Mekong Delta vietnam, also called “Mien Tay” by the locals, is seemingly off-the-beaten-track to foreign tourists. Yet, Mekong delta vietnam floating market it turns out to be an ideal destination with many fascinating experiences. Discover Mekong Delta Vietnam beauty, culture, and cuisine, Visit the famous river, savor local food, explore Mekong delta floating market.
For those who plan to come here, the best things to do in Mekong delta river are taking boat trips along Mekong’s tributaries, trading in the floating markets, enjoying the flavor of fresh fruits, plus joining with the friendly Mekong delta river folks to feel comfortable and relaxed. Detailed descriptions of each will be provided in the following lines.
1. Enjoy the Mekong Delta vietnam cruise trip.
This area is completely cover with wetlands and freshwater rivers, indicating the importance of water travel. However, not everything makes sailing one of the best things to do. Apart from the fact that traveling by boat is fun and convenient, a cruise can also provide you with sightseeing and cultural experiences. Although the Mekong flows through Vietnam and creates a complex river system, life in the delta revolves around the river. On both sides, the landscape is a perfect blend of nature and humans; that’s why everyday life is strange. Also, traveling by boat does not mean that you only see from a distance.
A boat can take you to more places than you expect. Once you arrive at your destination, you can marvel at the landscape or even participate in an event. To enjoy the experience on a boat, you can book a Mekong cruise or a package tour that includes a cruise and its itinerary. Often, cruises will offer you an overnight experience with many activities related to the water and other areas, while a package tour will include a cruise as a day service, as well as many indoor or water activities.
On the other hand, if you want to participate in different activities to enjoy the beauty of nature and get closer to the locals, you can choose a travel package such as Mekong Delta Gateway 3 days or Insight Mekong Delta full day of costs about $200 per person.
2. Overnight in a homestay in Mekong Delta
Though there are homestays all around the country, those located on tranquil islands of the delta, surrounded by acres of orchards, and filled with welcoming smiles plus delicious home-cooked food, Mekong delta food are particularly attractive. Journey up the Mekong delta river for a homestay with a lovely local family, and you will learn about how life goes on every day and gain a real appreciation of why this area is know as the ‘rice basket of Vietnam.
During the daytime, you can join in cycling with the local children along the village’s paths to get to bustling markets, find some garden-fresh foods for yourself, and bargain with sellers to see how friendly the people here are. When dusk sets in, lying on a hammock, savoring the fresh juice, and seeing the sun go down from the riverbank will give you a sense of peace. At night, you can gather with the host’s family, talk to them while enjoying the home-cooked dinner. In general, homestay is a two-way cultural exchange as you can learn the local culture from your host and share yours with them.
This type of accommodation is available in most provinces of the Mekong delta vietnam river and ranges from $4.35 to $43.46 per night. You can freely choose the one that fits the bill to stay. However, choosing the right host Mekong delta food is difficult as many options can lead to different experiences that are not real. In this case, a Mekong Delta homestay tour will be more suitable as all activities are about to get you the best experience. For a 2-day with many activities included, you will only pay $166 per person.
3. Visit Mekong Delta floating markets
The delta is also famous for its floating markets. On arriving in the delta vietnam, you can start the motorized boat to visit the local floating market and experience how people exchange goods on the water. At 3.00 in the early morning, markets are filled with sounds of boats and people trading. All goods are transported to the market by boat and exchanged by being moved from one to another. Selling and buying are done right on the river. For everyone to know what is sold, sellers will suspend their products on the top of a long stick.
Mekong Delta local
The lively atmosphere is such that you should try it once in your life. Also, the floating market is clear proof of how attached the local life is to the Mekong River, so to learn more about the native culture, get here.
Some of the markets include:
- Cai Rang floating market (Can Tho)
- Cai Be floating market (Tien Giang)
- Nga Nam floating market (Soc Trang)
- Nga Bay/ Phung Hiep floating market (Hau Giang)
On visiting the market, you can buy fresh fruits or foods like bun Rieu, Mekong delta vietnam river banh mi and drinks like coffee, soy milk, coconut water for your breakfast as from 4 to 5 am is the recommended time to come here. The prices are reasonable. For example, a bowl of noodles will cost you only $0.65. Therefore, no need to bargain.
