As conflicting as our experiences in Vietnam were – one travel destination managed to really inspire us: The Mekong Delta. The river delta at the southernmost tip of the country is somehow different from the rest: authentic, likeable, relaxed. Not to forget, of course, the lush vegetation shaped by water – the Mekong Delta is definitely worth a trip for the landscape alone.
The life of the people in the Mekong Delta takes place on and near the water. And that is exactly what makes this region so unique and special. We believe that no trip to Vietnam should be without a visit to the Mekong Delta. Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong Delta, is the ideal starting point for exploring the river delta.
What exactly awaits you in Can Tho, which highlights you must not miss and what a visit to the famous floating markets looks like, we will tell you in this blog article.
1. Can Tho in the Mekong Delta: First info & FAQs From the concrete jungle of Saigon to the lush green, widely branched river landscape of the Mekong Delta. In the south of Vietnam, the Mekong, the mighty lifeline of Southeast Asia, fans out into a network of arms and canals before it flows into the South China Sea. This river delta is considered to be extraordinarily fertile. In the midst of rice fields, palm groves and mangroves you quickly get a feeling of relaxation and deceleration.
The Mekong Delta can also be different: the big ones Cities of the delta – especially Can Tho – are more urban than expected. With over a million inhabitants, Can Tho is actually one of the largest cities in Vietnam. Once you leave the city centers and head onto the rivers and canals, the true, laid back and lush green Mekong Delta awaits.
What can I experience in Can Tho and in the rest of the Mekong Delta? The most well-known tourist highlight in the Mekong Delta is a visit to the floating markets. As the name suggests, these are markets that take place on the water. The main floating markets around Can Tho are Cai Rang and Phong Dien. We will tell you our personal experiences and tips for visiting these two floating markets later in this blog article.
Where is Can Tho and how do I get there? The Mekong Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam. Its largest and most important city is Can Tho. You could call Can Tho something like the capital of the Mekong Delta. Can Tho is located approximately 13 kilometers south-east of Saigon.
Usually you can get to Can Tho (or other places in the Mekong Delta) by bus. For the route from Saigon to Can Tho you have to plan about 4 hours – sometimes it’s faster, sometimes it takes longer. One of the most famous bus companies is Phuong Trang (Futa Bus Lines). Their buses to Can Tho start in Saigon at the Mien Tay bus station and run regularly every hour during the day. Tickets cost approximately 25. VND.
Should test if you come from the north of Vietnam, you can also arrive by plane. Can Tho has an airport that is served by Vietnam Airlines, among others, from Hanoi.
Can I visit the Mekong Delta as a day trip from Saigon ? Yes, that’s possible in principle – but we would definitely not recommend it. For a On day tours you usually head for destinations in the northern Mekong Delta. Don’t get to Can Tho as it would just be too far for a day trip.
Additionally, visiting the floating markets at dawn is most impressive. Then mostly locals are out and about. Later in the morning, when the tour groups reach the market, the experience is far less impressive. In order to get an authentic insight into life in the Mekong Delta, you should definitely stay overnight – several nights would be better.
We ourselves stayed two nights in Can Tho and two more nights in Ben Tre – a total of four nights. And to be honest: We found even that to be rather tight. We would have liked to have made a stopover in Tra Vinh.
2. Tour to the floating markets of Can Tho: Our personal experiences & tips The highlight in Can Tho is a visit to the floating markets. They are located in the vicinity of Can Tho and can best be visited as part of a guided excursion. Because the peak time on the markets usually ends before 8 a.m., it is really worth starting early here.
Booking, costs & Information at a glance We decided on a private tour, with just the two of us, a guide and a boat driver were there. Our tour included a visit to the two most famous floating markets (Cai Rang and Phong Dien) followed by lunch. It started early in the morning at around 5 a.m. We were back around noon. Altogether we were on the road for about seven hours.
We booked this highly recommended tour with Ms. Ha. She runs a guesthouse in Can Tho, the Thanh Ha Guesthouse. We did not stay there but booked the tour through Ms. Ha as she was recommended to us. We encountered Ms. Ha along the waterfront. (We asked for her on site and found her within a very short time.) Otherwise you can of course just drop by the guesthouse and book the tour there. The price for the private tour is around 05 Euro per person.
Procedure & personal experience report on visiting the floating markets After all the “dry Of course we would also like to write tips based on our personal experiences. Our adventure started very early in the morning. The iPhone showed 02: 10 o’clock when we walked out of our accommodation in Can Tho, sleepy and overtired, and were warmly welcomed by our guide. We liked the student Wing from the first moment. Her amiable, exuberant manner removed the last traces of our tiredness.
