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The Ultimate Guide to the Mekong Delta | What to Do & Where to Go

The Ultimate Guide to the Mekong Delta |  What to Do & Where to Go

The Mekong Delta is one of Vietnam’s natural and cultural landmarks. Be sure to plan a Mekong Delta tour if you are in the area. Read on for local insight on where to go, how long to stay, and when to visit. We wrote this complete Mekong Delta travel guide to answer all your questions.

If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, you cannot leave the infamous Mekong Delta from your itinerary. One of the most visited places in Vietnam, The Mekong Delta, is a combination of rivers, canals, floating markets, mangrove forests, swamplands, and paddy fields. It is one of the rare places on earth to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The Mekong Delta

The Mekong is one of Asia’s longest rivers, starting from the Himalayas and passing through China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia before ending in Vietnam. The Mekong Delta is a vast network of rivers, canals, and wetlands covering over 15,000 sq miles (40,000 sq km) of diverse ecosystems.

The Mekong Delta is a vital area for the whole of Vietnam. It is coined as the “rice bowl of Vietnam” because 25% of Vietnam’s agriculture takes place here. Exotic fruits also grow throughout the area, as well as being Vietnam’s largest and most important fishing region.

12 different provinces make up the Mekong Delta. Each of the provinces has its own unique ecosystem. Incredibly, new species of plants and animals are still being discovered throughout Mekong Delta.

Tourists on a boat in Mekong Delta

The Mekong River starts in the Himalayas and travels through China, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Cambodia before it empties to the ocean through the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The delta stretches from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in the East to the Gulf of Thailand in the West. The amount of land under water depends greatly on the season.

Where to go in Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta has so many attractions and activities that it would take you weeks to explore the whole area. It is best known for its legendary floating markets, but it has so much more to offer. Read on for all the main attractions worth visiting in Mekong Delta.

My Tho

  • Province: Tien Giang
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 2,5 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 1,5 hours

The city of My Tho is located less than a 2-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City makes it one of the most popular day tour destinations in the Mekong Delta for tourists. My Tho will give you a taste of the Mekong Delta without the travel time it takes to get to places such as the capital Can Tho.

My Tho has a charming riverfront, bustling market, and fascinating local culture. However, the proximity to Ho Chi Minh City has made My Tho crowded with tourists coming from Ho Chi Minh City.

Once you get to My Tho, you can find several tour operators offering short boat trips to nearby villages and small islands.

Sunset in Can Tho

Can Tho

  • Province: Can Tho
  • Travel time from Saigon: 4 hours

Can Tho is the largest city in the Mekong Delta and the 4th most populous city in Vietnam, with 1.5 million inhabitants. The city serves as a commercial, cultural, and economic hub for the entire region. It may be a large city, but it has maintained its rural town feel and charm.

Due to its proximity to many of the popular attractions, Can Tho is an excellent location to serve as a base for travelers planning to spend more than a day in Mekong Delta. Nearby attractions include floating markets, temples, pagodas, and local villages.

Visit the Cái Khế wholesale market and Xuan Khanh market to view and taste the fresh produce from the Mekong on display. The most popular market among tourists in Can Tho is Ninh Kieu Pier Market, make sure to visit in the evening when it really becomes alive.

Most of the tourists visiting Can Tho stay in or around Hai Ba Trung Street in Ninh Kieu district. Hai Ba Trung Street is a busy central area with a large selection of restaurants and bars right at the Mekong River. This area gets particularly lively after sunset.

Ben Tre

  • Province: Ben Tre
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 3 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 2 hours

The town of Ben Tre is located less than 30 minutes from My Tho, but it’s much less touristy and less developed in comparison. Ben Tre is famous for its fresh fruits such as mango, grapefruits, plums, and jackfruits, and also coconut candy.

Turtle Island is Ben Tre’s most popular sightseeing destination. Located a short boat ride from Ben Tre City, it is incredibly charming covered by sonneratias and palm trees. Don’t be surprised to run into wild pigs that inhabit the island as well. Turtle Island has a restaurant, coconut candy production, bee farm, and even its own small temple.

Vinh Long

  • Province: Vinh Long
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 1 hour
  • Travel time from Saigon: 3 hours

The city of Vinh Long is located on-route when traveling from Saigon to Can Tho. It is a good alternative to Can Tho as a base for those exploring Mekong Delta. Compared to Can Tho, Vinh Long is smaller, more relaxed, less touristy and more affordable.

