Gian Gua Relic – A historic Site in Can Tho (2024)

Gian Gua Relic: Fascinating Historical Journey (2024)

 An overview of Gian Gua relic

Gian Gua relic in Can Tho’s Phong Dien district became a historical site in 2013. It houses ancient Gua (Ficus microcarpa) trees over a hundred years old, which are valuable for both nature and history. Despite its small size of about 2700 km2, Gian Gua has endured through various historical events.

Gian Gua Relic - a historical site
Gian Gua relic became a historical site in 2013

Visitors to Gian Gua relic are amazed by the ancient Gua tree with its large, interwoven roots and branches forming a thick canopy. It’s challenging to tell which is a root and which is a branch. Some branches still bear marks from past bombings. Now, let’s explore Gian Gua relic with Soha Tourist!

Explaining the name in Gian Gua relic

Gian Gua: The name Gian Gua is linked to the main tree found there, called “Gừa” or the ficus tree (Ficus microcarpa). This tree has numerous trunks and branches that interweave to create a massive canopy. The locals refer to this impressive sight as “Gian Gua.”

This region has historical importance as it used to serve as a revolutionary base during Vietnam’s resistance wars and played a role in land reclamation efforts in the 19th century.

Gian Gua Relic - the ficus tree
“Gua” or the ficus tree (Ficus microcarpa)

History of Gian Gua relic in Can Tho

  • In the past, life in the new land was challenging, requiring spiritual support. To fulfill this need, the Nguyen family constructed a temple made of bamboo and bamboo leaves beneath the ficus tree. They chose the 28th day of the second lunar month each year as the anniversary to worship Madame Thuong Dong Co Hi.
  • Madame Thuong Dong Co Hi: As per the information in the book “Miếu Thờ ở Cần Thơ” from 2019, Madame Thuong Dong Co Hi has roots in Cham culture but has become part of Vietnamese traditions. However, the local people recognize her as a powerful goddess who plays a significant role in determining people’s blessings.
  • Flanking the temple are statues of the White Tiger and the Black Tiger, serving as protectors of Madame’s temple. They stand guard against evil spirits and ward off any misfortune befalling the villagers.
  • Annually, on the 28th day of the second lunar month, the Nguyen family and people from nearby and far away come together. They bring incense and show respect to Madame Thuong Dong Co Hi.
Gian Gua Relic - valuable for both nature and history
Gian Dua is valuable for both nature and history

Unique things about the Gian Gua

  • In 2013, Gian Gua received recognition as a historical relic at the city level. Additionally, it earned distinction from the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Nature and Environment. It is as the very first “Vietnam’s Heritage Tree” in the Mekong Delta.
  • Every year, the worshiping festival of Thuong Dong Co Hi attracts approximately 10,000 visitors from provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta, as well as Ho Chi Minh City, along with foreign tourists.
  • The Gian Gua relic stands out from regular tourist destinations. 
  • Gian Gua represents a significant monument built by the Liberation Army of South Vietnam before 1975. The challenging and remote terrain served as a protective haven for many soldiers during enemy bombardments and assaults. Even today, visitors can witness the enduring scars of war on the majority of the ficus trees in the area.
Gian Gua Relic - Vietnam’s Heritage Tree
The very first “Vietnam’s Heritage Tree” in the Mekong Delta

Things to experience in Gian Gua relic in Can Tho 

Enjoying the wild beauty of Gian Gua

  • Gazing from the exterior, the relic is embraced by a calming green shade. While the Gian Gua expanse was once vast, the impact of war bombs and environmental degradation has condensed it to approximately 2,700 m2.
  • Within this confined space stands an ancient ficus tree (Ficus microcarpa), surpassing 150 years, featuring an intricate tapestry of intertwining trunks and branches, earning it the local title “Gian Gua.” 
  • Despite enduring repeated bombardments, the tree persists, extending its branches and thriving. A leisurely walk through the forest assures visitors of a tranquil and comforting experience, immersed in the refreshing, cool, and peaceful air.
  • This haven inspires visitors to capture the unspoiled allure of Gian Gua relic through their cameras. With each step, the landscape unfolds, adorned with a lush green canopy extending from tree to tree and leaf to leaf.
Gian Gua Relic - calming green shade
A calming green shade

Joining festival in Gian Gua relic

Every year, there are three significant festivals held on Vietnam’s War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27). Second, it is on the founding day of the Vietnam People’s Army (December 22). And, the third one is the 28th day of the second lunar month in memory of Madame Thuong Dong Co Hi and other gods.

