Soc Trang province, located in the Mekong River Delta region near the mouth of the Hau River, is the center of an intensive rice-growing area and a crossroad for road and canal traffic. However, Soc Trang is not as developed as Can Tho. Coming to Soc Trang, tourists will still be able to feel the natural breath, find poetic dirt roads running along the rivers and villages,…
The main ethnic communities living in Soc Trang province are Khmer and Hoya. There are several attractions in and around the town, including some excellent pagodas.
1. Bat Pagoda
Built during the 16th century, but has been renovated several times since, Doi pagoda is notable for its architecture, an ancient Buddha statue and a number of Buddhist books written on sugar palm leaves, but its main attraction is the presence of large numbers of fruit bats.
Bat pagoda, a world of bats just behind the pagoda
The presence of the bats has not affected the plants growing in and around the pagoda. The best time to see them is in the late afternoon when they fly away to look for food.
2. Kh’leng Pagoda
This pagoda is a fine example of a typical Kh’mer pagoda. Set on a two-level terrace, the doors and windows are ornamented with Kh’mer motifs and in bright colors. Inside the pagoda is dominated by a large gilded Buddha and there are several interesting artifacts in dusty display cases.
The Kh’leng pagoda
And when acrossing the road, you can meet a small Kh’mer museum with some good exhibits relating to the local culture.
3. Buu Son Pagoda
Soc Trang also has a truly unique pagoda. Buu Son pagoda was founded more than 200 years ago, but is now known as Clay Pagoda. At the age of twenty, a devout Buddhist monk called Ngo Kim Tong devoted the rest of his life and considerable talent to decorating the temple with clay effigies and objects ranging from the exquisite to the bizarre.
Buu Son pagoda
4. Im Son Rang pagoda
Not far from the town, the Im Son Rang is a recently-built Kh’mer pagoda in pleasant gardens among the orchards on My Phuoc Island. Here, the monks enjoy having visitors. It may take you about a half-hour boat ride to get there.
5. Ok Om Bok Festival
Soc Trang is a sleepy place apart from December. On the 14th or 15th day of the tenth lunar month, the local Kh’mers hold a series of longboat races that attract visitors and competitors from all over Cambodia and Vietnam.
Ok Om Bok festival
Each boat is carved from a single tree-trunk, diamond-shaped with curved ends. There’s a substantial cash prize at stake, so it’s a lively event.