You will find many affordable homestays in and around Vinh Long City. The city also has an abundance of markets, temples, and other attractions.

Vinh Long City is historically significant to Vietnam and the Mekong Delta. It has a strong French and Chinese influence marked with French colonial buildings and Chinese temples throughout the city.

Ha Tien

  • Province: Kien Giang
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 5 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 7 hours

Ha Tien is located at the very western point of Vietnam, bordering Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand. Ha Tien is known for its beautiful beaches and Buddhist temples, including several cave temples, in and around the city.

With a population of roughly 80,000 people, the remote Ha Tien is less developed and less “western” than the major cities in Vietnam. You shouldn’t expect to see Starbucks, McDonald’s, or any 5-star hotels, but that is part of the charm of Ha Tien.

Apart from the beach, kayaking is a popular activity to enjoy in Ha Tien, along with exploring the nearby Pirate Island. As the name suggests, the island is rumored to have been inhabited by pirates. But don’t worry, they should all be gone now.

Many travelers stop in Ha Tien on their way from or to Cambodia. There is a border gate just outside of town into Kampong, Cambodia. Ha Tien also has a direct ferry to Phu Quoc Island. The trip can be made in less than 2 hours on a high-speed ferry.

Sa Dec

  • Province: Dong Thap
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 1,5 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 3,5 hours

Sa Dec is the former capital of Dong Thap province. A quiet and tranquil city of about 200,000 people, it is known in Vietnam for its flower gardens and nurseries. Around Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration, the gardens become exceptionally impressive.

Sa Dec isn’t on most travelers’ radar as there isn’t much to see there apart from markets and pagodas, which can be found in any city in Vietnam. The city’s main attraction is Huynh Thuy Le Ancient Home. The home is featured in the novel The Lover by Marguerite Duras. The writer Marguerite Duras grew up in Sa Dec, and the city is portrayed in many of her writings.

Ca Mau

  • Province: Ca Mau
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 3,5 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 7 hours

Ca Mau is the capital of Ca Mau Province, the southernmost province in Mainland Vietnam. Ca Mau city is on the banks of Ganh Hao River, a branch of the Mekong River.

Due to its isolation and rough terrain, the area wasn’t settled until 1700. And it remains one of the least population-dense regions of Southern Vietnam. Transportation has improved dramatically in recent years, and the area has started to see more and more tourists, both domestic and international.

Ca Mau is developing rapidly and has broad boulevards, modern parks, and shopping streets. There are several options for 1-3 star hotels along with affordable homestays.

Shrimps and crabs are popular dishes in Ca Mau, and the province is the largest exporter of shrimps in Vietnam.

Cao Lanh

  • Province: Dong Thap
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 2 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 3,5 hours

Cao Lanh is a small but vibrant city. Cao Lanh itself doesn’t have many attractions, but it’s a great place to use as a base for those exploring Xeo Quyt Forest and Tram Chim National Park.

Cao Lanh is the resting place of the father of Ho Chi Minh, Nguyen Sinh Sac. The memorial garden and tomb can be visited along with a full-size replica of Ho Chi Minh’s Hanoi stilt house.

Bac Lieu

  • Province: Bac Lieu
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 2,5 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 5,5 hours

The Bac Lieu is an industrial city and the capital of Bac Lieu province. It is famous for its harvesting and manufacturing rather than tourism, making the city off-the-track from most travelers. Although the city doesn’t get many visitors, there are some options for local 1-2 star hotels.

Chau Doc

  • Province: An Giang
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 3 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 6 hours

The city of Chau Doc tops many lists as the most exciting place to visit in the Mekong Delta. Bordering Cambodia, many travelers make a quick stop in Chau Doc to transfer boats before continuing their journey into Cambodia.

The main attractions include Chau Doc Floating Market, floating houses, city canals, and the nearby Tra Su Bird Sanctuary and Sam Mountain, the highest peak thein Mekong Delta.

Chau Doc is often referred to as Cham Village. It has extensive Cham, Khmer, and Chinese communities. It is recognized for its diverse pilgrimage sites that include temples, churches, and mosques. The people of Chau Doc are known to be very friendly and welcoming to tourists.

Chau Doc has several options for accommodation ranging from very affordable homestays up to the 4-star Victoria Chau Doc Hotel. There are also several notable restaurants in Chau Doc including Bay Bong, Dong Song, Tam Tinh Vegetarian and Sau Hiep.