To visit floating markets, you will have to hire a boat in two ways. One is sharing a big boat with others when you come alone or with 1 to 2 friends. The other is hiring a private for your family and friends (10 to 12 people). Price varies from $15.21 to $39.11 per boat according to the number of passengers. Besides, the Mekong Floating market tours are available at about $168 per person for two days and many activities from Ho Chi Minh to Can Tho, hotel, transportation included.
Some things you have to take note of when traveling to floating markets are:
- Frequent weather checking
- Bargaining plus talking clear about the time and destinations when hiring a boat
- Combining the market with other destinations in your itinerary
- Ask for the price before eating anything as rip-off can still exist.
- For fresh fruits, getting to know about price or joining the following activity for a better experience.
4. Fruit Buffets in Mekong Delta vietnam Orchards
Thanks to the fertile alluvial soil and favorable climate, the delta is famous as the largest granary of fruits. This explained for which tasting the fruits is one of the best things to do in the area. All kinds of fruits are available in floating markets. However, the short season, along with the long process of picking and transporting, cannot allow those sold to you to stay Mekong delta food fresh like those hanging on the trees. Therefore, eating them right at orchards is the best way. Also, the activity is a part of agro-ecological tourism, known as one of the solutions for sustainable tourism development. By taking part in it, you can reduce traditional tourism’s negative impacts on the environment.
Suggestions for visiting fruit orchards include.
- Phong Dien (Can Tho)
- Cai Be (Tien Giang)
- Tan Quy (Tra Vinh)
- Tam Binh (Vinh Long)
- Cho Lach (Ben Tre)
When you arrive at the orchard, just walk in, pick, and freely eat the fruit which you want. All picked fruits must be eaten right away so that their taste can remain sweet and fresh. You can simply sit under the shade and enjoy your garden-fresh, delicious fruit buffet. In particular, some orchards will offer cozy rest areas for eating and sipping teas. At others, drink and food made from fruits are also available for purchase, including many specialties of the Mekong delta river region.
The set price allows fruit lovers to stay all day, from 7 am to 8 pm as the open time, and eat as much as they want. For some people, it is not the fruits but the peaceful atmosphere that attracts them.
5. Taste Mekong Delta local foods
Vietnamese cuisines are excellent, and that of Mekong delta river vietnam is no exception. Therefore, tasting the foods is one of the best things to do in the area. Like many others, the delta is not famous for its luxury dishes but its local foods. On coming here, you should never miss tasting Hu Tieu, Bun Rieu, Pia Cake, Vietnamese pancake, and of course Coconut Larvae for those brave enough.
One thing about the foods here is that they can be made with any ingredients available in nature. Sometimes, you will hear about flower dishes like common sesban, sesbania, or flower hotpot. They may sound strange but are really good.
Apart from the low cost of $0.65 to $4.35 per dish, Mekong delta vietnam food tasting local foods in the delta will give you an even more fascinating experience than in any other place. Instead of sitting on the street, you can settle on a floating boat in the market and enjoy your delicious dishes.
To enjoy Mekong Delta local foods, you can get to any floating market within the area. However, the markets are held early in the morning, so it will only serve breakfast. For other meals of the day, you can come to markets and restaurants in the local village. For some certain dishes, recommendations are:
- Banh beo at Hang Bong market (My Tho)
- Hu tieu at Chu 5 Hoa restaurant (My Tho)
- Baked rolls at Thanh Van restaurant (Can Tho)
- Crab hotpot at Co Ut restaurant (Dong Thap)
If you are still in two minds of where to eat during your trip, you can go on a Mekong package tour with a meal included for around $100 per person.
6. Try a sampan boat trip
As rivers take up most of the area, it is no doubt that two of the best things to do in the Mekong Delta are off-the-water activities. Trying a sampan boat trip is another. Generally, experience on a sampan boat is the simple, traditional version of that on a Mekong River cruise. Once you settle in your seat, the sampan boat sailed by the locals will take you through mangrove forests to reach some tourist attractions. One thing that makes a sampan trip different from a cruise one is that destinations and activities don’t matter, but the sense of peace when you sightsee everything on both sides is a real treat. On some sampans, lunch is served, Mekong delta river which will give you another enthralling experience.
