The sacred four

Update: 21/07/2022
Coined as the sacred four of the riverine delta, the four mounds of Dragon - Qilian - Tortoise - Phoenix contribute to the stunning delta landscape by the tranquil Tien river. The mounds have also emerged to be new tourist hotspots for any visitors to the Southwest.

Dragon mound. Photo: Nguyen Huu Thanh

Also afloat on Tien river, Dragon and Qilian mounds are located in My Tho city, Tien Giang while Tortoise and Phoenix mounds are in Tan Thach commune, Chau Thanh district, Ben Tre. It takes 70 from Ho Chi Minh city along National Highway 1A to reach the third largest suspended bridge of the Mekong which connects the two provinces of Tien Giang and Ben Tre by the name of Rach Mieu.

Sighted eastward, one can be overwhelmed by the borderless void of the riverine fields in his face. It’s the very sight of the mounds to represent the sacred four of dragon, Qilian, Tortoise and Phoenix afloat on the river. While Qilian and Phoenix mounds are essentially symmetric in an “attending dragon’ posture, Tortoise and Dragon mounds are both poetic and picturesque as this very delta of the Southwest is.

Out of the sacred four, Dragon mound is meant for rafts of aquaculture and boat fixture owing to its proximity to My Tho fishing harbor. Besides, exuberant orchards are also another signature sight of the Dragon mound. Despite it being less outstanding than the three mounds, Dragon mound enables visitors to freely enjoy famed specialties, from durian, rambutant or cherry to seedless guava, orange, mango or milkwood fruit…

Thoi Son mound. Photo: Tran Minh Duc

Qilian mound, alternatively known as Thoi Son, is the largest one out of the Sacred Four on Tien river. The mound makes lasting impressions on us with meandering little canal that bend around the promontory filled with water coconuts and mangrove apples. Furthermore, the pleasing sight of maidens in in their bà ba tunics and conical leaf hats riding boat… is also the quintessential charm of the riverine Mekong delta in general and the Qilian mound in particular.

In contrast to the Qilian, Tortoise is the smallest mound in Ben Tre. What enhances the mound’s appeal is rows of established orchards laid out in rows and furrows, which thus look quite spacious and beautiful. Under their shades, visitors may lie on rocking hammocks in the breezy winds.

The last one is the Phoenix mound, the most fascinating stop of our journey to the Sacred Four. It’s alternatively called Tan Vinh mound, which connects two riverbanks of the Front like a dreamlike green oasis. Here visitors should pay a visit to wowing places of worship of Nguyen Thanh Nam coconut religion, such as the Dragon courtyard, Hoa Binh tower, etc. and take a close look at the traditional coconut candy and Vietnamese cracker craft in Ben Tre.

A stroll around the sacred four typically takes one day at most. However, if time doesn’t matter, a vacation on Tien river mounds in the moonlight is indeed enchanting. Visitor may get aboard to feel like drifting apart on the waves, admire the shining silver moon and appreciate amateur music performances by local musicians in such an eerie, fairylike and adorable vibe.

Visitors who depart from Ho Chi Minh city to the Southwest, it takes around 70km along National Highway 1A to reach Tien Giang. You should all feel free to visit in turn the Dragon and Qilian, then Tortoise and Phoenix. A full visit to these four mounds is recommendable, then pick a favorite one to dine or simply relax.

 Cong Thanh

Source: Vietnam Today - - July 19, 2022