Soc Trang

  • Province: Soc Trang
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 1,5 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 5 hours

Soc Trang has the largest Khmer population outside of Cambodia, making the city heavily influenced by Khmer culture, architecture and cuisine. The large Khmer population in Soc Trang makes the vibe of the city different from many of the other cities in Mekong Delta.

Soc Trang has over 50 pagodas, most notably Dơi or Bat Pagoda and Clay Temple. Many of the pagodas are decorated with Khmer carvings and sculptures.

Soc Trang tourist attractions include the Khmer Museum and Nga Nam Floating Market. The city is also a gateway to Con Dao Islands, an increasingly popular destination in Southern Vietnam.

An Binh Island

  • Province: Vinh Long
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 1 hour
  • Travel time from Saigon: 3 hours

An Binh Island is one of many islets in the Mekong Delta. Located just across the river from the city of Vinh Long, An Binh Island is 23 sq miles (60 sq km) green island covered in vegetation, orchards, and gardens. An Binh Island can be discovered on a motorbike, bicycle, or simply on two feet.

The island is covered in orchards and gardens, along with fresh fruits such as rambutan, mango, and durian. Many of the gardens on the island are open to tourists, and the plant keepers are happy to entertain curious travelers. Some will even allow tourists to handpick their own fruits. But make sure to get permission first.

Other attractions on An Binh Island include Tien Chau Pagoda, which is surprisingly impressive, and Viet Artisans. Viet Artisans is a nonprofit providing job and skill teaching to women in rural areas. You will have the opportunity to buy some of Viet Artisans’ handmade products on the island.

Nui Sam (Sam Mountain)

  • Province: An Giang
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 3 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 6 hours

Nui Sam, or Sam Mountain in English, is the highest mountain in the Mekong Delta at 930 feet (284m). Sam Mountain is an ancient pilgrimage location and is still recognized as one of the holiest places in Vietnam.

Sam Mountain is located a few miles outside of Chau Doc. The easiest way to get there is to rent a motorbike in Chau Doc and ride to the base of the mountain. There are also bicycle rentals in Chau Doc, or you can negotiate with some of the scooter drivers (Xe Om) in town to drive you to the mountain.

As a sacred place, Sam Mountain has several pagodas starting with Tay An temple at the base of the mountain. During the trek up Sam Mountain, you will pass several sacred spots, including Tay An pagoda and Thoai Noc Hau tomb. The most famous of the pagodas around Sam Mountain is Ba Chua Xu Temple.i

Ba Chua Xu Temple, meaning Holy Mother of the Realm in Vietnamese, draws thousands of visitors every year for a three-day festival held on the twenty-third day of the fourth lunar month. The festival usually marks the beginning of the rainy reason in Mekong Delta.

On top of Sam Mountain, there is an observation deck and shops selling food and drinks. The pagodas and the mountain can be explored in 2-3 hours.

Xeo Quyt Forest

  • Province: Dong Thap
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 2 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 3 hours

Xeo Quyt Forest is a beautiful 52-hectare forest covered in melaleuca trees, water hyacinths (luc binh), and mangrove. War monuments are scattered throughout the forest, making it a perfect combination of history and nature.

The forest is located near My Hiep village. Still, organized tours can be taken from My Hiep, Cao Lanh, and other nearby cities. Public transportation near Xeo Quyt is hard to come by, so if you’re not part of an organized tour, your best option will be a taxi or motorbike rental.

Xeo Quyt Forest can both be explored on canoes or by walking. We recommend the canoe, as you’ll move through the vast swamp with a tall canopy of trees surrounding you. Xeo Quyt Forest has over 170 species of plants and 200 species of animals, including snakes, otters, and turtles.

When visiting Xeo Quyt, you’ll see Viet Cong bunkers, bomb shelters, and even tunnels throughout the forest. The forest served as a base for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam American War and was home to several high-ranking officials. The locals helped grow the forest to hide the Viet Cong from nearby U.S. army base.

Mui Ca Mau National Park

  • Province: Ca Mau
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 6 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 8-9 hours

Mui Ca Mau National Park is located on the southernmost tip of Vietnam. The national park is over 40,000 hectares and continues to expand as the mangrove fields grow towards the coastline.

Mui Ca Mau National Park was established in 2003 and became a World Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO in 2009. The wetland ecosystem and biodiversity are essential to Vietnam and is home to many plants and animals that are considered at risk to go extinct.

