“Mom, what is home?
What is it that my teacher tells me to love.
Mom, what is home?
What is it that I miss when I’m thousands of miles away…”

To me, hometown is a holy place that holds secret power. Whenever I go far away from my hometown, I miss it so much. I miss every simple corner of the land, the friendly and gentle people, and the wonderful and special dishes that I cannot find elsewhere. My hometown is An Giang

 Located in the Southwest of Vietnam, where the Mekong River begins to flow into the country, An Giang Province has immense rice fields, the majestic That Son and vast cajuput forests, and legendary lands such as Thien Cam Mountain and Ong Ho Island.  

An Giang has an area of ​​353,676 hectares, including 280,658 hectares of agricultural land. An Giang has a population of over 2.2 million people, including four main ethnic groups consisting of Kinh, Cham, Chinese, and Khmer, who have happily loved together for many generations, cultivating this fertile land together.

 An Giang is not only a province of rice production, but is also famous for traditional handicraft villages such as Tan Chau Silk, and Cham and Khmer jewelry. Other local distinctions are the Cho Thu carpentry village in Cho Moi, delicious dried fish and “mắm” in Chau Doc Town, and villages where fish are raised in boathouses.

Each season in An Giang has its own beauty. However, if you have a chance to visit An Giang in the 4th and 8th lunar month, Sam Mountain’s Lady Festival and Bay Nui Cow Racing are awaiting your exploration and enjoyment.

Sam Mountain’s Lady Festival is one of the most unique festivals in the Mekong Delta Region. The  Temple was simply built with bamboo in the late 19th century. In 1972, the temple was rebuilt with massive and majestic architecture. Since 2000, Sam Mountain’s Lady Festival has been certified as a National Festival. In the 4th lunar month each year, people across the country converge there to worship Sam Mountain’s Lady, and wish for a peaceful life and a healthy harvest.

Not far from the Lady’s Temple is Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb. He was the first man in Nguyen’s reign to farm, establish settlements, and dig 2 important channels. These channels have a significant role in the economy and defense of people throughout the Mekong Delta.

The Bay Nui Cow Racing Festival is a sport activity of farmers, which is held annually on the occasion of Donta Festival. Donta Festival is a Khmer  ceremony that honors ancestors. At the festival, Mekong Delta residents and tourists flock to converge in An Giang to be immersed in passionate and exciting atmosphere. You will be strongly impressed by the water run of the mighty cows, controlled by smart and clever Khmer farmers of Bay Nui. For many visitors, this is a special and unique destination in That Son that they will never forget.

When referring to That Son, we cannot help but mention Cam Mountain - the roof of the Mekong Delta, with a cool climate, and pristine and mysterious beauty. You can find many ancient temples on the mountain, such as the Great Buddha Pagoda, Van Linh Pagoda, as well as the biggest Maitreya Buddha Statue in Vietnam. These attractions are not to be missed by visitors to An Giang province.

It would be an oversight to visit An Giang, yet skip Tra Su cajuput forest in Tinh Bien District. The total area of Tra Su is 845 hectares, with 11 species of mammals, 22 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, and 70 species of birds. In particular, two kinds of birds in Tra Su Forest are of particular interest: the painted stork and the darter. Ancient cajuput, green duckweed, and the beauty of flowers and birds, give visitors a feeling of peace and relaxation.

From Long Xuyên city, across the golden fields of rice and the majestic Thoai Giang River, we will go to Oc Eo town, which archaeologists consider the "navel" – the center of civilization and culture of Oc Eo. Arriving at the ancient Oc Eo City, and catching the sight of the Four Hands Buddha and Four Finger Tree, visitors feel like they have traveled back in time-immersing themselves in the atmosphere of the historic Phu Nam land, once a powerful kingdom of South East Asia.

         There are many other destinations that you can’t resist whenever coming to An Giang; especially My Hoa Hung Island, the Historical Area of President Ton Duc Thang – an imporatnt figure of Vietnam’s recent history and my hometown – An Giang. There is also Tuc Dup Hill – a symbol of patriotism and the undaunted spirit of An Giang’s people in the struggle for independence and freedom for Vietnam. There are also bustling economic border zones that are not to be missed, as well as boat-house villages, which are like a city on the river.

Coming to An Giang, you can enjoy dishes of watershed lands, which are simple but delightful. For those who have enjoyed once will be unable to part, and will keep this song lyric in mind:

An Giang – the land of loveFor those who come, don’t want to leave.

Minh Nguyen_9D

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