The Mekong River makes its way into the South China Sea in the Southern Region of Vietnam. Just before it empties itself into the sea, the river irrigates a vast delta, because of which the landscape here is a fertile region with sprawling mangrove forests and picturesque green rice fields. The 15,000 square metre delta is home to several riverside villages and floating markets. The best way to explore this is by taking a day cruise along the narrow canals of the Mekong River and exploring floating markets, fish farms, Buddhist temples, colonial structures, sample local fruits and coconut candy and learn about local handicrafts.

THINGS TO DO IN MEKONG DELTA

SIGHTSEEING

Cai Rang Floating Market – Can Tho: Cai Rang Floating Market is the most famous and also the most touristy floating market in Vietnam. You can visit Cai Rang Floating Market easily once arrived in Can Tho city. Cai Rang is a wholesale local market where farmers will hang their what they offer on a tall stick to let the buyers know. Some fruits of the land can be named as Nam Roi grapefruit, Vinh Long pink kiwi kumquat or Cai Mon durian. Visitors to Cai Rang market not only can watch the early activities of the locals but also can have breakfast right on the boat, dishes are mostly southern own noodle soups. Other snacks are also available like coconut-leaf-cake or corn or banana pancake.

Tra Su Cajuput Forest – An Giang: If you’re curious about what the wetlands of Mekong Delta look like, come to Tra Su Cajuput Forest – an ecotourism site turning green by the water ferns during the rainy season every year. The whole forest is flooded with green water, making an incredible sight especially when the sunlight reaches down the water surface. The forest is also the habitat for many colonies of water birds, bats and even rare and endangered animals and reptile species. Ecotourism: The Mekong Delta has the richest farmland in the country, which is why the area has been fought over by neighboring countries for thousands of years. The region offers some of the world’s most interesting eco tours of rice paddies, fruit orchards, flower growers, and riverbeds. Taking tours in this area supports the local economy and encourages responsible environmental stewardship.

Fruits in Cai Be Fruit Orchard – Tien Giang: Mekong Delta provides two-third of the fruit consumed throughout Vietnam, tasting the fruits should be while in Mekong Delta. The perfect places for that are the fruit orchards which can be found in most of the region. Cai Be Fruit Orchard is the largest fruit orchard in the delta, offers the tastiness of all kinds of tropical fruits. During your visit to the orchard, you can pick up the ripe fruit right off the trees and enjoy them.

Tram Chim National Park - Dong Thap: Tram Chim National Park is another kingdom of birds in Mekong Delta, located at Dong Thap province and can be easily reached by motorbike or car. Spanning over the total area of 7,500 hectares, Tram Chim National Park is home to 200 types of birds, of which many are rare and endangered. This number makes up a quarter of the bird population in Vietnam. Tram Chim Park is also the place you can see a large number of the rare white lotus in Vietnam.

Boat Cruise in My Tho : My Tho is just two hours from Saigon so it’s perfect for a cruise from the city. Regardless where you start the tour, the boat will take visitors to Dragon (Con Tan Long), Tortoise (Con Quy) and Unicorn (Con Thoi Son) islands. The first stop is local fruit orchards for visitors to taste the fruits like jackfruit, pomelo, guava, with perhaps some local drinks like tea. A short sampan boat ride through the thick leaves of coconut trees. You’ll visit a candy factory where candies made of coconut milk are too cheap and tempting to not buy. Lunch is also included in the Boat cruise to My Tho to it may be varied.

Vinh Trang Temple, My Tho: Vinh Trang temple is a very special temple in the whole region of Mekong Delta, covering an area of 2000sqm, adorned with the greenness of the trees and colors of the flowers. Built in 1849 in My Phong village, Vinh Trang is an excellent combination of European and Asian architecture styles. The splendid façade of the temple will give an impressive on you immediately. With five buildings, two ornamental yards, 178 pillars and two triumphal arches, Vinh Trang is a representative of the Buddhist temples in southern Vietnam.

Sam Mountain: Sam Mountain sits near the city of Chau Doc, and climbing the relatively small but stately peak is a cultural as well as scenic experience, as you will pass dozens of shrines, tombs, relief statues, and even a temple (the Phat Thay An Temple, at the base of Sam Mountain). The short climb is regarded as a pilgrimage for many Vietnamese and Chinese. At the top of the peak, there’s a small military outpost, where you can enjoy stunning views looking into Cambodia on one side and Vietnam on the other side.

Phu Quoc Island: Endowed with romantic and stunning white-sand beaches along with tropical jungles, Phu Quoc Island has become an ideal choice of Western expats and even domestic tourists for their holidays. Not only is the island is prominent in luxury resorts along Long Beach, but it is also blessed with isolated and charming places for exploring. Come to kayak in bays, dive to contemplate the beautiful reef, lough along the beach, and enjoy fresh seafood.



SHOPPING:

  • Sense City Mall: This should be your first stop when shopping in Can Tho. It’s packed with items ranging from clothing and cosmetics to health care and electronics. This popular shopping mall in Can Tho also has a movie theater where you can spend a couple of hours whenever you need a break from all the shopping you’ll do.
  • Central Market: The century-old Central Market is a charming shopping centre in Can Tho. It’s largely a produce market but it also has other interesting items like hats and baskets. Even if you don’t really want to buy anything, you should come here to see the local culture and way of life. It also has a lovely view of the Mekong Delta.
  • Cai Rang Floating Market: Experience the hustle and bustle that goes on at Cai Rang floating market, one of the largest of its kind in the Mekong Delta. The best way to see it is to go on a boat tour. Local produce is what you’ll find but smaller boats sell delicious eats like banh mi and bun rieu.
  • Tay Do Night Market: Night markets are a terrific place to see people in action. The experience of shopping in Can Tho is made even more exciting with a visit to Tay Do night market where sellers display their goods and music shows keep you entertained. You can find everything from clothes to trinkets here that would make perfect souvenirs to take back home.
  • Vincom Plaza: Vincom Plaza offers some of the best shopping in Can Tho. Restaurants, a movie theater and clothing stores are just some of the attractions; it also has a play area for kids so if you’re traveling with children, they’ll also have something to occupy their time. So, when you think you’re done loosening up your pocket, rest assured, and take a backseat at one of these entertainment spots along with your loved ones.

