Soc Trang is a city in the Mekong Delta.
This modern city has a very high Khmer population. The many temples here are in the Cambodian Khmer-style, and the culture is highly influenced by this. It is a bustling town with a population of around 120,000. Very few people speak any English here, and tourists are few and far between, although they are well received.
There are services to Soc Trang from HCMC (5 hr) leaving from the Mien Tay bus station. It is about 1 hour from Can Tho, accessible by local bus. Local buses from Tra Vinh only leave in the morning.
You can walk anywhere in this town in under an hour. Xe oms are readily available, look for guys relaxing by their motorbikes on a street corner. Make sure to make the price very clear before you go.
- Bat Temple. The monastery, while pleasing on its own, the main draw here are the fruit bats that live in the trees behind the temple. The monks protect them from the farmers in the area who consider them both a pest and a delicacy. Arrive about 1/2 hour before sunset to see the show begin. Any xe om in town can bring you here. There is also a Buddhist crematorium across the road from the temple.
- Clay Pagoda, D Mau Than 68 (300 m north of the river). This monastery was decorated by a monk sculptor who spent 60 years designing and installing thousands of statues into a colorful cacophony of Buddhist kitch. Notable features are: pillars with dragons on them, a baby white elephant, a white tiger, and golden turtles in the pond out back.
- Ngã Năm (5 fork intersection) Floating Market (About 50 km from the city). Busiest at 05:00-06:00, but the market is held all day and all night on one fork of the river. You can rent a boat to go around for as little as USD2-3.
Soc Trang, despite its small size, has a good selection of restaurants serving traditional Vietnamese food. If you head over to Võ Thị Sáu St, there are a few restaurants specializing in hotpot (100,000-150,000 dong) and other countryside delicacies (snake, rice paddy rat).
- Hung, 6/24 D Hung Vuong. This place has an extensive menu in Vietnamese. Drawing pictures sometimes helps, or bring a phrasebook along. The food is wonderful, and the open-air pavilion has a nice atmosphere. The staff is very helpful. Meals 20,000-130,000 dong.
- Khánh Vi, 43 Lê Duẩn, TP Sóc Trăng, ☎ . Spacious restaurant, extensive menu, individual dishes from 65,000-150,000 dong. Attentive service.
- Le Phong, 403-405 Le Hong Phong K5-P3, ☎ . Cheap and cheerful hotel, with air-con rooms. Clean and modern, it is a charming place with quirky fish tanks and a pleasant long-time owner. 100,000-200,000 dong.