Mekong Delta Overview
Known as “the rice bowl of Vietnam”, Mekong Delta provides more than half of rice and three-fourths of fruit for all the regions in the country. Lying beside the Mekong river, this vital delta is not only vital to the economy and diet but also a fascinating destination for ecotourism thanks to the interesting contrast between bustling commerce and the languid pace of rural life.
One fun fact is that the Vietnamese name of the Mekong river is “Song Cuu Long” (Nine-Dragon River). It is because after this mighty 4,909-km-long river runs through six countries (starting from China), it splits into 9 branches before pouring into the East Sea, and the local people relate them to 9 dragons.
Mekong Delta Overview
These branches form a continuously expanding sediment bank in Southwestern Vietnam. Thanks to the abundant silt that the river branches provide, the Mekong Delta area owns a sophisticated waterway system and one of the largest areas of agriculture in Vietnam.
Only about 3 hours to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong Delta, this land attracts millions of tourists to visit its dizzy array of greens in the water world, not to mention the numerous canals, rivers, and streams that intersect on the landscape like arteries. You can even broaden your knowledge while visiting luxuriant fruit orchards, float markets, mangrove forests, Buddhist temples, and Khmer pagodas on off-coast islands.
Moreover, life here mainly takes place on the water’s surface so a genuine visit to this lovely land is a cruise or boat trip. A tour of the Mekong Delta is the absolute highlight of your journey through South Vietnam!
Famous Tourist Destinations in Mekong Delta
Want to try the feeling of floating on the water, while you can still buy fruit, local cuisine, and even a delicious coffee cup? Come and immerse yourself in the floating markets in Mekong Delta - the only area to visit floating markets in Vietnam.
Crisscrossed by rivers and rivulets. the regions of the Mekong Delta are easier to access by waterways in general, and it is the most important element to nurture the floating markets. Different from the Thai Lan floating market, the floating markets are still the main way for Mekong Delta locals to trade and live their daily life.
When visiting these unique markets, you can easily see hundreds of vendors crowding the river, boats loaded with astonishing tropical fruits and vegetables, as well as clothes and wholesale food products. Some smaller boats sell breakfast, coffee, and souvenirs to tourists.
Sometimes you can hear traders singing traditional music, and chatting about their daily life with the nearby “neighbors” when waiting for customers. They usually hang a sample of their purchased goods on a bamboo pole called “Cay Beo” instead of shouting to invite customers to buy.
Floating Market in Mekong Delta
So be like a local villager, buying a simple breakfast or some fruit on a boat, and for a more interesting experience, try bargaining! A tip for you is to use Vietnamese to bargain, can’t guarantee success but you will definitely see a laugh from the seller.
Some of the most famous and busiest floating markets in the Mekong River Delta trips are Chau Doc, Cai Rang, Phong Dien (Can Tho), Cai Be,... It is recommended that you wake up early to enjoy the fullest experience in floating markets, as they usually start at 4 AM and are the most bustling until 7 AM. This is also the shortest way for you to explore the unique cultural features and lifestyle of the local people.
Tram Chim National Park
Located in Dong Thap province, close to the cities of Chau Doc and Long Xuyen, Tram Chim National Park is one of the best national parks in Vietnam. What makes this destination attractive is that it houses no less than ¼ bird population in Vietnam.
The National Park is an amazing place for bird spottings (rare birds, their natural habitat) and exploring submerged in-land ecosystems. This is also a common spot in many boat trips cruising along the Mekong River.
Besides this biological treasure house, Bang Lang stork garden in Can Tho Province is another must-see attraction to admire the wildlife of the Mekong Delta. This is one of the best stock sanctuaries, surrounded by immense rice padding fields along with interlacing canals in Can Tho.
Water Lily season in Tram Chim National Park
Tropical Fruit orchards
Are you seduced by the unique and rich taste of tropical fruit? Then the Mekong Delta must be heaven for you! Providing more than 70% of fruit consumed in Vietnam, Mekong Delta is proud of numerous fruit orchards spreading across many provinces.
Hectares of fertile soil here are vastly cultivated year-round to grow rambutans, durians, jackfruits, and mangosteens,... The pleasant tropical climate also contributes to the diversity of fruits. Visiting the orchard, you will have the feeling of endless fruit season and always green vegetation.
Tropical Fruit Orchards in Mekong Delta
You can explore fruit orchards with a bike or boat. Many Mekong Delta homestays provide bike and boat services, or you can choose tours to help you explore the orchards in the most enjoyable ways: broaden your knowledge of exotic fruit and learn how to pick fruits, and even pick your own fruit to eat right in the gardens.
Some of the famous fruit orchards are Cai Be Orchard, Tien Giang, Phong Dien, My Khanh Orchard, Can Tho, Ben Tre,...
Temples and Pagodas
Mekong Delta is more than a giant fruit orchard or floating market of the country, its charm also comes from a large number of temples and pagodas - where tourists can admire the complex carvings and ancient architecture while learning about the local culture behind the myths and folklores.
