Mekong Delta Travel Guide: Best Things to Do & Places to Visit
Mekong Delta (Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long in Vietnamese) is a network of distributaries in Southwestern Vietnam, between Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia. Mekong river starts in the Himalayas and passes through China, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia before reaching Vietnam, which partly explains why the waters are so murky. More than half of Vietnam’s rice, fruits and fish comes from the Mekong Delta region. It’s vital to the Vietnamese economy and diet.
Mekong Delta covers an area of 40.000 km2 with population of about 22 millions people. Life in the area revolves around water, from the famous floating markets to the vast agricultural industries. An amazing variety of fruits, flowers and livestock grow in the region. The Mekong River Delta is the rice basket of Vietnam, providing the sustenance for millions.
Best places to visit in Mekong Delta:
For tourists, the Mekong Delta brings to mind floating markets and sampan rides through natural tunnels. Countless tour companies offer excursions into the region for tourists. Without a doubt, a day trip is better than not going at all, but we recommend you take some more time to visit as many of these places as you can.
- Mỹ Tho (Tien Giang Province):
We’ll start with the most visited city in the Mekong Delta. Hundreds, if not thousands, of tour groups come to this city every day. Besides their famous floating market, there are also some impressive pagodas and local orchards to visit. Most of the tourism in this city is packaged by the local tourism bureau.
Vinh Trang Pagoda in My Tho City - Tien Giang Province
Don’t expect to find much off-the-beaten track kinds of experiences here, as the destinations are all designed for day trippers. It takes about two hours to get here from Ho Chi Minh City by bus.
- Cái Bè (Tien Giang Province):
Cai Be is a district located in the western part of Tien Giang province, Vietnam, well-known for Cai Be floating market, which is typical of the southwestern river culture. Cai Be is the northern bank of My Thuan Bridge, the gateway to Vinh Long City and the whole Mekong Delta region.
Cai Be Floating Market - Ben Tre Province
You can do 2 day tours to have the full experiences of local life in here with local traditional crafts like: Brick Kilns, Sleeping Mat Making, Traditional Coconut and Rice Paper Making,... Spend a night in homestays on the island to have interaction with local will be the best experience so far.
- Cần Thơ (Can Tho City):
Cần Thơ is the biggest city in the Mekong Delta region and home to the Cái Răng floating market, which really is an amazing sight. There are hundreds of boats packed with more varieties of fruits than you ever thought possible, and a dazzling assortment of flowers. Although Cần Thơ is a large, somewhat industrialized city, it also serves as the cultural center for the surrounding rural areas.
Cai Rang Floating Market - the Biggest Market in Mekong Delta
The nice thing about this city is you can get the best of both worlds: comfortable accommodations in the city center, with easy day trips available to head out and see the picturesque agricultural communities. There aren’t the dance clubs and cocktail bars like those you’d find Ho Chi Minh City, but the nightlife is surprisingly vibrant. It takes approximately four hours to get to Cần Thơ from Ho Chi Minh City by bus.
- Sóc Trăng (Soc Trăng Province):
Sóc Trăng is home to the largest population of Khmer people outside of Cambodia, which is why this city has an interesting cultural feel to it that’s different from the Vietnamese cities in the area. The best examples of Khmer culture are the Clay and Bat pagodas, both famous for their intricate designs.
Dơi Pagoda - Soc Trang Province
This city may not have many flashy things to do, but those who prefer a relaxed experience will enjoy the calm vibes here, especially in the rice paddies that surround the city. If you’re in the area around November or December, be sure to check out the Oc Om Boc festival.
- Cần Giờ Biosphere Reserve:
The Cần Giờ Biosphere Reserve is listed by UNESCO, valuable for its rich mangrove forests and wetland ecosystems. This biosphere reserve also helps to protect the region from corrosion. Without it, a lot of rich agricultural land would wash out to sea.
Cần Giờ Biosphere Reserve - Ho Chi Minh City
There are many tours available to the biosphere reserve, and since it’s so near to Ho Chi Minh City, it makes for a great day trip or a starting point for your trip through the Mekong River Delta.
- Châu Đốc (An Giang Province):
For those of you making your way between Vietnam and Cambodia, Châu Đốc is an easy stop along the route. It’s known for its religious and ethnic diversity, which includes Khmer, Chinese, Cham and Vietnamese people.
Ba Chu Su Temple - Chau Doc City (An Giang Province)
Like most of the Mekong Delta, the surrounding areas are lush with rice paddies and spectacular rural scenes. For a real treat, stay at the Victoria Nui Sam.
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