The mighty Mekong River flows from its source in Tibet to the Mekong Delta in south-west Vietnam where it empties into the South China Sea. On its way it travels through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia providing water for millions of people along its route. The Mekong Delta region produces more than a quarter of Vietnam’s agricultural output and over half of its rice crop. The region is made up of a vast network of distributaries where life is almost exclusively focused on the water. Visitors to the region can enjoy a glimpse of this local life on boat trips to floating markets and fish farms which are undoubtedly amongst the top tourist experiences in Vietnam.
Getting Around in the Mekong Delta
All the transport for day trippers and people on group excursions from Ho Chi Minh City will be organised by the tour company. Independent travellers can easily get around the region on public buses or by hiring drivers locally for transfers or day excursions. The highlight of the Mekong Delta is its riverlife so taking day trips on the water is the best way to truly get a feel for the region. Group and private tours are widely available from all the delta’s riverside locations. Within towns it’s usually easy enough to get around on foot or you can hire a bicycle or moped to travel a little further afield.
Top Destinations in the Mekong Delta
My Tho: Due to its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City this is the most visited city in the Mekong Delta which attracts many tour groups every day. It provides a minor glimpse of the region for those who don’t have the time or the inclination to delve any deeper into the Delta. Typical tours include a visit to the city market and a Buddhist temple together with a boat trip on the local waterways. Other interesting sights to the south include the fruit orchards of Ben Tre and the beautiful Khmer temples of Tra Vinh.
Vinh Long: Lying 70km west of My Tho this busy transport hub is one of the best places in the Mekong Delta for taking boat trips. The main destinations for such trips include the Cai Be Floating Market and An Binh Island which is a popular spot for homestays.
Can Tho: A further 70km to the south-west leads to the Mekong Delta’s main city which is a great base from which to discover the region. The city itself is a pleasant place to stay with plenty accommodation and restaurants. There are few sights of note within the city but it serves as a great place from which to take a boat trip along the extensive river network and discover what life is like for many people in this part of the world. The highlight of many such trips is to the Cai Rang Floating Market which is the largest in the whole Mekong Delta. The boat trips from Can Tho leave before sunrise for the 40-minute journey to the market which begins trading at around 4am and ends at 10am. It’s an early start but well worth the effort as this is one of the most memorable things you’re likely to do in the whole of Vietnam.
Other destinations in the south of the delta include the town of Soc Trang from where you can discover the region’s Khmer temples, Ca Mau with its mangrove forest and bird reserves and the border town of Ha Tien from where you can cross into Cambodia or take a ferry to Phu Quoc Island.
Chau Doc: Standing close to the river border with Cambodia, some 120km north-west of Can Tho, this friendly town is well worth a visit. Whilst the town itself has a vibrant, local market and some interesting temples the main activity for visitors is a boat trip to the nearby floating market and some fish farms. The main nearby attraction is the 230 metre high Sam Mountain which offers spectacular views of the surrounding paddy fields from its summit.
Arriving in the Mekong Delta
By Boat: Travellers who have previously been in Cambodia can take a boat from Phnom Penh which arrives in Chau Doc in the west of the Mekong Delta.
By Plane: Flying directly into Can Tho International Airport is a great way to arrive in the Mekong Delta. There are frequent arrivals from Hanoi and other domestic airports as well as international flights from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. The airport lies just 10km to the north-west of downtown Can Tho which serves as a great base from which to explore the region. There are also flights to Phu Quoc Island but you’ll need to then take a ferry to the mainland.
Airport Transfers: There is currently no public transport from the airport so airline passengers will need to take a taxi to their destination. Alternatively, you can pre-book a private transfer from Can Tho Airport with Shuttledirect. On arrival their driver will be waiting for you and can take you to any hotels in the city or the surrounding district.
About Shuttle Direct
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