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Mekong Delta Guide

The mighty 4,909 kilometer-long Mekong River starts in the Tibetan plateau, runs through six countries, and ends at the Mekong Delta where it discharges silt into the East Sea, forming a continuously expanding sediment bank in southwestern Vietnam, three hours from Ho Chi Minh City.

Highlights

  • Visit the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam
  • Enjoy the breeze, being rowed on a sampan
  • Interact with some people of the ethnic groups in their villages
  • Capture the sunrise and find your way between floating merchants
  • Sip your morning Vietnamese coffee on a floating café
  • Broaden your knowledge about tropical fruit in the orchards
  • Savor the weird looking yet famous elephant-ear fish of the Mekong Delta

Visit a Floating Market

Criss-crossed by rivers and rivulets, some villages are often more accessible by waterway than by road. This has nurtured the floating market culture even until today. Mentioned below are some of the biggest floating markets in the Mekong Delta:

Cai Rang Floating Market

As the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta, most of the sellers in Cai Rang floating market are wholesellers, who besides catering to the need of locals, also sell local produce such as vegetable and fruit to regions outside the Mekong Delta.

Cai Rang can be reached in 30 minutes by boat from Can Tho or in four and a half hours by car from Ho Chi Minh City. It is advisable to stay in the nearby city if you want to visit the market, since it starts at 5 am.

Cai Be Floating Market

Enjoy the beautiful yet charming morning in Cai Be floating market with the French church as the background. The trading starts around the same time as Cai Rang, at 5 am.

Slightly smaller in market scale and less crowded, you will find more locals than foreigners here, which offers you a chance for a more local experience. Reach Cai Be floating market by lodging in Can Tho or Vinh Long, for a more convenient visit.

Visit a Local Village

Discover the beauty of cultural diversity by sitting and chatting a morning or an afternoon together with the locals. Walk around their village, observe their way of life and experience the true life of Mekong people.

A short candy-making class is a great choice of activity to help you blend in with the culture of the locals, while earning the skill of how to make a tropical sweet .

Visit the Tropical Fruit Orchards

In the Mekong Delta, hectares of fertile soil are vastly cultivated, creating – beside being Vietnam’s rice bowl – a huge and famous fruit garden with various tropical fruits such as rambutans, durians, jackfruits, mangosteens.

With its pleasant tropical climate and nature, the fruit season seems endless and the vegetation always green. Broaden your knowledge about exotic fruit and learn how to pick it by accompanying a local farmer in the tropical fruit garden.

Some of the famous fruit orchards are Cai Be Orchard; Tien Giang, Phong Dien, and My Khanh Orchard; Can Tho, Cai Mon Orchard; Ben Tre. By visiting a fruit garden, you enrich your local experience while directly supporting the local economy.

Have some Specialties at a Riverside Restaurant

The most iconic traditional delicacies in the Mekong Delta are fresh spring rolls and elephant-ear fish.

The deep fried fish is served standing straight up on a plate supported by wooden holders, surrounded by vegetables. The whole presentation may look strange but the taste is undoubtedly delicious.

Have the perfect local gastronomic experience by enjoying elephant-ear fish and other local delicacies at a riverside restaurant with a great river-view. Let us help you save time and trouble by choosing the best restaurant according to your desired tour program.

Ethnic Groups and Agriculture

Warm and friendly inhabitants of the rustic and quaint riverside Mekong Delta region, where most of the land is intensively farmed, toil in the agricultural sector. The region yields more than one third of Vietnam’s total rice, despite its relatively small area.

Though the Mekong Delta is Vietnam’s ‘rice bowl’, its agriculture isn’t only about rice; it also yields sugar cane, coconut palm, fruit and many other commodities, while the river itself provides livelihood through its fisheries.

As the home of ethnic minority people (predominantly the Viet people who comprise the largest population of Khmers outside Cambodia, the Muslim Cham, and the ethnic Chinese Hoa), diversity in the Mekong Delta has melded into a harmonious society which is just too beautiful to be overlooked.

Main Cities

Visiting the Mekong Delta can be a challenge when it comes to the details of where to go, what to do, when to visit, and so on. Relax, as our experienced local guides are ready to place themselves at your service. 

Prepare for the journey and pack up light for the following cities, the Mekong Delta’s main cities with suitable facilities for tourists.

Can Tho is the delta’s main city and transportation center, where the Mekong River meets the South China Sea. You can roam around on foot or rent a bike, wake up early in morning and hop on to the sampans at floating markets.

