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The flower village you should visit in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

December 23, 2019 | 13:43

To plant flowers as a career has been passed through at least three generations in Tan Quy Dong

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The colors of the flowers in the day and the croak of frogs at night are what I still remember after my two-day trip to Tan Quy Dong Ward of Sa Dec City in Dong Thap Province this December. How can flowers and frogs be connected to each other? It all makes sense when you visit Sa Dec, considered the flower capital of the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam.

To plant flowers as a career has been passed through at least three generations in Tan Quy Dong. Even today, no one is sure who was the first to start this business here. According to senior villagers, at the time of their grandparents, the tradition had already been well established. Thus, it is estimated that the business of growing flowers in the ward has been around for more than 100 years.

the flower village you should visit in vietnams mekong delta
The welcome gate to Sa Dec flower village in Sa Dec City, Dong Thap Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Hong Van

If you take a walk along the Mekong River snaking through Tan Quy Dong, you will see lines of plant and flower pots placed along both sides of the walkway.

“Depending on complexity, the technical requirements and level of investment for each type of plant or flower, villagers will choose a certain kind to cultivate,” Tran Thanh Hung, a third-generation local who grows Peace lilies, or Spathiphyllum Wallisii, told Tuoi Tre News.

In the region, land is actually quite limited, as it is almost everywhere in Vietnam. However, local people have the solution. They built decks over the channels for the plants and flowers, which is a perfect example of their hard work and brilliance.

the flower village you should visit in vietnams mekong delta
Flowers for sale at the Tan Quy Dong flower neighborhood in Sa Dec City, Dong Thap Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Hong Van

To make it easier to water their gardens, the locals have created a complex, intensive channel system and here is where it involves the frogs. Frogs need water. Thus, they hide themselves in the many channels around the village. At night, underneath the deck full of flower pots, they start their songs. Personally, I think it is much nicer than the man who sings karaoke next door.

For those coming from Ho Chi Minh City and many others from all over Vietnam, when you come across plants decorating apartment buildings or being sold in flower shops, chances are that they are from Tan Quy Dong, as the village produces flowers and plants for a relatively cheap price.

the flower village you should visit in vietnams mekong delta
Peace lilies for New Year at the Tan Quy Dong flower neighborhood in Sa Dec City, Dong Thap Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Hong Van

Time to visit

For the village, the most beautiful time of the year is December in the lunar calendar - before Tet, which is Vietnam’s Lunar New Year. In 2020, it will be in January in the Gregorian calendar. At this time, all local producers will have to provide the best care for the plants as they prepare to pack them for big buyers. The plants will be transported to other parts of the country to be sold to end consumers who want to decorate their houses with green and colorful flowers for New Year and Lunar New Year.

This is also a great time for Vietnamese to visit Tan Quy Dong for a day trip to buy flower pots at a surprisingly cheap price – compared to what they would pay for the same things in the city.

The experience of visiting the Tan Quy Dong flower village is quite unique. The surroundings are lively with buyers and sellers busy negotiating, and people wondering around with bright and happy faces. While exploring the neighborhood, one might wish for the talent of a painter to capture all the shades and colors of the abundant variety of plants and flowers. For many though, a selfie will have to serve as a way to keep the memories.

the flower village you should visit in vietnams mekong delta
Women take a selfie at the Tan Quy Dong flower neighborhood in Sa Dec City, Dong Thap Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Hong Van

If you’d like to avoid the crowds, as I try to do, visiting Tan Quy Dong a little early, in mid- or late December is another good idea as the village is more peaceful. The flowers are still there, although not yet ready to blossom, and you can easily navigate in almost every garden. If you can speak Vietnamese or visit with a Vietnamese friend, more often than not the villagers will happily answer your questions about their life.

Unfortunately, as in many other places in Vietnam, Tan Quy Dong is dealing with the problem of single-use plastic pots and bags. Along with this, not many people have adopted more efficient and effective methods of conserving water, such as the drop system and treating it after use.

the flower village you should visit in vietnams mekong delta
A villager waters her the plants at the Tan Quy Dong flower neighborhood in Sa Dec City, Dong Thap Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Hong Van

Thankfully, one thing that local people have started to change is their overuse of chemical fertilizer and some kinds of pesticide. As they realize that the village can attract tourists, which could provide a pretty good long-term income, they are working together to improve their methods.

To get to Tan Quy Dong, from Ho Chi Minh City, you can ride a motorbike or use a public bus.

Via N2 National Road: From Ho Chi Minh City, go to Long An and follow N2 National Road to Sa Dec.

Via QL1 National Road: From Ho Chi Minh City, go to Trung Luong, and turn right toward the My Thuan Bridge. After the bridge, turn right, cover another 15km, and you will arrive in Sa Dec.

Public bus to Sa Dec: You can book your ticket with the bus company Phuong Trang.

the flower village you should visit in vietnams mekong delta
Flowers for sale at the Tan Quy Dong flower neighborhood in Sa Dec City, Dong Thap Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Hong Van

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