ca Mau Cape National Park. There is a multitude of activities to explore such as: visiting oyster floating cages, catching shrimp, crab, fish, mud clam, scallop, three-stripped crab at night, etc. In addition, visitors can enjoy the fresh cool air when travelling on boats in the middle of immense mangrove forest. When the tide is low, visitors can also get on speed boats to admire the scenery of spacious mudflat covered by immense sea, to catch a glimpse of the sunrise in the dawn and the sunset in the twilight; or cast an eye on the lively atmostphere when birds flock to the mudflat to forage, drawing a majestic picture of the great nature and sea.

Leaving communities in Dat Mui, should you still have time, let’s take a trip to the communities in U Minh Ha National Park. The tourist products here are equally interesting, special and attractive where tourists can take boats to experience activities like eating bee honey, catching fish using net or wooden traps, catching turtle, snake, eel… or adventurously follow craftsmen in collecting honey, truly feeling their hardship to bring drops of shining golden honey to the visitors near and far, throughout the geographical distance to foreign visitors.

Apart from admiring the beautiful scenery of forests and the sea, visitors in Ca Mau should not miss trying the very “Ca Mau” dishes such as: grilled giant mudskipper with salt and chili, braised spotted scat with Cayralia trifolia fruits, grilled oyster with spring oninon and oil, roasted blood cockle with tanmarind, steamed crab with beer, fried obtuse horn shell with coconut milk, boiled shrimp, fermented fish hot pot, baby bee salad, grilled snakehead fish, braised eel with noni leaves, etc and many more tasty foods that make visitors eat once and remember forever with bold but simple and idyllic flavors. Your experience will be more complete if you combine these tasty dishes with a glass of wine made from fermented Cayralia trifolia; or bee pollen wax. All blend into a sense of ecstasy at the tip of your tongue that anyone who has once enjoyed cannot forget.

In the transquil atmostphere, the sounds from the folk songs will make your heart sob once you have the opportunity to enjoy. In addition, the cool air mixed with the feeling of getting close to the nature during staying at the community homestays is also a wonderful and poetic experience.

Community-based tourism hosts in Ca Mau:

– Ba Sú – Dat Mui ecotourism Homestay

Address: Cồn Mũi Hamlet, Đất Mũi Commune, Ngọc Hiển District.

Phone: (+84) 916 124 007 (Mr. Khái) / (+84) 947 327 347

Website: https://dulichhomestaydatmui.com/

Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/Khudulichsinhthaicongdong3su

Email: dulichhomestaydatmui@gmail.com

– Nguyễn Hùng – Dat Mui community based ecotourism site

Address: Cồn Mũi Hamlet, Đất Mũi Commune, Ngọc Hiển District.

Phone: (+84) 914.650.622 – (+84) 947.216.798 – (+84) 981.484.098

Website: http://dulichmuicamau.com/

Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/dulichdatmui/

Email: homestaynguyenhung@gmail.com

– Trần Văn Hướng community-based ecotouism site

Address: Cồn Mũi Hamlet, Đất Mũi Commune, Ngọc Hiển District.

Phone: (+84) 1257. 692 361/ (+84) 169 641 7989

– Quách Văn Ngãi – Dat Mui ecotourism Homestay

Address: Cồn Mũi Hamlet, Đất Mũi Commune, Ngọc Hiển District.

Phone: (+84) 1279.828 249 hoặc (+84) 918.996 956

Website: http://dulichsinhthaidatmui.com/

Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/0971532655/

Email: datmuihomestay@gmail.com.

–Nguyễn Văn Nhuần – Dat Mui Community Tourism

Addess: Cồn Mũi Hamlet, Đất Mũi Commune, Ngọc Hiển District.

Phone: (+84) 919.186.419 – (+84) 946.077.707

Website: http://dulichcongdongnguyenvannhuan.com/

Email: missdung362016@gmail.com

Fanpage: Đặc Sản Cà Mau.

– Hương Đất Mũi Ecotourism restaurant Homestay

Address: Mũi Hamlet, Đất Mũi Commune, Ngọc Hiển District.

Phone: (+84) 2903.52 68 68 / Mr Hon (+84) 913122214/ Mr Đượm (+84) 916 891 302

Email: gianghoanghon@gmail.com/ luhanhcamau@gmail.com.

– Hoàng Hôn – Dat Mui Community ecotourism site (Dat Mui Oyster Keeping Cooperative)

Address: Mũi Hamlet, Đất Mũi Commune, Ngọc Hiển Commune.

Phone: (+84) 918 541 456 – Mr. Hôn

Website: http://dulichmuicamau.vn/

–Rừng Đước Ecotourism site

Address: Mũi Hamlet, Đất Mũi Commune, Ngọc Hiển District.

Phone: (+84) 944 522 766 – Mr. Hòa

– Tư Tỵ – Rach goc Tourist Rest stop

Address: Rạch Gốc  Town, Ngọc Hiển District.

Phone: (+84) 2906 595 959/ (+84) 868 952 979

– Mười Ngọt Community Ecotourism Site

Phone: (+84) 942 655 056 – Mr Khanh

Address: Hamlet 4, Khánh Bình Tây Bắc Commune, Trần Văn Thời District.