The endangered animals in Mui Ca Mau National Park include the Chinese stork, white-faced stork, grey-legged pelican, Spot-billed Pelican and long-tailed monkey.

Tram Chim National Park

  • Province: Dong Thap
  • Travel time from Can Tho: 3 hours
  • Travel time from Saigon: 3,5 hours

Tram Chim National Park is a 7,500-hectare national park that was established in 1998 to protect rare species of birds. Most notably the endangered sarus crane and red-headed cranes.

Tram Chim National Park is home to over 230 different species of birds, 100 of which are considered rare. In addition to the birds, you’ll find plants such as reeds, water lilies, lotus and ghost rice, and animals such as eels, snakes, pythons, and turtles.

Tram Chim National Park is home to over 230 different species of birds, 100 of which are considered rare. In addition to the birds, you’ll find plants such as reeds, water lilies, lotus and ghost rice, and animals such as eels, snakes, pythons, and turtles.

The national park is best enjoyed on the typical small motorboat, which the locals call tac rang. On the boat, you can navigate the different areas of Tram Chim National Park through the narrow canals. The organized tours even let tourists try their hands on the local method of catching fish.

Floating Markets in Mekong Delta

No visit to Mekong Delta is complete without visiting the world-famous floating markets. The life of the people of Mekong Delta depends on the floating markets. Either they make their livelihood selling on the markets, or they buy groceries and other necessities on the floating markets. Life in Mekong Delta is all about the floating markets.

Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Market is one of the most spectacular floating markets in Vietnam and perhaps the whole of Southeast Asia. The history, authenticity, and vibe of Cai Rang Floating Market makes it such a fantastic place to visit.

Cai Rang Floating Market is located only 4 miles (6 km) from Can Tho. The boat ride from Can Tho can be made in 30-45 minutes. There are several tour companies and individuals offering boat trips from Can Tho to Cai Rang Market. Another option is to take a car or motorbike to Cai Rang and hire a local boat to take you through the market. The cost of the boat will depend on the starting location and the size of the boat. But you can expect to pay anywhere from VND 100,000 to 500,000 per boat.

The history of Cai Rang Floating Market goes back more than 100 years. And some of the vendors selling in the market come from generations of Cai Rang merchants. The market is an actual floating market, so you need to explore it on a boat. Don’t worry if you get hungry or thirsty during your visit, as there are plenty of smaller boats selling refreshments for tourists.

The market opens at 4 am, and most of the action is finished around 10 am, so make sure to get there early, so you catch it at rush hour.

Phong Đien Floating Market

Phong Dien Floating Market is located 12 miles (20 km) from Can Tho. It is less popular than the neighboring Cai Rang market, but at the same time, it’s less touristy. Due to the proximity of the 2 floating markets, Phong Dien and Cai Rang, there are tour operators in Can Tho offering both markets in a single-day tour. There are also organized tours from Can Tho to Phong Dien that combine the other gems of the area.

Phong Dien Floating Market merchants sell mostly fresh food, vegetables, and fruits along with household items. There are also boats and stalls selling ready-to-eat food such as noodle soups, rice, and local delicacies. The market is best visited between 5 am and 8 am.

Phung Hiep Floating Market (Nga Nam Floating Market)

Phung Hiep Floating Market, also referred to as Nga Nam Floating Market, is a bustling floating market in the province of Hau Giang. It’s conveniently located on the intersection of 7 rivers making it easily accessible. The Phung Hiep Floating Market has been a commercial hub for the region for over 100 years.

In Phung Hiep Floating Market, you’ll see people selling locally grown fruits such as durians, bananas, and mangos, along with vegetable and locally produced food. You will also see people selling turtles, birds, and snakes; including rattlesnakes and copperheads. And if you get hungry, there are plenty of vendors selling local food such as banh xeo, spring rolls, and noodle soups.

Tra On Floating Market

Tra On Floating Market is a busy market situated on Hau River in Vinh Long province. It’s mainly a fruit market for locally produced fruits. You can expect to find a wide range of fruits including bananas, oranges, durians, jackfruits, pineapples, grapefruits, mangosteens and guavas.

Chau Doc Floating Market

Cau Doc Floating Market is always bustling, but make sure to be there no later than 7 am to experience the best of it. Most of the vendors are selling fruits. Fruits and vegetables are not grown in Cau Doc so they have to be transported from other regions in Mekong Delta.

