Complete Guide to CAN THO and the MEKONG DELTA

(Update October 2018)

Going to the beautiful, fertile Mekong Delta is very easy while you are in Ho Chi Minh City. You can do it on your own since there are public buses going regularly. This way you can make your individual program – preferably to Can Tho, but it will take more time.


Floating market
Floating market on the mighty Mekong river.

There are leaving organized tours from HCMC daily – you can choose from a day trip to a stay / tour of a couple of days. I did a two-day tour, but if I had more time, I would have stayed at least one or two days longer.

Anyway, as always it starts with the annoying ‘who screws me over the least’-hunt. I guess you’ll get the best prices – about $ 35 for two days, accommodation included – at the backpacker’s district.

The Mekong at 4 a. m. – seen from my hotel room.

If you order e. g. over your hotel, you’ll pay much more, but you also get better service like nicer food and a more comfortable hotel.
I’m serious: At lunch, which is also included, they split up the group – those who paid less get just a plate of some curry, we who paid a bit more were lead to a special room where we were served different appetizers, crab, and a wonderful elephant ear fish.


Lunch at the Mekong Delta
Viet Nam’s famous elephant ear fish – and some fixings.

I initially had planned to do the tour on my own so I booked a hotel in Can Tho. After I made my mind up and went with a group, I kept my reservation and got a teeny discount on the tour; of course the cost of the hotel was much higher than the discount, but I didn’t regret one second: It was a 4* hotel with a swimming pool on the roof overlooking the mighty Mekong river, I had a fantastic breakfast buffet, and the hotel was located across the street from the famous morning market.


Hotel Pool at Can Tho
Hotel pool with a view – in the regular tour not included, but absolutely worth the extra money.

Some of the group had chosen the home stays that sounded fine and very Vietnamese, but nobody really liked it and the big disadvantage was that they stayed far out somewhere on the countryside so they couldn’t join the visit to the morning market.
However, I must say that wading ankle-deep through fish blood seeing frogs being skinned alive at 5 o’clock in the morning is not everybody’s cup of…blood.


Fish market Can Tho
Not for the faint-hearted: piles of all sort of (shell) fish – mostly still alive.


Market Can Tho
Vegetarian’s idea of hell: Can Tho market at 5 o’clock in the morning.

But this was just an optional thing. The regular program included a cruise over the Mekong, visits to some manufacturers (with the obligatory shopping opportunities…), lunch (where the group was divided in first and second class tourists as mentioned above) and rowing on a small creek.


The floating vendors are advertising their goods by tying them to a high stick – here it’s cabbage.


Row row row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily….


Riding the bike across a Garden Eden.

The visit to the famous Vĩnh Tràng Temple was far too short.


Vinh Trang Temple
Rushing through the Vĩnh Tràng Temple

Fewer manufacturers and more temple would have been appreciated – but that’s the problem with these tours. After all, for the price we paid the trip was excellent and we got a lot to see.

The next day there was the optional visit to the bloody market, an extended visit to the floating market, a trip to more manufacturers and great cycling through the sumptuous fields and gardens of the delta.


Floating market
Floating market on the Mekong river.


Man with rouster
Eye to eye with the Mekong Delta’s rural life.


Do you want to read about all the other beautiful places I’ve visited in Viet Nam? 
Then go to the main post and take your pick!

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