Photo and article: Kiều Trang

Promoting tourism in Ca Mau through competitions

In recent years, in order to meet the growth of tourism industry as well as to improve the efficiency of promotion activities, Ca Mau has organized many competitions to create the banks of content, images and in other forms to serve promotion and information tasks for Ca Mau tourism.

In addition to encouraging the creation of high quality products, the competitions have significantly contributed to promotion activities, attracting the attention from numerous people inside and outside the province, thereby enhancing citizens’ pride and understandings of the beauty and brand of Ca Mau tourism.

One competition that attracted a great deal of public’s attention nationwide was Ca Mau Tourism Logo and Slogan Design Contest held in 2016, in response to the series of activities celebrating 20th anniversary of re-establishment of Ca Mau province (01/01/1997- 01/01/2017). The contest aimed to build and perfect the brand identity system for Ca Mau tourism, supporting the tourism information and promotion activities. The competition with the media plan attracted a great deal of attention from the public to learn and understand about Ca Mau tourism. The contest has found an impressive logo to position and identify Ca Mau tourism brand, contributing to build and develop the brand of Ca Mau tourism.

logo du lich ca mau

Explaining the idea of Logo Ca Mau tourism (by the author)

The winning logo was inspired from the natural feature “growing land, moving forest” of the province being conveyed via graphic language. The letter C simulates the acute angle in the shape of Dat Mui on map, represented by three consecutive colors aiming to express the characteristic of sea encroachment through the accretion and accumulation of fertile alluvium. It is this feature that brings the feeling of “growing land” as unique anthropomorphism. The letter M is stylized with three sequentially shaped pieces which assemble the endless green forests stretching out from the ground; where the soil blooms, then the trees root right there. “First Avicenna, then mangrove, next cajuput”, the three plant species which are compared to the three People contributing in the reclamation of Ca Mau land. The logo of Ca Mau Tourism is used as an important component in the brand identity, presents frequently and constantly in tourist information publications and the exhibition of Ca Mau Tourism.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of the province 01/01/1997 – 01/01/2017, before Dinh Dau spring 2017, on December 31st, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism held the Culinary contest “Ca Mau Delicacies” 2016. The contest was an opportunity for professional and amateur chefs to interact, compete as well as exchange, learn and improve their skills. The event attracted the attention and participation of 17 competing teams including 34 contestants representing bodies, organizations and individuals doing business in the field of tourist food and beverage in the province.

hoi thi am thuc ca mauThe judges are evaluating the entries.

The contest aimed to motivate and encourage organizations, individuals and enterprises operating in the field of tourism services to improve artistic merit for the delicacies of the province.

In 2017, Ca Mau Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism collaborated with the Literature and Arts Association to organize the competition and exhibition “Ca Mau Tourism Photo Contest 2017″. The contest aimed to establish and enriched the bank of photos serving the promotion and advertising of Ca Mau tourism. Through the competition activities and exhibition, the event encouraged and honored the authors of novel unique works reflecting beautiful sceneries of Ca Mau land and people, aiming to introduce, propagate and advertise the culture, people, the landscapes, tourist attractions as well as to promote the image of Ca Mau to tourists worldwide.

The competition received 411 entries from 22 authors inside and outside the province. There were many works of with high quality of art, meeting the contest’s criteria including creativity, originality, and precise reflection of the natural beauty of culture, life and people in the southernmost area of Vietnam through the lens of travel.

anh dep du lich ca mauGrand opening of The 3rd Ca Mau tourism photo exhibition 2017

Organizing Committee selected the top 3 works to give awards and 51 works to exhibit at President Ho Chi Minh Memorial from 31/8 – 6/9/2017 in response to the 72nd anniversary of the National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (2/9/1945- 2/9/2017). The competition and photo exhibition  attracted much interest and impressed delegates, tourists and citizens inside and outside the province.

The photos selected from the contest are being used effectively in the tasks of introduction, advertisement and promotion of Ca Mau tourism in relevant events, contributing significantly to characterize the provincial attractions.

gian hang du lich ca mauCa Mau Tourism boot in HCMC Tourism Day April 2018

In the coming year 2018, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in collaboration with the Association of Literature and Arts, the Association of journalists – Ca Mau Province, the Department of Industry and Trade, relevant agencies and units will organize some other contests. “Song competition about Ca Mau” in 2018 will search for new songs about the history, nature, land, tourism destinations, socio-economic achievements and cultural identities, which can be used in promotion programs, events, publications of Ca Mau tourism. The contest aims to create spillover effects, motivating the learning and the love toward Ca Mau tourism; creating an exciting platform for professional and amateur authors to engage and compose songs about Ca Mau; promote the creativity, honor the authors, works with high prizes at the contest.

The writing contest “Ca Mau in my heart” in 2018 aims to evoke the pride toward the beauty of the land and people in Ca Mau for Camauese in general and especially educate the love toward homeland for the young generation in particular. The competition also encourages and honors the outstanding entries which can reflect unique cultural identity of Ca Mau people and land. The contest will contribute to attract and engage citizens into the communication of Ca Mau tourism, thus promoting the love of each individual to their homeland and Ca Mau destination.