The anniversary celebrations involve exciting activities to honor Madame Thuong Dong Co Hi. This event is revered as a benefactor of this sacred land. Attending the Gian Gua festival provides a chance to learn about worship rituals dedicated to Madame and the gods. Visitors can engage in traditional dances, listen to Don Ca Tai Tu music, and indulge in the taste of fresh fruit, ensuring a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Gian Gua Relic - Madame Thuong Dong Co Hi
Madame Thuong Dong Co Hi

Springtime attracts many tourists to the Gian Gua relic, where they can appreciate the wild scenery and express spiritual wishes for family peace, successful work, and prosperity in the coming year.

The locals, known for their extraordinary friendliness and generosity, always extend a warm welcome to visitors at Gian Gua, whether there’s a festival or not. This offers tourists an opportunity to delve into the entire history of Gian Gua relic and understand its development up to the present day.

The best time to visit Gian Gua relic

If you plan to explore the Gian Gua relic, the recommended visiting hours are between 7:30 am and 5:00 pm. However, we suggest opting for a morning or evening visit to escape the intense heat. This way, you can enjoy a more comfortable and pleasant experience while exploring the relic and its surroundings

Gian Gua Relic - comfortable and pleasant experience
Enjoy a more comfortable and pleasant experience

How to get to Gian Gua relic

On the tourist map of Can Tho, there are two routes for visitors to reach Gian Gua:

  • Route 1 (Bike or Car): Start from Can Tho’s center, head straight on Highway 61 C to Vi Thanh. After around 2 km, turn left at Duong Hung gas station, following signs to Gian Gua relic.
  • Route 2 (Bike): For a more appealing journey, travel from Can Tho to Phong Dien via the Vong Cung – My Khanh route. Explore attractions like My Khanh tourist village or Southern Truc Lam Zen Monastery. Take the ferry from My Khanh to Nhon Nghia commune and inquire locally for the second path to the relic.
  • Route 3 (Boat and Bicycle): Combine a visit to Gian Gua with a Cai Rang floating market tour. Take a boat to the market, visit a traditional rice noodles factory, and then ride bicycles to Gian Gua.

This approach differs from standard tours, offering the flexibility of a bicycle tour to Gian Gua relic in the Mekong Delta. On a bike, you can freely explore, engage with Vietnam’s traffic, relish street food, and enjoy the fresh air.

Things visitors need to take into account

Your considerations before visiting the Gian Gua relic:

1. Choose a Reputable Eco-Tourism Company: As Gian Gua is an eco-trip, opt for a reputable eco-tourism company like Soha Tourists. Especially if you prefer English-speaking guides dedicated to showcasing the authentic beauty of the Mekong Delta.

2. Prefer Bicycles or Motorbikes: Traveling by bicycle or motorbike is the most budget-friendly and immersive way to explore both Gian Gua and Can Tho.

3. Essential Gear: 

  • Dry Season: Bring a hat, sunglasses, sunblock, and a scarf.
  • Rainy Season: A jacket is essential to appreciate the stunning forest in both rain and sunshine.

4. Dress Appropriately: As Gian Gua is a relic with spiritual significance, dress appropriately and maintain a quiet atmosphere to respect the environment, heritage tree, and sacred land.

6. Free Entry and Friendly Locals: Gian Gua is open year-round, free to enter, and managed by descendants of the Nguyen family. Engage with the friendly locals and inquire about the fascinating history of the Gian Gua heritage tree.

7. Prioritize Safety: Due to the vast forest area, stick close to your tour guide or locals to avoid getting lost. While it’s generally safe, staying with the group ensures a worry-free experience for you and others.

| See more: Can Tho cycling tour

Top tours to visit Gian Gua relic in Can Tho

Here are some recommended tours for you to explore Gian Gua relic and the flooded non-touristy forest near Can Tho. With the tours, you can get deep understanding about the history of the places and the cultural value of the Mekong Delta region.

  • Can Tho wildlife tour: 02:00 PM – 06:00 PM. Highlights: 2800 ha flooded forest – Rice field – Hidden revolutionary base
  • Cai Rang floating market and wildlife tour: 5:00 AM – 12:30 PM. Highlights: Cai Rang floating market – Small canal – Rice noodle factory – 2800 ha flooded forest – Rice field – Gian Gua relic
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