Mekong Delta
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Mekong Delta Travel Guide

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Located in southwestern Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is also known as the ‘Nine Dragon River Delta’. Once you have been visiting Vietnam, you cannot miss this charming place. Covering an area of over 40,500 square kilometers (15,600 sq. mi), the Mekong Delta region has been formed as the 4,909-kilometer-long (3,050 mi) Mekong River approaches and discharges slit into the East Sea through a network of distributaries, running through six countries. The special location endows it with wet coastal geography, which makes it an important area of Vietnam’s agriculture and aquaculture. And the Mekong Delta is also dubbed the ‘Rice Bowl’ of Vietnam. 

More than that, this region is one of the most mysterious and fascinating destinations in Vietnam. In the water world carpeted in a dizzying variety of greens, you can see boats and markets floating upon the rivers and explore unique Vietnamese culture. It only takes about 3 hours by car from Ho Chi Minh City, easy for you to have a day trip from Vietnam’s largest city.

My Tho Floating Market
My Tho Floating Market

Top Things to Do in Mekong Delta

Explore Cai Rang Floating Market by Boat

Owning a water system of more than thousands of miles, the Mekong Delta attracts visitors not only for its rich water landscape but also for various special floating markets. Among them, Cai Rang floating market is at the top level. In fact, it is the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta area, where you can see clusters of boats floating on the river selling all kinds of local fruits and fresh vegetables. Opened in the early morning, Cai Rang floating market offers vivid local life scenes to you and the liveliest moment can be captured at about 5 am. Boats and barges burst with watermelons, pineapples, and some other tasty fruits. Hawkers in conical hats just yell their prices while customers are bargaining in the golden light.

Cai Rang Floating Market
Cai Rang Floating Market

Visit Vietnam’s Fourth-largest City, Can Tho

After Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong and Da Nang, Can Tho is Vietnam’s fourth largest city. Surrounded by a system of canals, it is also the main city of the Mekong Delta. The buzzing city boasts not only a lively waterfront but also sculpted gardens, tasty snacks, and charming homestays where you can enjoy a relaxing vacation with blissful water views. Can Tho is also the best base for you to depart to nearby floating markets. The largest one of them Cai Rang floating market is only 6 km (3.7 mi) away from the city.

Discover the Magnificent Vinh Trang Pagoda in My Tho

With a history of over 150 years, the mesmerizing Vinh Trang Pagoda is an iconic sight in the Mekong Delta, and even across the country. Featured with an enchanting mix of Eastern and Western architecture, the pagoda was built in the early 1800s. Composed of four interconnected sections, five magnificent buildings, 60 vivid statues, and 178 grand pillars, the pagoda surely showcases amazing architectural beauty and historical charm. Surrounded by a group of ornamental gardens, this is also an important Buddhist cultural relic.

Taste Juiciest Fruits at Cai Be Fruit Orchard

The Mekong Delta’s sublime tropical climate endows it with the most flourish and juiciest fruits and the region is in fact one of the largest fruit producers in Vietnam as it provides two-thirds of the fruits consumed throughout the country. Though tasting fresh fruits at floating markets is possible, no way can compare to enjoying the mouth-watering fruits directly picked from trees and biting them right then and there. Cai Be Fruit Orchard is the largest fruit orchard in the region, which offers all kinds of juicy tropical fruits, including longans, tangerines, guavas, grapefruits, and jackfruits. The best time to taste is summer when most of the fruits are ripe and ready for the most delicious flavor.

Enjoy Bird Watching at Tram Chim National Park

Situated in Dong Thap province, Tram Chim National Park occupies an area of about 7,500 hectares. As a paradise of birds in the Mekong Delta, the national park is home to more than 230 kinds of aquatic birds, and some of them are rare and endangered. No wonder it is an ideal place for bird watching. To watch birds in the park, you must take a boat trip which costs about 800,000VND per boat and the trip lasts around 30 min to 1 hour. Apart from bird watching, the park also offers rare white lotus that you can hardly see in other places. Admiring the elegance of the lotus petals and smelling the freshening aroma will create one of the most memorable experiences on your tour.

Try a Sampan Cruise

Once you have visited the Mekong Delta area, you cannot miss a sampan boat trip on the Mekong River as this is almost the best way to indulge yourself in the region’s intoxicating serenity. Hop on a traditional sampan boat by a local to float through emerald mangrove forests and discover the most authentic local lifestyle. The tourist attractions along both banks will offer you more than surprises. The two-day sampan cruise departs from Ho Chi Minh City, floats through the tangled canals in the Mekong River, passes by floating villages, and also stops by floating markets like Cai Be and Cai Ro along the way. It offers you a good chance to discover a distinct sense of tranquility in the Mekong Delta.

Mekong River Canoe
Sampan cruise along Mekong River

Mekong Delta Weather: Best Time to Visit Mekong Delta

Affected by the southwest and northeast monsoons, the weather in Mekong Delta is hot all year around. The temperature keeps between 25 °C (77 ℉) and 28 °C (82.4 ℉) most of the year and there are only a few days with a temperature below 20 °C (68 ℉). Generally, there are two main seasons in the region: the dry season between November and April; and the rainy season from May to early November.

The best time to visit Mekong Delta is usually in the dry season between October and February when the weather keeps pleasant and it rarely rains in this period. However, if you want to taste the freshest and juiciest tropical fruits, the summer time from June to September is most recommended.

Mekong Delta Transportation: How to Reach and Get around

How to reach Mekong Delta

The best way to arrive at Mekong Delta is from Ho Chi Minh City, the main gateway to south Vietnam. From HCMC to Can Tho, the distance is about 165 kilometers (103 mi) long.

By plane

Two airports are available in the Mekong Delta: one in Can Tho; and the other in Phu Quoc Island. Most people will take a direct flight from HCMC to Can Tho, which takes about 45 minutes for a single journey. A flight ticket costs around 600,000 VND (tax included).

By Bus

You can take Express Bus or Sleeper Bus. The duration is around 4 hours and the ticket prices range between 60,000VND and 120,000VND.

By cruise

It is also optional for you to take a cruise from Saigon to reach Mekong Delta. However, the high-class cruise experience may cost high, about 1,500,000 VND per person.

How to Get around Mekong Delta

With a slow pace of life, the Mekong Delta offers too much for visitors to experience, from floating markets, colonial towns, and mangrove forests, to meandering rivers and streams. Several days are worthwhile to spend exploring the local villages, floating markets, and national parks in the region. The best way to get around Mekong Delta easily and rewardingly is by boat. However, as most boat owners are not so good at English, a tour guide is recommended. Bicycles and motorbikes are also available to rent in this region to experience the slow pace of the locals.

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