In the delta, you can start your sampan trip to explore several places such as Thoi Son Islet (Ben Tre), Tra Su Cajuput Forest (An Giang), and The Tuong Lagoon (Ca Mau). The price will be around $3.36 for a small boat that can contain 3 to 4 people.
7. Take an hour to visit famous attractions in Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta visit is not only famous for its natural sites but also known for its several tourist attractions. Some includes:
- Tra Su Bird Sanctuary
- Tan Lap floating village
- Tram Chim National Park
- Dong Tam snake farm
- The prince of Mac Lieu’s Mansion
- Xiem Can Pagoda
- The Bat Pagoda
- Ba Chua Xu Temple
- The Seven Mountain
- Ca Mau Cape
Each attraction has its beauty and has been for years linked to a story. After days of traveling along big and small rivers, you can spend an hour visiting the places to know more about the history and culture. It will be another great experience and one of the best things to do in the Mekong Delta.
If you don’t know where to visit and how to combine destinations during your vacation, you can book tour that will take you to all highlights of the area at around $200 per person.
8. Cycling through local villages
During your stay at a homestay, you will stand a great chance to cycle through the local villages. The activity can do in the early morning when the air is fresh and cool. You, along with the local children, will be off riding through the idyllic countryside on paved rural roads, past countless paddy fields and vegetable farms. Compared to cycling in Ninh Binh, Mekong biking is not about to give you the up-the-mountain adventure but the experience of tranquility and refreshment. On your way, you can stop anywhere and buy yourself some food, tea, or coffee to fill your empty stomach in the morning and be ready for another day of traveling. Life is so slow that you can take time to recharge your mind and body before getting back to the roller coaster.
On joining in the activity, you will have to rent a bike from the hotel where you live. The rental will be around $4.35 per day. Recently, in Can Tho, the idea of public bikes has been brought up. Hopefully, soon, we can join in cycling here for free.
Best Dishes in Mekong Delta
1. Hu Tieu Nam Vang (Nam Vang noodle soup)
Whenever someone mentions noodles in Vietnam, most of the tourists will immediately think about Pho. But there a dozen of delicious Vietnamese dishes made from noodles but not Pho, for example, Hu Tieu Nam Vang. Traveling around the Mekong delta you will have the chance to try many different Hu Tieu.
2. Banh Bot Loc
Banh Bot Loc is sold everywhere in Mekong Delta. This delicious dish is usually eat as a snack. It is made from rice flour, filled with shrimp, minced pork, and herbs of course. The combination then will be Mekong delta river steam and served Mekong delta food with sweet and sour fish sauce, fresh vegetables. The wrapping of Banh Bot Loc is so clear that you can see what’s inside.
3. Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake)
Banh Xeo is a kind of Vietnamese fried pancake made from flour, water, eggs, turmeric powder, and stuffed with individual preference. The thin crust of this dish looks simply but the chef has to be extremely careful Mekong delta food not to break it. The stuff inside usually a combination of ear mushroom, bean sprout, minced pork, shrimps, or just vegetable if you are a vegetarian. The dish is serve with fresh vegetables, herbs, sweet fish sauce, pepper, garlic, you can also order a dish of grilled beef and some Nem Lui to enjoy with it.
4. Goi Cuon (Spring roll)
Spring roll is too famous among foreign visitors when they visit Vietnam. Spring rolls are made with rice Mekong delta food wrapping paper. People put minced pork, vermicelli, crabs, and many herbs inside. Goi Cuon is served with side dishes Mekong delta food like vegetables and of course, sweet and sour fish sauce. Keep in mind that the taste is different in Mekong Delta.
5. Ca Tai Tuong Chien Xu (Fried Elephant Ear Fish)
Tai Tuong means “Elephant ear” in Vietnamese. These fish are very popular in Mekong delta food . Elephant ear fishes have a thin and wide body with grey color, just like the shape of an elephant ear. People in Mekong delta food have this kind of fish in their ponds, lakes and feed them with leftover food. To make the dish taste perfectly, the fish must be fresh then deep fry in hot boiling oil. Then we will have the fried fish with crispy golden skin and smell wonderful.