Sam Moutain, Chau Doc is a must if you want to visit a complex including dozens of pagodas, tombs, and temples. On the way to the top of this hill, you can also marvel at the beautiful view of rice fields, surrounding greenery, and pole villages.
Vinh Trang Pagoda, My Tho, Mekong Delta
Another choice for your religious itinerary is Vinh Trang Pagoda - one of the most famous ancient pagodas in the Mekong Delta. Located about 3 km from the city of My Tho, Tien Giang Province, the architectural design combines Chinese, Vietnamese and Angkor (Cambodian), and European styles, creating a splendid beauty, solemn but gorgeous.
Altogether with various Buddha statues, the pagoda creates harmonious pictures illustrating the Buddism legendaries.
Unlike most tourist spots, you don’t need to pay for an entrance ticket, but donations are welcome. Another tip for you is to dress formally and remove your shoes before entering prayer halls.
Weather in Mekong Delta
The weather for Mekong Delta travel is pleasant all year round, even if you travel in the rainy season, you can still see interesting aspects of this watery region. However, it might be the most crowded time for tourism from May to August, as the orchards are full of ripened fruit at this time of the year. To avoid heavy rains or floods, you can spend time exploring other destinations in Vietnam from September to November.
From November to February, Mekong Delta local people celebrate the end of the year and welcome a new start with various events and festivals. If you travel here in November, you should join Ob Bom Boc Festival. This festival is one of the largest ones that gather the Khmer community from all over Vietnam and even Cambodia for boat racing on the Soc Trang River.
Ob Bom Boc Festival
These races are held according to the lunar calendar on the 15th day of the 10th moon (usually in November). If you want to see how the locals prepare their Tet Holiday, come and visit around February to see flowers everywhere, along with special dishes that are made only during this time of the year.
Transportation in Mekong Delta
How to get there?
There is a domestic airport in Can Tho with daily flights in different time frames so you can easily transit from big cities in Vietnam. The most common routes are traveling to Can Tho Airport from Ho Chi Minh International Airport, Hanoi International Airport, and Danang International Airport.
With a total number of 12 provinces, Mekong Delta has a convenient system of buses. The most usual route is from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho and it takes 3 hours to reach. It might seem long but the scenery is stunning and inspiring on both sides of the road.
This transportation is surely a favorite for groups and families. Private car service stands out with superior comfort and convenience, and the drivers can pick up and drop off flexibly.
Vietnam Airport Car can offer you rides to Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh Airport or any other airport in Vietnam for competitive costs and a flexible schedule.
Private Car and Airport Transfer in Vietnam
After arriving at the delta, a popular way to discover the land is by tour. This is a recommended option if don’t have much time, or don’t want to plan the itinerary all by yourself. We offer some best Mekong Delta tours scheduled by insight experts and can tailor-make the most suitable tours for you.
How to get around?
Although recent road improvements and bridge construction reduce water travel, the boat is still a unique and genuine way to explore the land. Sitting on the ferry or small boat, you can travel around the small waterways, visiting floating markets and hearing the appealing stories of the boatman to learn about the local culture of the Mekong Delta.
The bus connections are excellent in the Mekong Delta. Each city has a main bus station for both buses and minibusses. It is truly an interesting way to travel like the locals at an affordable price. However, watch out for luggage lost as there is no luggage storage; also the language barriers with the staff on the buses, and the chaotic noise of the crowds.
These are the most flexible vehicles to see the Mekong Delta as the roads here are mainly too small for cars. Move slowly through the weaving footpaths, over bridges made from bamboo and wide paddy fields and coconut groves, it is fun to bike along the maze of country roads. You can stop any time in the shade of a coconut tree or drop by a local vendor for fruit or a snack.
As some footpaths can’t be located on Google Maps and sometimes you might need to bring bikes or motorcycles onto ferries to travel across rivers, a guide is needed to show you the best routes. Many guided cycling tours around the Mekong Delta are available for tourists to choose from, and we also mention boat, bicycle, and motorcycle tours below.
Experience Beautiful Bicycles to Explore the Mekong Delta
Check out and contact us to pick the best bicycle or motorcycle tours to and around Mekong Delta, from quick day trips to longer adventures through this picturesque delta.
Accommodation in Mekong Delta
In general, every tourist province has plenty of choice in accommodation, whether you want to stay in fully-furnished hotels or hospitable homestays/guesthouses. (My Tho, Ben Tre, Can Tho)
Some hotels in Mekong Delta provide excellent services for a luxury holiday in this beautiful delta. Many of them are located in Can Tho, My Tho,... and excellent services are provided such as spa, sun terrace waterfront lounge, and helping organize itineraries to the floating market,...
These lodges also equip in-house restaurants where you can relish an array of local dishes which are well served by local chiefs.
