Mekong Delta

During the 1st to 6th centuries AD, when southern Vietnam and southern Cambodia were under the rule of the Indian-influenced Cambodian kingdom of Funan, Oc-Eo (37km southwest of Long Xuyen) was a major trading city and important port. In the late 1990s the site was excavated, uncovering skeletons in burial vases, elaborate gold jewellery, weaponry, a wealth of pottery and more. Little remains except building foundations, but it's a beautiful backcountry ride to get there.

Much of what is known about the Funan empire, which reached its height during the 5th century AD, comes from contemporary Chinese sources and the excavations at Oc-Eo and Angkor Borei in neighbouring Cambodia. The excavations have uncovered evidence of contact between Oc-Eo and what is now Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as Persia and the Roman Empire.

An elaborate system of canals around Oc-Eo was once used for both irrigation and transport, prompting Chinese travellers of the time to write about ‘sailing across Funan’ on their way to the Malay Peninsula. Most of the buildings of Oc-Eo were built on piles and pieces of these structures indicate the high degree of refinement achieved by Funanese civilisation. Artefacts found at Oc-Eo are on display at the History Museum and Fine Arts Museum in HCMC and at the History Museum in Hanoi.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mekong Delta attractions

1. Tuc Dup Hill

15.52 MILES

Because of its network of connecting caves, Tuc Dup Hill (216m) served as a strategic base of operations for US soldiers during the American War. Tuc dup…

3. Nguyen Trung Truc Temple

17.49 MILES

This temple is dedicated to Nguyen Trung Truc, a leader of the 1860s resistance campaign against the newly arrived French. The first temple structure was…

4. Kien Giang Museum

17.55 MILES

Housed in an ornate gem of a French-colonial-era building, this museum's collection includes lots of war photos and some Oc-Eo artefacts and pottery. The…

5. An Giang Museum

21.16 MILES

Even though the signage is in Vietnamese only, the upstairs exhibition on the Oc-Eo culture is well worth a look, with pottery, fine gold jewellery and a…

6. Ton Duc Thang Museum

22.15 MILES

If you're a scholar of Vietnamese history, you may wish to visit My Hoa Hung village on Tiger Island, birthplace and childhood home of Ho Chi Minh's…

7. Ba Chuc Tomb

23.74 MILES

Ba Chuc’s memorial, 40km south of Chau Doc, stands as a ghastly reminder of the horrors perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge. Between 18 April and 30 April 1978…

8. Bang Lang Stork Garden

23.93 MILES

On the road between Can Tho and Long Xuyen, this magnificent 1.3-hectare bird sanctuary has astonishing views of thousands of resident storks and snowy…