6. Banh La Dua (Coconut leaf cake)
Banh La Dua is a popular dessert in Mekong Delta visit, and you can find this treat almost everywhere here. It is made with Mekong delta visit food simple ingredients but has a delicious taste that can please anyone who gives it a try. The main ingredients of Banh La Dua are sticky rice, coconut flakes, banana, and mung beans. The ingredients then will be wrapped together inside coconut leaves which were chosen carefully by the chef.
7. Banh bo thot not (Palm sugar cake)
Another sweet dish you can find in Mekong delta food. This cake is made from rice flour mix with palm sugar (thot not). Rice flour can be find everywhere in Vietnam, but the right kind of palm sugar can only find in some regions of the Mekong delta visit food as this special kind of sugar made from the sap of palm trees which cannot stand the cold weather.
How to Get to Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City
Located quite near Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta visit is easily accessible. Here are the best ways on how to get to Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh city:
1. By Airplane
Ho Chi Minh City is quite close to the Mekong Delta visit. The fastest and easiest way to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong Delta visit is by plane. There are two airports in the Mekong, one in Can Tho and the other in Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang province.
From Tan Son Nhat airport, you can take a flight to the airport at Can Tho which takes just 45 minutes instead of 4 hours if traveling by road. Chances are, you will have a panoramic view of the vast Mekong Delta visit from above. One-way flight ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho is about 600,000 VND (tax included).
From Can Tho, a suggestion for you is to book a cruise to start Mekong delta food exploring the beauty of neighboring provinces in the Mekong River region.
2. By Bus
It only takes 3 hours by bus to get to Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City. This is the most popular and economical means of transport with many bus companies for you to choose from, such as Futa (Phuong Trang), Mai Linh, or The Sinh Tourists.
It is recommended to choose Futa if you want to book a Mekong delta food ticket by yourself. Compared to other brands, Futa is the leader speaking of quality and charisma.
Ticket prices range from 60,000 VND to 120,000 VND depending on seating position, amenities and time of booking. There are many flights with different departure times to make it easy for you to choose; however, it is best to book tickets in advance so as to choose your desired seats and avoid being sold out during peak season.
If you use a bus to get to Mekong Delta, you need to pay attention to:
- Schedule (find information on the garage homepage)
- Pick up point (where you need to stand to pick up the car)
3. By Private Car
If you want to travel the Mekong Delta with friends or relatives, choose a private car as the main means of transportation. This is considered the best option because it is convenient and comfortable. You can easily rent a private car at the hotels in the area with prices from 600,000 VND depending on the seat location, service quality, and car model. Although more expensive than other means of transportation, using a private car will help you be more proactive with your itinerary and routes.
Here is the detailed price table of renting a private car:
|Routes||4 seat car (max 2 pax)||7 seat car (2-3 pax)||minivan 16 seats (4 10 pax)|
|Ho Chi Minh My Tho||US$55||US$65||US$105|
|Ho Chi Minh Ben Tre||US$60||US$70||US$110|
|Ho Chi Minh Cai Be||US$70||US$80||US$120|
|Ho Chi Minh Can Tho||US$90||US$100||US$140|
|Ho Chi Minh Chau Doc||US$130||US$140||US$180|
4. By Motorbike
The cost of renting a motorbike is 20USD/day. If you are not familiar with the roads here, find a local or use Google Map as a companion on your trip. You can refer to car rental at:
- Tigit Motorbikes Hanoi
- Hiep Motorbike Rental
- Gia Hưng Motorbike Rental
- Vietnam Motorbike Tours & Rentals
If you decide to ride a motorbike to Mekong Delta, you should pay attention to the following:
- You need a driver’s license
- Vietnamese drive on the right hand side
- Traffic in Vietnam is quite chaotic, most people drive in the wrong lane. If you do not pay attention, it is easy to have an accident.
- Traffic jams happen quite often, especially during rush hour, with thousands of vehicles on the road.
5. By Cruise or Boat
From Ho Chi Minh City, you can take advantage of the waterway on the Saigon River to access the gigantic and popular Mekong Delta. Taking a cruise as a means of transportation is a good idea since it offers high-class experiences; however, the price is quite high (about 1,500,000 VND/person).
Alternatively, you can also go to the Mekong Delta by boat and witness the fascinating bustle of small villages along the way. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience in a very special rural area of Vietnam.