The Contest Ca Mau tourism Souvenir and gifts 2018 will search for current tourist souvenir gifts and newly unique and attractive products which can express the characteristics of Ca Mau to meet the shopping demand of domestic and foreign tourists, significantly serving the foreign affairs and cultural exchange activities of departments, branches and organizations. Particularly, the entries from the contest can contribute significantly to introduce the brand of Ca Mau as a safe and friendly and attractive destination. The competition aims to arouse the pride toward Ca Mau – the southernmost tip of the country, preserve and promote the cultural traditions of Ca Mau to the tourists domestically and overseas.

Having attractive prizes spiritually and practically, together with professional organizing and communication activities, Ca Mau tourism contests are expected to generate a great deal of the public‘s attention and widely participated by people in Ca Mau and the whole country. The competitions surely create high quality works that importantly support propaganda and promotion of the province’s tourism. What’s more, these events also possibly create spillover effects, bring anyone living in Ca Mau, and those who have come or will come to Ca Mau many opportunities to learn and improve their understandings of the nature, culture and people of the southernmost tip of the country, and thereby nurture their love and pride towards Ca Mau./.

In the report summarizing the 2017 and plan orientation for 2018, Ca Mau tourism sector determines that promotion and advertising are of the core solutions to thrive. To achieve this, Ca Mau tourism needs to focus on effective implementation of the Tourism Promotion Program by renovating and diversifying the implementation’s form and manner to create effectively breakthrough activities. Promoting tourism through competitions is one of new trends, which is expected to contribute effectively to educate local citizens for better understandings of the beauty of Ca Mau tourism, towards the target: each local is a tourist guide.

Written by Thy Dieu, Photo by: Dai Ngoan

Understand the know-how of developing community-based tourism in Trat Province, Thailand

Situated closely to the Cambodian border, Trat is the easternmost province of Thailand, more than 300 km far from Bangkok city. This place has a unique landscape with over 50 islands and long beaches with beautiful coral reefs; mixed with mangrove forests, orchards…What’s more, Trat inhabitants have created community-based tourism products by cleverly combining the picturesque landscapes and unique local cultural features. When visitors arrive, they discover and experience the way in which local communities organize, manage and operate the tourist products here. It is a rewarding experience because everything goes in a well-managed order, but it comes very naturally as if there were no forced preparations involved. Visitors will have a chance to expose into the inhabitants’ life, like guests being warmly and hospitably welcomed by the hosts.

Having an opportunity to understand about the model of community-based tourism (CBT) at the Community College located in Trat province, we understand that every single experience of visitors is the result of a meticulous process of instructing, building and empowering between local authorities, experts and the communities; of the share, coordination and cooperation backed by the mutual understandings between individuals in the community who have the same belief, respect and support for each other. They are community-based tourism villages in Trat Province.

du lich ca mau tai Thai LanThe introductory session about the model of community based tourism at Community College in Trat Province

The experts share that the process of building a community-based tourism product consists of 10 steps: Identify potentials of the destinations; Study the feasibility of collaborating with local communities to develop tourism; Determine the vision and goals to choose the best developmental methods; Plan to prepare the community for the management over tourism; Establish the guidance to instruct the community in organizing and operating tours; Design tour itineraries; Train  local tourist guides; Train the skills of promoting and advertising tourist products; Pilot; Monitor and evaluate to accumulate the experiences for the next plan.

The community tourist attractions in Trat province are established quite naturally based on the long-standing habits local residents. It can be the Baan Huai Raeng Community in Muang district where the inhabitants live along the Huai Raeng, one of the world’s most fertile canals, with three ecosystems: fresh, brackish and saltwater. It can also be a fishing village along the coast on the southern edge of Salak Khok Bay, on the beautiful Koh Chang Island. And if you want to experience the unique religious culture, the peaceful coexistence of Buddhism and Islam, then you should go to the Baan Nam Chieo community, in Lam Ngob district, which also has unique natural landscapes of fertile mangrove forests.

du lich ca mau tai Thai Lan 2Visiting mangrove forest in Trat Province

According to the experts from Thailand Community Based Tourism Network Coordination Center, in order for tourists to have the most authentic experiences as well as to guarantee the livelihoods of the communities, the daily production are maintained normally together with tourism activities in a vibrant and parallel manner. Even, tourism modestly accounts for a small proportion of the economic revenue here. The communities want to welcome and host a reasonable number of guests to ensure the best experience for the guests without interfering economic activities, as well as eliminating any possible hazards to traditional cultural and religious values of the communities. This is necessary to ensure that the income of the communities does not depend on tourism, given the fact that tourism is very sensitive under the impact of social environments such as the economic crisis, epidemics… which may occur and affect the number of visitors to the place.

du lich ca mau tai Thai Lan 3Mr. Tran Hieu Hung, Director of Ca Mau Province Department of Culture, Sports and tourism, the crew’s leader was giving a photo of Ca Mau to Trat Province

Noticeably, community-based tourist attractions in Trat province belong to the CBT system of Thailand with many subdivisions such as North, South, Central and Northeast. Thailand Community Based Tourism Network Coordination Center (CBT-N-CC) is the governing body of CBT sites, promoting and acting as the focal point for business cooperation with travel agencies. To become a partner, tour operators contact and provide necessary information about their needs before CBT-N-CC recommends the most appropriate community products based on their requirements. The parties agree to go through cooperative terms on the roles and responsibilities of each party, ensuring that the process of exploiting the tours satisfies sustainable development conditions for the sake of companies and still maintains the values ​​of the local community.