What to Eat in Mekong Delta

Know for its excellent food, the Mekong Delta is abundant with fruits and vegetables, fish, and shrimp. But it also has more exotic food such as mice, rats, and worms.

  • If you plan to visit Saigon before making your trip to Mekong Delta, you’ll have to include a Saigon food tour on your itinerary.
  • Cat Ba Island is one of Vietnam’s hidden gems. Check out our full guide on Cat Ba Island.
  • Here are our answers to most frequently asked questions on traveling in Vietnam.

Ca Tai Tuong Chien Xu (Deep Fried Elephant Ear Fish)

One of the many specialty foods in Mekong Delta, the elephant ear fish draws its name from its resemblance to elephant ear. The fish, also called giant gourami, is fried whole and the chief will make sure not to remove scales or fins during the cooking process, making the fish look quite rough.

One of the many specialty foods in Mekong Delta, the elephant ear fish, draws its name from its resemblance to elephant ear. The fish, also called giant gourami, is fried whole, and the chief will make sure not to remove scales or fins during the cooking process, making the fish look quite rough.

Deep frying of the fish makes it crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. The elephant ear fish is best served with rice, vegetables, herbs, and different types of fish sauces.

Banh xeo

Banh xeo is a Vietnamese style pancake that is a very popular street food dish in Southern Vietnam. The delicious banh xeo is a thin crust savory pancake and typically topped with various vegetables, meat, and fish. The banh xeo in Mekong Delta differs from banh xeo in other regions, as they usually include mung beans as one of the toppings.

Hu Tieu My Tho (Rice Noodle Soup)

Hu Tieu My Tho is a soft rice noodle soup that is popular across Mekong Delta. Even though the recipe originates in Cambodia, the soup takes its name from the delta city of My Tho.

The soup is made from fish and/or bone broth, bean sprouts, fresh local vegetables, onion and the ingredient that makes this dish special to this region, an unusual combination of sour and spicy sauce.

Bun Ca

Bun Ca is a fish vermicelli noodle soup and is the signature dish of the city of Chau Doc, although it can still be found throughout Mekong Delta. The soup has the perfect balance of seafood flavor and fresh vegetables along with some local herbs.

The warm fish broth is mixed with water spinach, bean sprouts, mint and dien dien flower. The soup is then topped with sliced snakehead fish and some restaurants add squid as well.

Banh la dua

Banh la dua, a very popular dessert in Mekong, is a simple-to-make sweet coconut leave cake. The sweet dessert is made from sticky rice, coconut flakes, mung beans, and bananas. All the ingredients are wrapped into a coconut leaves.

Weather in Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta has a pleasant tropical climate with 2 distinct seasons; wet and dry. The temperature remains relatively constant throughout the year, with average mean temperatures ranging from 25 to 28 degrees. January has the coolest average temperature, while May is generally the hottest month in the Mekong Delta. There is not much temperature variation between day and night.

The rainy season in the Mekong Delta lasts from May until October with 90% of the yearly precipitation taking place during that time. Most of the 950 – 1300 mm annual precipitation takes place in June, July and August. The rain consists mainly of heavy afternoon showers that usually do not last long. Storms and floods do happen during the rainy season but are not common.

The dry season in the Mekong Delta runs from November to April. It rains very little between January and March, making it the most popular time to visit for tourists.

Best Time to Visit Mekong Delta

There is never a wrong time to visit Mekong Delta. As one of the most notable tourist destinations in Vietnam, the Mekong Delta attracts tourists all year round. 

The best time to visit the Mekong Delta is between October and January. It will be dry and not as hot as the autumn and spring months. The period between September to November is known as the flood season. It is a popular time to visit the Mekong Delta as the river really comes to life during these months.

There are some benefits to visiting the area during the rainy season. The popular tourist attractions will have much fewer visitors, and prices will be lower compared to the high season. The tropical fruit season is from June to September. During the fruit season, tourists can handpick fresh fruits, including dragon fruit, pineapple, and mango.

Tet holiday, when Vietnam celebrates the Lunar New Year, is a fantastic time to visit Mekong Delta. The climate will be pleasant, the temperature cools, and the whole area comes to life with the people living in the cities travel back home to take part in the festival celebration. But traffic will be more congested than usual, and prices will be higher.

