Evergreen Island: Located across the river from Tan Chau, Evergreen Island is a rural community of some 300 people. A visit to Evergreen Island features a walk through a tiny part of the village, past people's homes and large stretches of farmland, where hot peppers and green beans seem to be the most prevalent crops. Local kids will come out to watch and say hello, and your guide will explain all about the local way of life.

Xe Loi Ride: Once a main form of transportation for people living in Tan Chau, the Xe Loi is basically a one-person bicycle rickshaw. It is now used almost exclusively by tourists. Most rides will last about 20 minutes, though with some river cruises, this is the main mode of transport between stops within the city. If you're zipping through the streets when school kids are out and about, you'll get a chorus of hellos to accompany your ride.

Cao Dai Temple: This temple of the homegrown Vietnamese religion is a standard stop on most excursions that stick to the immediate environs of Tan Chau. Visitors will learn about the Cao Dai, which was founded in the 1920s and seeks to be a unifying religion; it is particularly popular among Vietnamese people living in the Mekong Delta. Based on Buddhism, Cao Dai also draws on bits and pieces from Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism and Catholicism, and you'll see symbols from all incorporated into the design and decorations of the temple.

Fish Farms: Despite the importance of fish farming to the local economy, a visit to a fish farm is not that common a stop on most Tan Chau shore excursions. There are quite a few fish farms along the Mekong in the vicinity of Tan Chau; you'll usually find them clustered together on the sides of the river. Fish farming families (including the kids, who often don't go to school) live in basic homes directly above the deep wire-netted pens that hold their fish. Visits to a fish farm include the opportunity to meet a fish farmer and talk to him about his life; you'll also get to see the fish roil and splash when they are fed.