If you have ever been to Can Tho, after visiting famous sites like Cai Rang floating market and Ninh Kieu wharf and enjoying the fruit garden…, don't forget to visit Binh Thuy Ancient House - one of the most beautiful old houses in the Mekong Delta. The house is known for its unique architecture and the priceless collection of artifacts housed within – which will undoubtedly surprise you and leave you with a nostalgic feeling.
1. Where is Binh Thuy Ancient House located?
Binh Thuy Ancient House is one of the few remaining French-Chinese-Vietnam style houses in Can Tho, Mekong Delta. In 2009, it was designated as a National Architectural and artistic monument.
The Duong family built this house in 1870 on a nearly 6000 square meter plot of land. Duong Minh Hien, the sixth generation member of the Duong family, is now maintaining the house.
The unique aspect of Binh Thuy Ancient House is that it bears the clear imprint of Eastern feng-shui, resulting in a harmonious combination of the two cultures of the East and West. As a result, visitors can see the luxury French style and the old villa style in the design of the ancient house.
- Location: 144, Bui Huu Nghia Street, Binh Thuy Ward, Can Tho City
- Opening hours: 8 am–12 am, 2 pm–6 pm daily
- Entrance fee: It's free if you just walk around. However, if you want to go inside the house, you need to spend 15,000 VND per person to ask the landlord for permission to enter. Because, despite being a national heritage, the ancient house is still under the personal management of the landlord Duong.
2. The best time to visit Binh Thuy Ancient House
Binh Thuy Ancient House in Can Tho is situated on the western side of the river, with the year's weather divided into two distinct seasons:
- Dry season: from December to August. If you travel to Can Tho and go to Binh Thuy Ancient House, especially from January to April, the weather is super pleasant with golden sunshine and blue sky. The flowers in the garden at the old house show off their beautiful colors, so the picture that you take here will be very sparkling.
- Rainy season: from September to November, after visiting Binh Thuy Ancient House, you can also have fun at famous tourist attractions in Can Tho such as Cai Rang floating market, Bang Lang stork garden, Ba Bo flower village… .
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3. Explore the beauty of Binh Thuy Ancient House
In Vietnamese, "Binh Thuy" means "peaceful water." Originally intended as a place of worship for the Duong family's ancestors, the house was constructed by two generations of the family and was completed in 1911. The house is now a magnificent example of Western and Oriental structural elements.
3.1. Outside the old house
Unlike other ancient houses in Can Tho, Binh Thuy Ancient House retains 5 compartments and 2 wings, measuring 22 meters long and 16 meters deep in a 6,000 square meters plot. To keep warm and avoid termites, the owner requested that over 10 centimeters of salt be placed under the foundation to keep the house cool and dry.
The house is surrounded by well-kept bonsai trees and flowers that bloom all year. Behind the house is the fruit orchard, which is a distinctive feature of the local culture. This design makes the house appear nostalgic, unique, lively, and romantic all at the same time.
There are three major houses in the entire area: the front house (5 rooms) – used for solemn occasions as a reception area, decorated in European style; The middle house (5 compartments) – three compartments are arranged as a place of worship, the other two compartments are used for living; The back house – used as a commonplace, along with mini scenes inside and outside.
One special thing is that the facade of Binh Thuy Ancient House does not have a direct staircase but is designed on both sides to lead to the main door. As you climb the stairs, you will notice a series of windows that provide ventilation for the house. On the side of the stairs, there are also many flowers.
3.2. Inside the old house
The owner directly arranged the interior of Binh Thuy Ancient House according to the law of symmetry. All floor tiles are shipped from France. Separating the three main parts of the house is a system of wood shafts.
The Vietnamese traditional worship altar is the most important place in the house, even though the interior is designed in European style. This shows a harmonious Eastern-Western cultural connection, showing the owner's sophisticated aesthetic tastes.
The highlight of Binh Thuy Ancient House is the artifact collection that has been conserved for generations. The collection includes many precious items including marble furniture that has green wood grain with a diameter of 1.5 meters, Louis 15 French-style satin weave, blue marble slab, 15th-century white lanterns, 19th-century hanging lanterns, teacups from the Ming – Thanh dynasty, green enamel Thuong Ngoc… These artifacts are proof of extreme wealth and the high-end lifestyle of some affluent families in the 19th century.
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4. The values of Binh Thuy Ancient House in Can Tho
- Binh Thuy Ancient House has been designated as a "national-level artistic relic" because of its structural and historical significance. As a result, it is one of the few old houses that have remained intact to this day. And it is of great value in assisting research into the culture and customs of the people of the river delta.
- The uniqueness of Binh Thuy Ancient House has drawn many visitors, as well as directors and studios, who have chosen this location as the setting for their films, such as "Tay Do Beauty," "Life Debt,"... the most famous of which is "L'Amant" ("The Lover") (directed by Jean Jacques Annaud).
- When you visit Binh Thuy Ancient House, you will travel back in time and immerse yourself in the rich life of wealthy Southern families. The housekeeper will tell you about the Southern family's daily life over a century ago: How to eat in an old family, why a penjing was built at the big gate, the meaning of the reliefs and the cement statues in the garden...
A visit to Binh Thuy Ancient House will undoubtedly leave you feeling nostalgic and royal. Furthermore, when visiting Binh Thuy, you can visit other tourist attractions in Can Tho such as Binh Thuy Temple, Ninh Kieu Wharf, Ong Temple, Cai Rang Floating Market, and so on.
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Binh Thuy Ancient House has become one of Can Tho's must-see tourist attractions because of its unique structural style and harmonious combination of the East and West. The main house is a wonderful meeting place for tourists who want to learn about the unique architecture.