 

du lich ca mau tai Thai Lan 4Signing the memorandum of understanding between Trat Province Department of Tourism and Sports and Ca Mau Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism

It is definitely community-based tourism, the kind of tourism that ensures the sustainability for the environment, society and culture. It is managed and possessed by communities, for communities, for the purpose of allowing visitors to enhance their awareness and understandings about the local community and their way of life. Community-based tourism in Trat contributes significantly to the sustainable development of social, political and cultural conditions; ecological environment; and the economy of local people of the province in particular and the whole Thailand in general./.

From 06/3/2018 to 13/3/2018, Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee organized an exploration crew to survey, exchange and learn the experiences of community-based tourism development in Trat province – Thailand, led by Mr. Tran Hieu Hung, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Trat province has similar conditions for tourism development to Ca Mau province. However, the province has successfully developed community-based tourism thanks to the effective and conscientious organization through management boards of each community in assigning specific tasks (transportation, service guidance, product development, etc.) and appropriate sharing benefits to the community. Every year, Trat receives over 1.7 million tourists, mainly international visitors.

Article: Thy Dieu. Photo: Khanh Vy

Ca Mau province organized an exploration crew to visit, study and exchange experiences in developing community tourism in Trat Province, Thailand

For the purpose of strengthening the traditional cooperative relations between the two countries Vietnam and Thailand in general, the two provinces Ca Mau and Trat in particular, as well as to enable tourist organizations, enterprises and individuals to exchange and study the experiences in developing community tourism model; to connect the promotion and cooperation based on each province’s potentials; from 06/3/2018 to 13/3/2018, Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee organized an exploration crew to visit and learn the experiences in developing community tourism in Trat province- Thailand. The group was led by Mr Tran Hieu Hung, Director of Ca Mau province Culture, Sports and Tourism Department, with the participation of the leaders from the Province Department of External Relations, People’s Committees of Nam Can District, Ngoc Hien District, Tran Van Thoi District, Office of Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee, Ca Mau Cape National Park, U Minh Ha National Park, Ca Mau Province Tourism Information and Promotion Center, Dat Mui Tourist Area Management Board, together with many tourist service companies, tour operators, accommodation and community-based tourism households in the province.

thai lan ca mau

The trip was an opportunity for the community-based tourism households in Ca Mau to practically experience the community tourism products of Trat Province, a neighbor sharing many similar natural features to Ca Mau. Through the meetings, exchanges and practically experiencing the tourist products, the households gained many valuable ideas, the approach of organizing and operating community-based tourist products; from which they can apply into their real context in order to design and diversify Ca Mau province’s tourist products and services.

This was also a chance for travel companies, accommodation companies in Ca Mau province to meet, exchange and seek opportunities for long-term strategic cooperation with business partners from Trat, thereby enabling the link in tour products and itineraries, developing high quality products to better satisfy tourists’ demands.

Ca Mau Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism played the role of a specialist agency consulting and assisting the Provincial People’s Committee in performing the function of state management over tourism, actively facilitating and supporting the individuals and businesses in the sector in seeking opportunities to improve the quality of tourist products to meet tourists’ tastes. Through the trip, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism well performed the task of bridging the two localities in the field of trade and tourism; strengthening tourism promotion activities among enterprises in the two provinces; Facilitating the travel agencies to survey and develop tours and itineraries attracting tourists, towards the construction of international tourist routes Ca Mau – Vietnam and Thailand.

Trat Province has the area of 2,862 km2, bordering Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand, is the farthest province in the east of the country, 315 km southeast from Bangkok. This is a small border province adjoining to Cambodia with the Khao Banthat Mountain, creating a beautiful natural landscape between the two countries. The province’s most popular tourist attraction is Chang Island National Marine Reserve. This is a peninsula of 50 small islands named after Thailand’s second largest island, Koh Chang, which is considered one of the most beautiful islands of Thailand. Trat province is on the route from Thailand to Ca Mau and vice versa along R10 (Trans-Asia route through Ca Mau, Kien Giang provinces of Vietnam, 4 provinces of Cambodia and Trat province of Thailand).

 Written by Thy Dieu

Ca Mau tourism summarizes the year 2017 and deploy 2018 plan

On 25/1/2018, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Ca Mau province held a conference to deploy the plan for 2018.

Ca Mau tourism summarizes the year 2017 pic1

Panorama Conference

The year 2017 is the second year implementing the resolution of the 15th Party Congress of Ca Mau province and the plan of socio-economic development of Ca Mau in 05 years for 2015-2020 period. The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism focused on achieving and exceeding the targets and tasks  which were established in the plan and program of action.

Ca Mau tourism summarizes the year 2017 pic2

Mr Tran Hieu Hung, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism gave speech at the conference

Along with the cultural, sports and family sectors, the tourism sector has achieved many important indicators. Ca Mau Tourism continues to promote the association with other provinces, enabling travel agencies outside the province to research and bring tourists to Ca Mau; Some local businesses enhances the promotion to gain more tourists. Simultaneously, many plans, promotion programs are executed in order to attract more visitors to Ca Mau.