CUISINE:

Duong Dua (Coconut Larvae): Coconut Larvae is prohibited by local government. However, you still can try the dish cooked with Duong Dua if you really want. The most famous dish is raw coconut worms dipped in salty fish sauce. The young white milky coconut worms are kept alive, put in a bowl of fish sauce and eaten alive just like that. Despite how frightening it looks, Duong Duong taste so good with the greasy, rich flavor just like an slowly dissolving an egg yolk.

Hu Tieu My Tho: Originated from My Tho, Hu Tieu My Tho is a famous variation of Hu Tieu which is a very popular noodle soup in South Vietnam. The broth used in this soup is made from boiling pork bones and cooked with ground pork. The toppings are stir-fried ground pork, pig intestines, couple of prawns and finished with onions and bean sprouts. Come to My Tho to try this delicious bowl of noodle soup.

Bong Dien Dien (Dien Dien Flowers):Lau Ca Linh Bong Dien Dien – Freshwater Fish with River Hemp Flower Hot Pot When the rainy season comes to Mekong Delta, it's also the time for Dien Dien flowers bloom. The flower so familiar to Mekong Delta dwellers so that it appears on so many dishes from hotpot, salad to soup. The flower buds have light yellow color, taste sweet with a pleasant fragrance when cooked. Bong Dien Dien is often used in fish hotpot to complete the dish's taste as well as its appearance. The flowers are mostly grown by the locals but you still can find it in wet market.

Banh Pia (Pia Cake) : This is the most famous gift to bring back from Mekong Delta. Originated from Soc Trang, Pia Cake has conquered the whole country and even abroad with its addicting sweet taste and aromatic durian's fragrance. The cake is creamy, nutritious and you can't get enough of it after tasting the first time.

Noodle made from sliced flour in Ben Tre: This is a truly specialty of the western area of Viet Nam. The dish is made from rice flour and soup cooked carefully with duck meat and can be eaten with ginger fish sauce. The reason for the name “sliced flour” noodle is that people will use rice flour, molded according to each person's own recipe and then sliced into pieces.

Cá tai tượng chiên xù (Fried Elephant Ear Fish) Elephant Ear Fish, a weird name, right? It is called Elephant Ear Fish because it looks like the ears of an elephant. This is the food which is always introduced by every tour guide when they talk about food in Mekong Delta. Though you can have it in Ho Chi Minh City if you don’t have a chance to try it in Mekong Delta. The chief will fry the fish and to get the perfect taste of this food, you must wrap it with rice paper and dip it into the sweet and sour sauce that are made of garlic, chili, fish sauce, and tamarind sauce.

NIGHTLIFE:

  • Ninh Kieu Night Market: As the complex night market, Ninh Kieu is now situated at Tan An ward, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City, and opens from 4 PM to 4 AM next morning. However, several kiosks and stores often close before 12 PM. It becomes an attractive destination for both domestic and international tourists, thanks to its diverse and exotic goods, such as nice souvenirs, delicious food and a long pedestrian street.
  • Tay Do Night Market (Can Tho Night Market): Far 1 kilometers from the city center, Tay Do Night Market is located inside Can Tho International Exhibition. The market is previously the wholesale market where goods was transshipped with many locals and foreign partners. At present, it is not only the place for shopping, but also the stunning attraction for both locals and foreigners. If you have not bought fruits in the Ninh Kieu night market yet, then Tay Do will be another nice stopover that can satisfy your wish. Hundreds of fruits are sold and arranged with attractive colors, like the yellow of mangoes, the green of vegetables, the light red of apples, etc. Especially, these fruits and vegetable are mostly picked up within the day, so their freshness, sweetness and nutrition are highly ensured.
  • Tran Phu Night Market: While Tay Do and Ninh Kieu are in close proximity to each other, Tran Phu night market is situated in Cai Khe area at the end of Tran Phu Street where it meets Hau River Road. That’s why it is also named Cai Khe Night Market. Besides, the market also sells many kind of fresh seafood dishes, hotpot, snacks, etc. The area in front of the Nesta hotel is a snack area. Make sure that you have room for dessert, like fresh sugar cane juice, sweet gruel (chè), a giant cup of cut tropical fruits, and so on.

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Bus: Travelling by bus in Mekong Delta is quite convenient. There are numerous connections between most cities and towns. You can easily find a bus station in any towns or cities, take a bus and travel to everywhere you want. Nowadays, most buses are equipped with air-conditioner and comfortable seats.
  • Bicycle And Motorbike: It is also a great choice to travel along Mekong Delta by bicycle or motorbike. Thanks to the well-maintained roads and flat terrain, travelling around the Mekong Delta is quite easy. Travelling by bicycle and motorbike, you will have chance to witness daily life of locals as well as enjoy beautiful sceneries along the road. Hiring bicycle and motorbike service is quite available in Mekong Delta.
  • waterway: It can be said that the best way to explore Mekong Delta is travelling on waterway. Mekong River flowing through the southwestern of Vietnam has formed a complex system of channels. Travelling on small channels through dense mangrove bushes on the two sides on small boat and talking to friendly and humorous boat man will absolutely be unforgettable experience. You can get in the boat at boat stations along the Mekong River.