Mekong Delta Nova Phu Sa Azerai Can Tho
Homestays in Mekong Delta are the best option to relax, enjoy the peaceful vibe of the region and learn about local culture.
Many tourists prefer this type of accommodation for a more personal experience when they get to stay with local families, but no lack of comfort as all the basic services are provided and some even have a swimming pool.
Homestay Nguyen Shack Can Tho
With the breathtakingly grand, powerful, and full of culture and life of the region, numerous daily Mekong tours are provided for tourists to explore this huge delta in the most effective way. Tourists once spent their vacation here sharing that boat over large rivers and small side channels.
Mekong Delta tours have too many attractions with breathtaking scenery and powerful culture, but the complicated waterway and road systems can confuse many tourists. Therefore, tours for travelers are a common way to see the region in the best way and optimize your time budget.
Floating over large rivers and small side channels, biking through the vast paddy fields, you can discover hidden gems of this delta and learn about the local cultural stories with knowledgeable tour guides.
Many think a short day tour from Ho Chi Minh city is enough to see Mekong Delta, but it might take more than one day if you wish to explore the floating markets, unique ecosystems, and various communities with their own way of living.
Mekong River Cruise
Spending a few days on a Viking Mekong river cruise, and traveling to and around the region on a cruise can give you the best of the cultural experience and high-class accommodation.
Day trips can be organized in Ho Chi Minh, My Tho, Cai Be, and Vinh Long,... while two-three day liveaboard trips are also available. More than a day on the Mekong River cruise will give you the chance to see the sunrise on rivers and floating markets early in the morning, sipping coffee while floating on water.
Many luxury Mekong river cruises equip onboard pools, game rooms, and restaurants,... guaranteeing a great experience for tourists.
Viking Mekong River Cruise
Besides traveling by scenic cruise, you can choose among many other transportations on the Mekong river tour. As waterways are the most common in the region, tourists can enjoy river tours with traditional sampan rowing boats, motorized sloops, and bicycles when stopping at fruit orchards.
Food in The Mekong Delta
Zigzagging the canals with a boat trip, you will get into a new world with shades of coconut forests, lush orchards, and rice fields. Local houses are also visible as they usually settle along rivers and canals.
River tours also include stops at local factories, villages, and fruit orchards, travelers can walk or travel by bicycle depending on the tour’s arrangement and their own preference.
Mekong Bike Tour
Whether you notice this or not, the Mekong Delta is flat like a pancake! With the road network connected to traditional sampan rowing boats, you can travel through villages, rice fields, local factories, and fruit orchards in the countryside. In addition to this, the traffic is light so it is best for bike tours.
Mekong Bike Tour
Some signatures in our bike tours are enjoying the beautiful landscape of the Mekong Delta, accompanied by a friendly and informative tour guide,...
Moreover, the tours will lead you to the fields, creeks, and gardens, and visit the local factory or wood workshop; get to visit the manufacturing area of herbal tea in Xuan Khanh, Ninh Kieu, Can Tho,...
Tours Depart to Mekong Delta
Mekong trip from Ho Chi Minh
You can easily find a Mekong Delta tour departing from Ho Chi Minh City.
Mekong Delta 1 day tour is quite common since you can still see some attractions of the Mekong Delta with a small budget of time. Some of the most popular places on day trips to the Mekong Delta are Vinh Trang pagoda, Cai Be Village, Cai Rang, and Phong Dein floating market,...
If you have more time to spare, don’t hesitate to book long-day tours so you can enjoy the charm of the Mekong Delta more completely, whether you take a Mekong panda river cruise or a boat trip.
Cu Chi tunnels and Mekong Delta tour
Cu Chi tunnels and Mekong Delta Tour
It will take you more than 1 hour to drive to Cu Chi tunnels from Ho Chi Minh City. Before exploring the underground, you will watch an introductory movie about how the tunnels were built and how the people survived the tough circumstances of war.
The remaining tunnel systems include special facilities like storage, weapon factories, field hospitals, and basic services like kitchens, and bedrooms to help whoever lives inside the tunnels survive.
Here you can admire the local army with many hidden traps for security purposes. You can even try a real shooting gun.
Mekong Delta cruise from Ho Chi Minh
A Mekong River Delta Cruise from Ho Chi Minh allows you to experience and enjoy this unique part of the world. Departing from the harbor of the city, you get to serve a diverse menu with local foods, and of course including vegan options.
Stops along the way to islands including Dragon Island, Unicorn Island, Phoenix Island, and Turtle Island, travelers will get off the cruise and ride rowboats through the green canals, visit gardens, beekeeping farms, handmade coconut candy workshop,... all the delightful attractions that would not typically be exposed to in your country.
From Mekong you can travel to many other destinations in the Southern part of Vietnam like Phu Quoc, Ca Mau,...
Going up north? Travel to Ho Chi Minh first and then transit will be easier. Another option for you is to take flights to Danang airport or Hanoi Airport from Can Tho airport.
Hope that you will have an amazing journey in Mekong Delta!