The province has continued reviewing and supplementing the Master plan on tourism development to 2020, orientation towards 2030. Tourism products and services have increasingly improved in quality, diversification and professional. The removal of difficulties and obstacles in investment of tourism infrastructure has achieved fine results, the promotion of tourism has gained positive movement that has contributed to the tourist attractions.

Implementing the 2017 tourism promotion program of Ca Mau province with good outcomes such as enhancing the promotion, broadcasting and introducing tourism products through various forms of the media, exhibitions and fairs. Moreover, adopting experiences in developing tourism in some developed provinces. Assistance the household businesses  about community tourism to standardize the service quality and facilitate the coordination with tour companies to better serve tourists.

In this year, Ca Mau province has welcomed and served 1,240,000 visitors, gaining 105.08% of the plan and increasing 11.3% compared to 2016 (of which has 1,215,000 domestic visitors), the total revenue of the industry is VND 670 billion, increasing by 35.86% compared to that of 2016.

Ca Mau tourism summarizes the year 2017 pic3

Collectives and individuals receive awards from the Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee for the outstanding achievement from 2016 to 2017.

In 2018, Ca Mau tourism strives to receive 1.440.000 visitors including 1,413,400 domestic visitors and reaching a revenue of VND 920 billion. To achieve this target, the tourism sector must focus on several significant tasks, including:

Continuing to focus on implementing the guidelines, resolutions, programs and plans of the provincial Party Committee and the provincial People’s Committee on tourism development. In addition, advising on the issuance of policies aims to attract investment in tourism development; Training and fostering human resources for management and service tends to serve the tourist business activities.

Concentrating on building and developing specific tourist products of the province, in which place an emphasis on the development of eco-tourism, community-based tourism, craft villages tourism, … to create the competitiveness, attraction and attract more tourists.

Implementing effectively the Tourism Promotion Program 2018 through various forms, innovation and efficiency; Enhancing the cooperation and external relations to exploit potentials and advantages for sustainable development of tourism; continuing to cooperation with the other provinces about connecting tours to develop new tourism products in order to satisfy tourist’s needs.

In 2018, Ca Mau tourism identified both opportunities and challenges in developing tourism, which becomes a major economic sector of the country. That requires the struggle of the entire sector as well as the coordination with the other industries and levels to improve Ca Mau tourism, to affirm our role in the region and the country.

Photo by: Khanh Vy. Written by Thy Dieu

Tan Hung Communal house– A special cultural value of Ca Mau Tourism

From ancient time until now, to Ca Mau people, communal houses are one of special cultural values to send their dreams and aspirations to a peaceful, prosperous and happy life. Being one of the cultural tourist destinations in Ca Mau, Tan Hung communal house is preserving and will preserve the above-mentioned values.

dinh tan hung pic1

The gate showing the majesty and magnitude of the communal house

Located in Xom Lon hamlet, Ly Van Lam commune, Ca Mau city, Tan Hung communal house is an ancient communal house worshipping for Than Hoang Bon Canh (the god of the village). It was built in 1907 and honorably conferred by King Tu Duc in 1952. With its position facing the river, romantic scenery with shady green trees, the house becomes prominent, imposing between nature, sky and water. Reaching the gate, visitors can admire the ancient architectural style: one compartment, two lean-tos, Yin-Yang tile roof with the image of a dragon couple. In front of the communal house is a hanging painting of bricks with in tiger shape; two brick pillars with a lotus flower on top of each. Along the sides are two shrines worshipping for the god of Agriculture and Soil. These features all vividly express the majesty and magnitude of the contribution of the predecessors for the rich and beautiful homeland as today.

dinh tan hung

Inside the sanctum of Tan Hung Communal House

The sanctum worships for Than Hoang Bon Canh, the god guarding and taking care of the peace and security of the village. In addition, there are shelves to display swords, drums, images of dragons, cranes, so visitors can easily relate to picture of our ancestors reclaiming land in history.

Being prominent in the center of the sanctum, the photo of Uncle Ho is put in the most solemn position to remind the fact that Tan Hung communal house used to be an important address of Vietnam South troops and citizens during the war against French.  Tan Hung Communal House is where the Steering Committee of Tan Hung Front (The Front resistance French at that time) consolidated their force, and the Indochinese Communist Party’s flag was first hung in Ca Mau city (in 1930). Every year, Tan Hung Communal house is a popular destination for the youth to  learn about Vietnamese history, culture, traditions of protecting the country that our ancestors passed down. In 1992, Tan Hung Communal house was recognized as a national historical relic by the Ministry of Culture and Information.

dinh tan hung pic2

The root of an old tree in Tan Hung Communal house

For visitors coming to Ca Mau, Tan Hung Communal house is an ideal destination with a spacious ground, many beautiful sceneries such as the majestic memorial house, lotus ponds with fragrant aroma; orchard of fruit trees; fresh vegetable beds, some old shady trees, … Then they can visit, stroll, burn incense, pray, … to spread their hearts with the nature.