How to Get to Mekong Delta from Saigon

Travel to Mekong Delta by Air

If you’re planning to travel to Mekong Delta from abroad, you’re best off flying into Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Tan Son Nhat International Airport and make your way from Saigon to Mekong Delta.

Can Tho has an international airport but international flights are limited to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand. There are domestic flights from Con Dao, Da Lat, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Nha Trang, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, and Phu  Quoc.

Ca Mau and Rach Gia have domestic airports that are served by Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO). The only direct flight to each of the airport is to and from Saigon (HCMC).

Travel to Mekong Delta by Motorbike

Motorbike is the most convenient way of exploring the Mekong Delta and you’ll get the most out of your trip. It gives you the freedom of going where you want and when you want without having to depend on the bus schedule or taxi drivers. Motorbikes can be rented from various rentals in Saigon.

If you plan to travel the Mekong Delta by motorbike, make sure you’ve got all necessary permits and insurances. You can expect to pass several checkpoints of traffic police checking for licenses. We don’t recommend first-time riders to tour Mekong Delta on a motorbike as poor roads, trucks, and traffic makes the drive very challenging.

If you’re finding the drive from Saigon to the Mekong Delta too frightening, you can travel to the Mekong Delta by boat, bus or car, and rent a scooter or motorbike in any of the larger towns and cities. That will give you the freedom of exploring the area without having to make the scary drive from Saigon.

There are several tour operators that offer motorbike tours from Saigon to the Mekong Delta. Anywhere from 8-hour tours to My Tho, to 10-day tours traveling through the whole of Mekong Delta. These tours are both offered as self-drive or behind as a passenger.

Travel to Mekong Delta by Boat

Traveling the Mekong Delta by boat is very convenient. You’ll beat the traffic and if you’re traveling on a speedboat, you can make the trip quicker than on the bus. There are several tour operators offering speedboat trips to Mekong Delta including Saigon River Tour and Les Rives. Most of the speedboat tours on offer are full-day tours and some combine the magnificent Cu Chi Tunnels with the Mekong Delta tour to do both of them in a single day.

If speedboat is not your thing, or you want to spend more time in the Mekong Delta, there are also several operators offering 2-4 night cruises through the Mekong Delta.

Traveling to Mekong Delta by Bus

Taking the bus to the Mekong Delta is both convenient and affordable. There are plenty of bus lines serving various cities in the Mekong Delta from Saigon. The most popular of the bus companies covering Mekong Delta is Phuong Trang (Futa) Bus.

There are also other bus companies serving Mekong Delta from Saigon including The Sinh Tourist and Mai Linh Express along with smaller “limousine” style bus operators. Buses to Can Tho depart Saigon several times each hour and you can expect to pay anywhere from VND 100,000 to 300,000. Buy a ticket in advance to make sure to get a ticket.

Traveling to Mekong Delta by Private Car

Taking a private car or minibus to Mekong Delta is an expensive but convenient option, particularly if you’re traveling in a group. You can then control your timing and make your own itinerary. The price will depend on where you’re going and the size of the car, but a day trip to Can Tho can cost around VND 1,500,000.

How Much Time to Spend in the Mekong Delta

If you have limited time in South Vietnam, there are plenty of tour operators offering full-day tours to the Mekong Delta. Single-day tours will usually only take you as far as My Tho, Cai Be, and Ben Tre, although there are single-day tours that will take you all the way to Can Tho. A single-day tour will give you a taste of Mekong Delta but to experience Mekong Delta fully, we do recommend spending at least 1 night there.

Spending 1 or 2 nights in the Mekong Delta will allow you to properly experience the culture, cuisine, various floating markets, narrow canals, national parks, and the beautiful scenery Mekong Delta has to offer.

The Mekong Delta has so much to offer that you can spend several days there and every single one of them would be packed with new amazing things to experience.

Bird Watching in Mekong Delta

With 1,200 different species of birds, Mekong Delta is a fantastic place for bird watching. Birds that can be found in Mekong Delta include Oriental Darter, Asian Openbill, and Spot-Billed Duck along with some rare and endangered species such as Sarus Crane, Milky Stork, Nordmann’s Greenshank and Bengal Florican.

Most of Mekong Delta is flat, open floodplains making bird watching relatively easy. The best season for bird watching in Mekong Delta is during the dry season, particularly from January to April.