We walked together with her to the boat, crossing a market. It was the first time that day that we couldn’t help but be amazed: What a hustle and bustle at this time! “Tea or coffee?” Due to various previous experiences with Vietnamese coffee, we chose tea. Our boat driver brought us the tea in the plastic cups typical of Southeast Asia. The situation felt authentic. The boat departed.
Cai Rang Floating Market Our first destination was the Cai Rang floating market. A floating market. These two words had a rather negative connotation since our experience in Thailand: After we had been smuggled through the tourist market near Bangkok, we took some time away from other floating markets.
We reached Cai Rang at about six o’clock in the morning. From afar we could already see the outlines of the Boats in the fog, heard the diffuse voices of the Vietnamese. The closer we got to the tumult, the clearer we saw a picture that we had never seen before in this form.
Locals haggled, negotiated, shouted, threw goods from one boat to another. Some, completely unperturbed by the din, slept on the decks of their boats. Children did gymnastics, jumped around on the boats. And in the midst of this crowd: Both of us, Wing and our boat driver, who expertly chauffeured us through the boat anthill.
We stopped here and there on, tried to realize what was happening. Wing told us exciting details: For example, the goods for each boat are presented on a long pole so that the buyer can head for the right boat. In the meantime the sun had risen and it was getting light. The hazy morning fog had disappeared and gave way to the warming rays of the sun. The dealers became a little calmer and more relaxed over time. We realized that peak time would soon be over.
Phong Dien Floating Market We were already on our way to the second floating market in the area, Phong Dien Market. Meanwhile, our boat driver got us a pineapple, which the four of us ate. We could get used to the many delicious fruits! Arriving at the market, we mingled with the countless small rowing boats.
Unlike the market of Cai Rang, only small boats can be found here together . This brings you even closer to the action: we kept colliding with other boats and many people used our boat as a way to get to another.
Lunch in a small village “Are you hungry?” Although it’s not even 10 o’clock in the morning growled our bellies like crazy. That’s what happens when you’ve been up since 5am! How good that Wing suggested we have lunch. The way to the small, family-run restaurant led through the countryside.
We met a little boy who was playing with a puppy. We stopped and chatted with him for a moment. Luckily, Wing was able to translate what was said. When we said goodbye and were already about a hundred meters away, we suddenly heard footsteps behind us: the little boy came running up with a huge branch. “It’s a present,” Wing said. Only now did we notice the small berries on the branch. A little skeptical as to whether the berries were even edible, we tried one. Not that bad. But now we definitely had to have something warm!
In the restaurant we tried Banh Xeo for the first time, a specialty of the Mekong Delta that we tasted during got to know and love during our trip to Vietnam. Banh Xeo are thin crepes made from rice flour filled with a variety of ingredients. You eat it by rolling some of the crepe and some filling with lots of herbs in a lettuce leaf – really delicious!
Return to Can Tho With full bellies we made our way back to the boat. We were overwhelmed by the variety of new impressions. On the hour-long drive back we just sat there, thoughtful, almost apathetic. It must have seemed a bit like we were sad. We think Wing was pretty scared we wouldn’t have liked her. But in reality the day simply overwhelmed us.
3. Overnight stay in Can Tho: Our hotel tips possibility 1: In a quiet area outside the center Many people who travel to Can Tho or the Mekong Delta would like to be in a rural or authentic environment as possible stay. in you In this case we can recommend the Binh Minh Eco Lodge. This idyllic accommodation is located directly on the banks of the Mekong – wonderful! The entire complex is a real feel-good place.
The rooms are very comfortably furnished and the beds are comfortable. The friendly and courteous staff makes your stay even more pleasant. Although Binh Minh Eco Lodge is outside of Can Tho, a free shuttle boat will take you in just minutes to the center. Our conclusion: perfect for anyone looking for peace and quiet, but who still doesn’t want to spend the night completely off the beaten track.
You can book the hotel here: Binh Minh Eco Lodge
Option 2: In the center of Can Tho Would you rather live in the center? Then we can recommend the Midmost Boutique Hostel. Don’t worry – it’s a hostel, but there are plenty of double rooms with private bathrooms. The hostel is fairly new and very modern in design. In addition, the price-performance ratio is unbeatable.
You can book the hotel here: Midmost Boutique Hostel
Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!2014
Have you been to Can Tho before? or somewhere else in the Mekong Delta? How was your experience? Do you have any other tips? Or would you also like to travel the Mekong Delta and still have questions? We look forward to your comment!2020