Photo and article by: Dương Kim Chuyển

The number of visitors to Ca Mau on Lunar New Year Holiday 2018 significantly increased

According to the statistics of Ca Mau Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, on the Lunar New Year Holiday 2018, Ca Mau welcomed over 160 thousands visitors, increased by 50% as compared to the same period in 2017. Total revenue in this Holiday is VND million 177,342, suddenly increased in comparison with the number of VND million 4,135 in the Lunar New Year Holiday 2017.

The most visited destination was Hon Da Bac Tourist Area with 94,300 visitors, followed by Ly Thanh Long with 41,000 visitors and Dat Mui with 10,800 visitors. The relics, Song Trem forestry, U Minh Ha National Park and other community tourist destinations also welcomed numerous  guests.

Thanks to good preparation, the arrangement and service of local destinations were done well during the period in spite of crowded visitors. Before Tet, travel agencies had launched many attractive tours, coupled with promotion campains providing many choices for visitors.

In addition, the preparation of activities and services in the tourist areas during the Lunar New Year were strengthened. Many destinations provided new exciting and lively activities to serve guests. The ticket selling teams, tour guides, guards were trained; security was guaranteed. Well implementing environmental sanitation, food hygiene and safety, preventing fire and explosion and social evils; strengthening the security, announcing the hotline, ensuring absolutely safety for visitors. Price was well listed and service / good were sold at the correct price list.

The number of visitors to Ca Mau on Lunar New Year Holiday 2018 significantly increased

Ca Mau Cape Culture and Tourism Park: Selected destination of many visitors.

It can be seen from the past years, Ca Mau tourism products has been more diverse. Beside traditional tours such as Ca Mau – Ly Thanh Long – Dat Mui tourist area; Ca Mau – U Minh Ha – Hon Da Bac, community tourist areas such as Muoi Ngot, Dat Mui,…there are new tourist sites such as Vuon Co Tu Su (Thoi Binh district), Tan Thanh community tourist commune (Ca Mau City). In addition, Ho Chi Minh Memorial Hall, historic and architecture sites are also the choice of many visitors.

The significant growth of visitors on Lunar New Year Holiday is an encouraging signal in 2018, promising a successful year for Ca Mau tourism./.

Written by Thy Dieu – Photo: Khanh Vy

Ca Mau dried snakeskin gourami – a bold flavor for Tet

“Tết, tết tết đến rồi” (Tet holiday is coming) – When the melodies of spring are sounded in Dat Mui, Ca Mau people are busy starting the preparation for the food in Tet. To the heart of Camauese, the cuisines in Tet are made of by not only fatty meat, pickled vegetables, Tét cake (sticky rice cake), … but also the taste of dried shrimp and fish such as dried mudskipper fish, dried bombay duck fish, dried snakeskin gourami, etc, which constitutes indispensable part in each Vietnamese family.

Ca Mau dried snakeskin gourami

Dried snakeskin gourami – a speciality in Ca Mau

The special geographic location has given Ca Mau with U Minh Ha forest where many large freshwater fields and dense forests gave birth to algae, creating a favorable environment for the snakeskin gourami fish to grow and develop. Because of the abundant volume, snakeskin gourami fish are very common to the life of people in this area. The fish can be cooked by many ways such as braising, cooking sour soup, deep frying, .. and especially they can be dried to preserve longer. U Minh Ha dried snakeskin gourami has become one of the most prominent trademarks in Ca Mau, being certified as a collective trademark by the National Office of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Science and Technology in 2011.

The scientific name of dried snakeskin is trichogaster pectoralis, a fish of freshwater family, is normally called wild fish in Mekong Delta. Featured by the large back with lots of meat, snakeskin are more suitable for making dried fish than deep drying or braising. The process of making dried fish is quite simple but requires the carefulness in timing for turning the fish so that they evenly absorb the sunlight. When the fish is fresh, remove scales and intestines and then wash. The fish are then soaked in salt water for about 2 hours with a rate of about 3kg salt/ 10 kg. The soaking time may be more or less depending on the preferred taste of the consumers. The fish are rinsed one more time before drying under the sun. When the sunlight is good, the drying step can be completed within 2 times, producing the best taste. The sunlight in the last days of the year is the most suitable time for drying fish. Another secret is to align the fish into straight lines and put heavy things on top to make the meat sturdy and stiff and not bruised.

According to Mrs. Muoi (Muoi Ngot Tourist Site, Khanh Binh Tay Bac Commune, Tran Van Thoi District), “in the dry season when the water is drained, it is easy to catch snakeskin gourami, commonly by “chụp đìa” (A method of using net to catch fish in ponds). The fish feed naturally so their meat is very delicious”. Therefore, dried snakeskin gourami in Ca Mau has fragant aroma mixed with a slightly salt taste. The fish is not very tough but not friable; with a fatty layer in the belly combining with the red meat producing a very mouthwatering dish. The dried fish can be cooked into different dishes such as grilling served with rice, frying with tamarind fish sauce served with pickled scallion; making salad with green mango. These foods can be ideally combined with some glasses of wine or beer.

Dried snakeskin gourami is food with delicious taste, being easy to prepare and to preserve at a reasonable price. The food has been favored by many tourists and the choice of many households in Vietnamese traditional Tet holiday.

