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Sa Dec, also known as the 'little Venice of Asia' thanks to the countless number of canals located in the area, is a small and romantic provincial town based along the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam. Sa Dec is just one part of the 7 night journey that can be experienced on a Mekong River Cruise.

The town of Sa Dec is a hidden gem that is rarely populated with tourists. This is surprising as there is much to see and do here, despite its relatively small size. Of course, those people who have made the journey here have usually done so due to it being the original setting of Marguerite Duras' famous autobiographical novel 'The Lover' (L'Amant). If you are a fan of the book, or if you have seen the 1992 feature film, this should be one of the reasons why you might want to spend time here during your exploration of the Mekong Delta.

Sa Dec isn't only famous for its place in the annals of classic literature. The town is also famous for its flower village (in Colonial times, Sa Dec was known as Garden of Cochin-China), and it's little surprise that one of the main careers in the town is flower growing. Situated on the banks of the Tien River, you have free access to the flower and bonsai gardens here, and you can also talk to the local farmers if you want to get an understanding of their day-to-day life in the town.

Local market in Sa DecLocal market in Sa Dec

Things to do in Sa Dec

The flower gardens are an undisputed highlight of Sa Dec, but you also have a whole town to explore, with houses and mansions that are all very authentic to the colonial period settings of Marguerite Duras' novel. One of the houses here belonged to Mr. Huyn Thuy Le, remembered as the lover of the French author in her book. This house of ancient beauty has been lovingly restored and is certainly worth a visit when you're exploring the town.

Also worth a look is the Kien An Chung Pagoda, located in the centre of Sa Dec. It has a very colorful history (it used to be a prison), but it is family-owned today and open to anybody wanting to have a look at its rich architectural beauty. Next to the pagoda is the breathtaking Cai Son Canal, which is every romantic's dream, with its arc-shaped arches and rows upon rows of willows surrounding both sides of the canal.

Kien An Chung PagdoaKien An Chung Pagdoa

You also have a busy marketplace to explore, where you can buy fresh produce and handcrafted items befitting of the area. And if you're hungry, you will be spoiled by choice by the eateries in the town. With traditional Vietnamese food on offer, including snake sausage and grilled chicken in clay, you have much to tempt your appetites, even if some of the foods here are new to your palates.

Visitors should also take a walk along Nguyen Hue, a riverside road that has market stalls, cafes, and an old French church to visit. And for those with an extended time in the area, time should be spent visiting the nearby Trim Chim National Park, which is second only to Sa Dec's flower gardens for scenes of natural beauty. Sa Dec may be a hidden gem, but once seen, you will never forget about this beautiful provincial town.