Bird Watching in Tram Chim National Park

Tram Chim National Park has a quarter of all bird species found in Vietnam, making it the ideal bird-spotting place in Vietnam. This Ramsar site is best visited either early in the morning or late afternoon when the birds are most active. A good option is to spend the night in one of the homestays in the area to be able to access the national park early in the morning.

The area is separated into two different zones, Zone A1 and Zone A2. It is possible to visit both zones on the same day but many bird-watching enthusiasts allocate a day for each zone as the experience is different between them.  

Many of the boats in Tram Chim National Park are noisy gasoline engine boats but there are electric boats available in the national park as well although some people report having struggled to find one.

Tram Chim National Park has both water birds and songbirds. Waterbirds that can be seen in Tram Chim include the rare Eastern Sarus Crane along with Spot-Billed Duck, Purple Swarmphen and Pheasant-Tailed Jacanas. Songbirds in Tram Chim include Reed-Warblers, Baya Weaver and Asian Golden Weaver.

Bird Watching in Tra Su Bird Sanctuary

Tra Su Bird Sanctuary is located about 15 miles (25 km) outside of Chau Doc. It is convenient to hire a motorbike from Chau Doc to make the trip to the sanctuary. Boats are also available at affordable prices.

The peaceful and beautiful Tra Su Bird Sanctuary has become a bit touristy and may no longer be the best place to go bird watching in Vietnam but it’s still well worth to visit.

Tra Su Bird Sanctuary is a large cajaput and mangrove forest that is home to lots of different types of plants and animals, including various species of birds. Large parts of the forest are not accessible to tourists as its protected and designated as bird breeding areas.

Bird Watching in Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary

Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary is a 1,5-hectare stork sanctuary that is home to tens of thousands of storks and more than 20 different stork species. The sanctuary is located in Thoi Binh Hamlet, less than 30 miles (50 km) from Can Tho. There are organized tours from Can Tho to Bang Lang but you can also rent private cars or motorbike at affordable prices.

Bird Watching in Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary

Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary is on the banks of Ba Lai River, 75 miles (120 km) south of Saigon in Ben Tre province. The 68-hectare sanctuary is home to hundreds of thousands of storks, cauldrons, and herons. Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary is located in a wild, submerged mangrove forest. The area is even so submerged and low-lying that it gets washed during high tide.

Mekong Delta Tours

There are countless travel agencies and tour operators offering trips to Mekong Delta. Through our website, we’ve gathered what we believe are top class operators offering anything from 1-day tours to My Tho up to 3-4 day all-inclusive tours traveling throughout Mekong Delta. Check out our most recommended tours below.

Authentic Mekong Delta Tour to Ben Tre on Luxury Speedboat.

Do you not have much time in Mekong Delta, but want to make the most of it in a single day? Then this speedboat tour to Ben Tre is perfect for you. The tour includes a visit to a local bee farm, snake wine tasting, explore coconut candy factory and sailing through rural Mekong Delta. Click here to book this authentic Mekong Delta tour.

3-Day Mekong Delta Adventure Tour

You want to make the most of your Mekong Delta trip? Then we recommend taking this 3-day adventure tour. The tour starts in Saigon and covers Cai Be, Can Tho, Cai Rang Floating Market and Ben Tre before returning to Saigon. Be prepare for boat rides, kayaking, and cycling in this adventure tour. Click here to book your Mekong Delta adventure.

Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

This is the ultimate tour if you want to get a feel for Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels in a single day. This tour starts with a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels before heading to Ben Tre where you take a boat trip on Ham Luong River and finally a bike ride through the nearby village. Click here to book this full-day Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels tour.

Rustic Mekong Delta Cycling Tour

This half-day cycling tour that starts in Can Tho will really give you a local feel for Mekong Delta. The tour takes you to a blacksmith who will teach you to hand-make knives along with other crafts, a local family will teach you to make a banana cake and you’ll visit a local household for a cup of tea and coconut water. Click here to book your local Mekong Delta cycling adventure.

2-Day Cruise From Saigon to Phu Quoc

Want to cruise through Mekong Delta and end on the beautiful island of Phu Quoc? Then this tour is the one you’re looking for. This cruise on a charming wooden boat takes you from Ca Be through Mekong Delta with a stop at both Cai Rang Floating Market and Rach Gia before heading to Phu Quoc on a speedboat. Click here to book this cruise.

Day Tour to Cai Be Floating Market

This full-day tour gives you a taste of Mekong Delta. The tour starts in Saigon and takes you through Cai Be Floating Market, Ben Tre, and My Tho.