Photo and article by: Dương Kim Chuyển

Sedge mat weaving – traditional livelihood Ca Mau

Ca Mau is the southernmost land of Vietnam where visitors can not only experience the purely spectacular nature of the green cape with many unique homestays and countless tasty cuisines; but also have a chance to explore the traditional trade villages such as shrimp farming, bee honey collecting, mangrove chopstick making and handmade mat weaving.

 “Chiếu Cà Mau nhuộm màu tươi thắm

Công anh cực lắm mưa nắng dãi dầu

Chiếu này anh chẳng bán đâu

Tìm em không gặp anh gối đầu mỗi đêm”

That is the lyrics from the song “Tình anh bán chiếu” (The love of a mat seller) composed by Mr. Vien Chau, sweetly performed by the artist Mr. Ut Tra On. This song has been deeply loved by Vietnam Southerners by characterizing Ca Mau handmade mats as a reputable product nationwide. In Ca Mau province, mat weaving is passed through generations from the ancestors to the youth continuously working together to develop and expand the brand of this unique trade village until now.

The job mat weaving is said to require many working qualities such as suppleness, conscientiousness and compatible cooperation between the weavers together spontaneously. The job has been long established and managed to survive in some places like Tan Thanh (Ca Mau city), Tan Duyet (Dam Doi district), Tan Loc (Thoi Binh), etc and has been widely purchased.

Unlike in other places where modern machine has replaced human in the majority of the production process, the mat making in Ca Mau has remained traditional manual features. In order to create a beautiful mat, the workers have to work hard through different steps such as chopping, sliding, drying and dying “lát” (sedge); then “chấp trân” matching the threads to the frame and weaving.

In scientific terms, Sedge is called cyperaceae, belonging to a family of monocotyledonous graminoid flowering plants, mainly lives along rivers where there are tides, deposited by alluvia. Thus, the plant is well suited to the soil in Ca Mau. When sedge plants are 0.6m to 1.8m high, they are ready to be cut and sliced into long thin strings. The central part of the stems is removed to make the strings fine and strong enough. The strings are then dried, which normally takes about 3-4 days under good sunshine conditions. The next step is to evenly dye the strings colored before re-drying the color so that the color is maintained for longer time.

Sedge mat weaving 1

Sedge plants for weaving mats in Ca Mau

Chấp trân (assembling) is also a meticulous process, with the use of hessian threads being torn and combined into durable strings. These strings are hung into the looms to produce stable frame for the mats.

After stabilizing the hessian strings into the frame, the weaving process is started. There are two skillful weavers involving in this stage, namely “thợ dập” and “thợ lẫy”.  Thợ lẫy is who based on the available samples, intricately puts the colored sedge strings together to create different patterns of flowers, letters, images. The skills of thợ lẫy in this step significantly decide the beauty of the finished mats. The same important role is of thợ dập, who pushes the frames down to stabilize the sedge strings frequently, after every time thợ lẫy finishes his job. Thợ dập has to be strong and clever enough to compatibly co-work with thợ lẫy and this cooperation is the most vital stage in weaving mats.

To create a perfect finish, the mats are smoothed by trimming the excess hessian and sedge strings before delivering to the buyers. Presently in the majority of the fun parties are flourish sedge mats spread over creating the venue for the family members to gather, drink tea and enjoy cakes. And this is typically a tradition of Vietnamese in the Mekong Delta region.

Sedge mat weaving 2

Many Ca Mau people still love sedge mats

In our modern society where people tend to be tempted by expensive smooth mattresses, Ca Mau sedge mats remain their importance. Sedge mat weaving job manages to grow, gain more reputation and build a unique trade village to draw tourists’ attention for understanding the culture and tradition of the land and people in Ca Mau province.

Having the opportunity to experience the sedge mat villages in Ca Mau, seeing the vast, green sedge fields, watching the colored sedge strings shining in the sunlight, observing the beautiful picture of weavers working hard in front of the frame and purchasing some pairs of mats for friends and relatives, tourists can fully enjoy one of the most interesting moments in Ca Mau sedge mat trade villages.

Photo and article by: Dương Kim Chuyển

Bottom gillnetting – a traditional job in the cape of Ca Mau

Ca Mau is a province with a system of rivers and canals crossed with a total length of more than 7,000 km, made up for 1/3 of total length of the Mekong River Delta and it is also a large fishery area of approximately 71,000 km2. The vast Ca Mau River system is divided into two large groups of estuaries, one flowing to the West Sea (Cua Lon, Ong Doc and Dong Cung rivers) and one flowing to the East Sea (Bo De, Tam Giang flowing to Ho Rui gate, etc.), that formed large river mouths and hundreds of different river and canal systems.

Each time visiting Ca Mau, if travelers have chance to drift on boat on the rivers and estuaries, they will learn and experience the life of people associated with the river all the time of year. Here, owning to the vast waterways, there are many different fishing trades created as fishing, netting, gillnetting, trawling, clawing, bottom gillnetting ,etc. particularly bottom gillnetting.