My Tho is known for its special soup, hutieu my tho, and its floating market. It is a pioneer of boat trips in the Mekong Delta region, and it is possible to take a day-tour from Ho Chi Minh City to here.

Ben Tre is 85 km from Ho Chi Minh City, an industrious city with friendly and warm inhabitants. It is relatively laid-back and quiet compared to other cities, a place where you can comfortably wander round and witness the daily lives of local people.

Chau Doc is a city where you can find inner peace, and listen to the soothing water flow at Tra Su bird sanctuary.

Sa Dec is a river port and center of agriculture and trade. It is one of largest cities in the Mekong Delta. .

When planning your trip, bear in mind that the best time to visit the Mekong Delta is the dry season from October to May, to avoid seasonal flooding.

Our experienced and friendly tour guides are ready to ensure you get the right information about historical events in Ben Tre, to help you capture a snap of the young school girl in ao dai dress, to assist you with the amount of spice on your deep fried elephant ear fish in My Tho, or to help you avoid scams.

Mekong Delta Itinerary Ideas

The better the plan the better the result, also applies to your stay in the Mekong Delta. We recommend the following tour plans. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need any further information.

Escape the traffic jams and bustling scenes of Ho Chi Minh City for the laidback, charming cities at the heart of the Mekong Delta, including drives through mesmerizing scenes of rice fields and villages.

After an 8 am start in Ho Chi Minh City, our local guide will lead you first to My Tho, one of the busiest and most historical ports in the Mekong Delta, about 70 km away.

Upon arrival you’ll visit Vinh Trang pagoda – an amazing temple with huge Buddha statues, with traces of Cambodian and Chinese architectural influence – and take a look at the unique stilt houses, local plantations and fishing villages.

Then you’ll proceed to the nearest island by boat, where you will observe the daily lives of local people, and continue by hopping on to a hand-rowed sampan, for a ride through small canals and a short coconut-candy-making class.

Lunch will be served on-site, and will be based on local delicacies such as spring rolls and fresh seafood.

After enjoying the cruise on a hand-rowed sampan and after a leisurely taste of seasonal fruit at lunch, good enough to make you temporarily forget any problems in the world, we will take an hour-and-a-half’s drive to a less touristy city, Ben Tre.

In contrast to the bustling port of My Tho, Ben Tre is a calm, laid-back city where you can wander around and enjoy the simple but charming scenes of daily life, while listening to our guide’s explanation of its history.

From Ben Tre you’ll return to Ho Chi Minh City, ending the excursion at approximately 4.30 pm.

Restaurants in the Mekong Delta

My Tho

Song Nuoc Mien Tay Restaurant

One of the best restaurants in the city, Song Nuoc is primarily accessible by boat. Its specialty is elephant ear fish, a strange-looking fish but surprisingly delicious. Along with the freshly-made spring rolls, the fish is one of the reasons people keep coming back.

52-53/18 Ap 3 | Tan Thach Commune, My Tho‬‬‬‬

Bo De Quan Restaurant

This vegetarian-friendly restaurant is just across from the famous Vinh Trang Pagoda, making it easily accessible. Continuous and soothing Buddhist music provides a special backcloth to your meal.

69A Nguyen TrungTruc, My Tho

Can Tho

L’Escale

Located in Can Tho, this restaurant offers European and Asian food, though it’s heavily influenced by a classic French-style menu. Ask our local guide to help you get a table on the balcony – in addition to amazing fare, you might also have an amazing river view.

4th Floor, 1 Ngo Quyen | NinhKieu Quay, P. Tan An‬, Can Tho‬‬‬

Nem Nuong Thanh Van

This little restaurant is popular among locals, serving only 3 dishes, but doing it extraordinarily well. You can expect fast service here and delicious food, with prices around 50.000 VND per person (including drinks).

17 Hoa Binh Avenue, NinhKieu District, Can Tho‬

Ben Tre

Mien Tay River Side Restaurant

This is one of the top restaurants in Ben Tre, with great food and views and surrounded by a little stream that helps enhance the mood before a meal. Deep fried elephant ear fish is one of the recommended seafood dishes here, while they always offer a daily set menu. The price per person ranges from 100.000 to 150.000 VND.

Ben Tre, Vietnam

Diem Phuong Restaurant

This restaurant is highly recommended for lunch during your Mekong River cruise. It is located on a beautiful quiet island. The ‘dinosaur egg’ dessert is a real delight, but if you are not used to spicy food you may want to be careful with the hot sauce on the main course.

80/10 Tan Vinh Hamlet, Ben Tre

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Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today!

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