Lying immediately to the west of Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta will delight anyone with its special floating markets, lush orchards, numerous temples as well as distinctive culture. It is a large region that covers an area of 13 provinces, each of them has its own beauty. Owning the endless rice fields, with a system of canals and rivers, this place has been immersed in the unique landscapes that you can’t find in any other region of the country. It is a must-see for all visitors who love tranquil scenery and want to see the Vietnamese rural life.
The agricultural heartland of Vietnam
Rural life revolves around the river
The agricultural heartland of Vietnam
The Mekong River starts in the Himalayas, passes through China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia before reaching Vietnam. When flows to Vietnam, the river divides into 9 branches and created a vast delta region, so it was called
“Nine-dragon Delta” (Cuu Long) by the locals.
Thanks to the river, this land has become prosperous, especially for agriculture. Although the Mekong Delta is mostly rural, it plays a very important role in Vietnam’s economy, as it has always been the country’s largest producer of rice, seafood, and fruit.
A multi-religious region
This delta was inhabited in the 18th century by a combination of four ethnic groups: Vietnamese, Khmer, Chinese, and Cambodian. It is also home to many religions such as Buddhism, Cao Dai, Catholicism, etc. The people here have strong religious beliefs and live together harmoniously. The Mekong Delta is full of cultural experiences with temples, ancient architecture, folk songs, and more.
For those seeking some peace, this delta offers plenty of temples with diverse architectural styles.
Vinh Trang Temple (My Tho) is a name which is included on almost all Mekong tour itineraries.
Rural life revolves around the river
Famous for life revolving around the river, the Mekong Delta has many villages that are accessible by rivers. The people prefer to take boats on the canals rather than by road. During thousands of years, their lifestyle still remains and is a characterized culture. Escape the modern cities and see a different side of southern Vietnam, a trip to the Mekong Delta is worth a visit!
Many travel options for you to choose
Renowned for its fresh air and picturesque countryside, the Mekong Delta is home to a lot of things to see and activities to do. Among the highlights, a trip which includes its main towns:
My Tho - Ben Tre - Can Tho - Chau Doc is usually the first popular tour. The delta is so large that you need to spend about 4-5 days covering it all depend on your transportation.
Travel-note: Normally, you will need at least 2 days to experience Mekong's highlights. But if you only have one day, we recommend exploring around My Tho - Ben Tre.
Really convenient to travel
Only 2 hours from Vietnam's largest city by car or local bus, the Mekong Delta used to be considered as a tour from
Ho Chi Minh City, like a one-day get-away. Nowadays, tourists are interested and spend more time on it. There are also daily direct flights from Hanoi, Danang, and Saigon to Can Tho airport, so you can save a lot of travel time.
Travel-note: Phu Quoc island and Phnom Penh have the most connection with the Mekong Delta. By air or boat, travelers can reach to Phu Quoc very easily. As for Phnom Penh, you can only take the speed boat from Chau Doc with 6 hours.
Cruising - a tourist favorite
There are several ways to tour this region, but travel by cruise ship is one of the favorites. They will take guests from the Saigon River to the Mekong Delta, giving you the opportunity to see excellent views of the landscape. Most of the cruise itineraries include the highlights of the Mekong and extend tours to Cambodia. The cruise ship offers good accommodation with pools, restaurants, etc., and will enrich your stay in the Mekong Delta.
Floating market is the highlight
In recent years, floating market tourism has been regarded as an attractive form of tourism in the Mekong Delta. Even so, the markets are still the charm of a long-standing culture, not on display for the benefit of tourists. Every morning, hundreds of boats gathered on the water surface, each sells a particular product. Once you’re there, besides seeing how bustling the floating market is, you have a chance to taste many delicious foods right on the boat.
Two most famous floating markets
There are many floating markets in the region, but the most famous ones are
Cai Rang and Cai Be. As the biggest one, Cai Rang is 6 km away from the center of Can Tho and more than 3 hours from Saigon by car/bus. Since it starts early in the morning (from 4:00 to 8:00 am), you won't have the option of seeing it as a day tour from Saigon and have to spend the night in Can Tho. In contrast, Cai Be is located in Tien Giang province and is closer than Cai Rang, if you are planning a short trip, make sure that you add it to the travel list.
Travel-note: Although Cai Be floating market runs through until the afternoon, the best time to explore the floating market is about 5-6 am.
Boat rides on canals
The Mekong Delta is a vast maze of rivers, swamps, and islands. The people here prefer to take a boat than the road. Traveling through the canals by small boats is a popular activity that is guaranteed to wow visitors. Tourists can join in this activity at Ben Tre or Can Tho.
Travel-note: The picture above with the palm tree covering the head is Ben Tre - the kingdom of coconut. The canals in Can Tho have more fruit trees.
Visit the vast of orchards
When it comes to the South-western of Vietnam, people often think of the fruitful orchards. For fruit-lovers, this region is a paradise, tourists will have the opportunity to enjoy the experience of harvesting fresh fruit and taste them right in the orchards. Some famous orchards are Cai Be and Vinh Kim (Tien Giang), My Khanh (Can Tho), An Binh (Vinh Long), Cai Mon (Ben Tre), etc.
Enjoy regional cuisine
The Mekong Delta is abundant and diverse, so it also offers a wide range of foods. Delicious cuisine is another highlight of this magical region. Must-taste Mekong Delta food includes Rice noodles soup (Hu tieu), Fried elephant ear fish, Coconut leaf cake, Khọt cake, Lẩu mắm, Pía cake...Try it and learn about the place through your stomach!
Get a closer look at the local lifestyle
If you really want to understand this region, a homestay is a truly memorable experience. No shopping centers or heavy traffic, overnight at a local gives you a chance to feel the atmosphere of rural life. The accommodations in Mekong Delta are mostly very basic and also cheap. You can rent a bicycle to explore areas around the homestay, watch people live their daily lives in a traditional way, and enjoy a peaceful view.
Travel-note: Many tourists choose to stay at a homestay in Ben Tre, Cai Be, Can Tho, Chau Doc for easy to visit famous places.
Super amazing trip with us!
The Mekong Delta welcomes you any time of year, even when it rains, you will still see interesting aspects of local life. So, if you are looking for a truly local adventure, it is the one for you. Pay a visit to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and it’ll be a unique visit!
Location: known as the South-western Region of Vietnam with 40,500 square kilometers
Popular activities: explore the floating markets and fruit orchards, visit the pagodas and traditional villages, etc.
Must-visits: Cai Rang and Cai Be floating market, Vinh Trang pagoda, coconut factory, and so on
Time needed: 2-3 days, depending on your itinerary. Great place for family tours.