Greet the Lunar New Year with a trip to Cai Mon – one of the prettiest flower villages in the Mekong Delta
Year after year, the Tien and Hau rivers have nurtured the prosperous fields of Western Vietnam with their rich alluvium. This region is famous for its countless lush orchards and many flower villages. If you have fallen for this area don’t wait: mark your New Year calendar and plan an adventure to this floral wonderland. Spring is a great time to explore renowned ornamental flower centers like Sa Dec (Dong Thap), My Phong (Tien Giang), An Thanh (An Giang), and Vi Thanh (Hau Giang), to name a few. But no trip would be complete without a visit to Cai Mon – a famous flower village in Cho Lach, Ben Tre.
A giant floral carpet
A fellow traveler showed me a photograph taken last year by a drone. Cai Mon was captured as a magnificent carpet with mesmerizing colorful patterns. Stepping onto that magical carpet, I was stunned to learn that this area covers 650 hectares, providing work for 3,000 households across Cho Lach District. Blessed with a mild climate, ornamental flowers have been grown here for decades, but the trade has really bloomed in the past decade, making this village one of the top flower-providers to the Southern market.
Since Southerners in general and Western Southerners in particular love scarlet and golden shades to celebrate the start of spring, at that time of year, the village is deep in an ocean of vibrant petals, from daisies, marigolds, chrysanthemums, dahlias, and carnations, to periwinkles, and roses of all kinds. Perennial bonsai apricots are the pride of bonsai artists in Cai Mon.
The kingdom of Bougainvillea
The closer it gets to the Tet Lunar New Year Holidays, the more flamboyant Cai Mon’s main road becomes, covered in kilometers of Bougainvillea blossoms. Some households specialize in this genus, growing up to tens of thousands of plants. Cai Mon’s Bougainvillea are considered robust and evenly blooming, making them the preferred choice of traders across the country, from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Tay Ninh and Ba Ria – Vung Tau, etc. Though sun-loving and easy to grow, the flower requires sophisticated techniques and experience if it is to bloom in time for Tet and keep blooming for a long time. Farmers also crossbreed the bushes to create ones with four or five colors on the same plant. Walking among the Bougainvillea, I marveled at the various pots on offer, from small ones to brighten up any window or corner of your house, to bigger ones that were meticulously shaped with thin petals like delicate artworks.
It’s best to visit Cai Mon several days before or after mid-Lunar January when the plants remain abundant, attracting traders from around the country. You can stop at tourist gardens to take photos and choose the best blossoms to take home and give to loved ones.