Nghề đóng đáy – Nhịp sống mưu sinh nơi vùng đất cuối trời Nam anh 1Daily life rhythm of fishers on the bottom gillnetting

Ca Mau’s bottom gillnetting is divided into three types as “day hang cam” (narrow bottom gillnetting) (also known as “narrow gillnetting”), “day hang be” (raft bottom gillnetting) and “day hang khoi” (offshore bottom gillnetting). The narrow bottom gillnetting is located in places where the water depth is from 15 – 16m, the piles are set from 17 – 18 m into the riverbed, fixed a place to arrange the queue distance from 2 to 10 mouths of gillnetting across the river to drop the nets and pull the flow of fish and scrimp swiftly flowing in the water into the mouths of bottom gillnetting.

The raft bottom gillnetting is more particular, usually located in deep river bed with swiftly flowing water, the brackets of raft bottom gillnetting are linked by floating boats on the river surface. Normally, there are 2 or 3 bottom gillnetting owners cooperated in raft gillnetting and supported each other in the business and difficulties in daily life as well. Mr. Cang, who works in raft bottom gillnetting in Tam Giang Tay said, “Sometimes we do not have to dive the raft bottom gillnetting at the bottom of a riverbed where it cannot dive the gillnetting piles. Raft gillnetting piles can dive anywhere, as long as the location with more fish and shrimps swiftly flowing, and specifically less cost”. The favorable characteristics of raft bottom gillnetting is reasonable cost and flexible removal, thus, the owner of bottom gillnetting can move from one place to another place if the fish flows in the existing gillnetting piles become less.

Nghề đóng đáy – Nhịp sống mưu sinh nơi vùng đất cuối trời Nam anh 2Hut friends on the offshore bottom gillnetting

While the narrow gillnetting and raft bottom gillnetting are located on the riverbed, the offshore gillnetting is different because it is located in the offshore, approximately 8 – 20km away from the mainland. People spread the mouths of gillnetting in the sea ditch of 25m deep. The wide mouth of gillnetting is made of long net, fixed tail, mound between the two bottom gillnetting piles that were plugged deep into the profound. Offshore gillnetting can be understood as a relatively hard-working profession; fishers have to live at the strong wave front and wind. To make a long row of high offshore gillnetting in the middle of the ocean, it is a struggle of confronting the Nature to take advantage of the wind, water and stream to dive huge piles into the ocean.

The profession of offshore gillnetting requires a lot of workforce involved, for example, the person who pays the construction of bottom gillnetting, called as the owner of bottom gillnetting; the person who transports of fish and shrimp, supplies food and water from the boats to the bottom gillnetting location, called as “boat friends”; the person who guards and waits in the hut until the convenient flow, to drop the nets and pull the bottom gillnetting, called as “hut friends”. Due to the characteristics of the profession, “hut friends” must be well-experienced in the sea, can swim well and brave to cope with the big waves and especially they must live far from home. They settled on the small huts hanging above the bottom gillnetting piles. Each hut is approximately 4 – 10m2 shared the space with 2- 3 “hut friends” together work on the gillnetting piles, harvest, manage and protect the offshore bottom gillnetting piles. The ropes are tangled between the bottom piles and are the only means for the “hut friends” to move back and forth and to drop the nets. Movements as walking on a rope, swinging, dropping the nets, pulling swiftly prove the ingenuity and proficiency of their work that could compare with a circus performer on the sea. The profession of the “hut friends” is not only that simply, they also have to stay up late, get up early, watch the flow, wash the bottom gillnetting and then dry it up. In their idle time, they also try to find some dried fish such as pineapple fish, catfish, small fish, etc. to make more income for the family or when they let the soul in the water, they can hum a few sentences freely, to ease the nostalgia of wife and children who are waiting in the main land.

There are usually two flows each month to allow fishermen to drop the nets. Fish and shrimp swiftly flowing in the water into the mouths of bottom gillnetting. In the season of the flow running to the bottom gillnetting, boat owners are allowed to access and to collect aquatic products, food supply, tobacco, drinking water, etc. for the “hut friends”. At such times, when the boats return to the mainland, they will carry the aquatic resources of their “hut friends” and share to their loved ones at home. The joy in the face of women when they enthusiastically classify fish, crabs, shrimp and squid to choose which one to sell the market, which one to make fish sauce in respectful manner because such products is the result of dropped sweat of their husbands and sons in families.

Today, Ca Mau has thousands of bottom gillnetting mouths at the seaports as Cai Doi Vam (Phu Tan district) and Rach Tau (Ngoc Hien district). Follow the “ship friends” to the location of bottom gillnetting, traveler not only watch the vast of offshore but also feel the wonderful difference of the day and night of bottom gillnetting among big waves and winds. Traveler should experience the “bird nest” hut, riskily swing body through the ropes connecting the bottom gillnetting and join hands with friends in hut and friends in boat, to pull the heavy fishing net.

Though the river of peace, the sea of huge waves and storms, the water always contained the flow of life, the narrow gillnetting, raft gillnetting and offshore bottom gillnetting still catch flows of fish and scrimps which is bestowed by the Nature for the sea of the Southernmost of nation. Therefore, the spirit of ocean attachment, the love with waves is a restless love of the people of Ca Mau.

Photo and article: Duong Kim Chuyen