10+ Top Things to do & see in Mekong Delta Vietnam

10+ Top Things to do & see in Mekong Delta Vietnam

The Mekong Delta is a vast maze of rivers, stilt houses, and fruit gardens. Scattered within the giant Delta are plenty of things to see that give you amazing insight into what life may be like in the Vietnamese countryside.Let's have a good view of Mekong Delta in this informative article......

Ultimate Travel Guide to Mekong Delta Vietnam : attractions to visit & things to do

Mekong Delta or ‘Mien Tay’ – the endearing name Vietnamese people often call the land – has always been the most unique destination of Vietnam. With most of the land covered and divided by wetlands and rivers, Mekong Delta has developed a unique way of life and culture adapting to the geography characteristics. There’re a lot of things to do in Mekong Delta Vietnam – the region that includes 13 provinces/cities with the immense beauties and cultural charms.

Mekong delta garden

Mekong River

Mekong is grand, fertile and primitive river which starts at Tibet and runs 3,000 miles through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before entering Vietnam’s delta, then out to the East Sea. Vietnamese call it “Song Cuu Long” which means “9 dragons” symbolizing the nine branches that created a vast Mekong delta region of 12 provinces and one city of the south. During thousands of years, this river has fed 60 millions of people on its way, enriched various regions and countries, fostered the culture diverse of Southeast Asia in general and Indochina in particular. There is no wonder why people call the river “Mother of Water".

River Mekong delta

The Mekong river enters into Vietnam through Cambodia with two separate branches which are “Song Tien” and “Song Hau” (Bassac River). Both run through the delta and have same length about 200-250km.

Where is Mekong Delta?

Mekong Delta lies at the very end of Vietnam, right under the southern central city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City. The region is consisted of 12 provinces (Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau) and one city Can Tho.

Mekong Delta location

Things to do & see in Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta is a large region with a lot of sites to check out and it’s understandable if you feel a bit overwhelmed. We list here all the must-have things to do and see in Mekong Delta.

1. Visit floating markets to enjoy the daily life on Mekong River

The most unique and peculiar thing about Mekong Delta is no other than floating markets where you can see all the way of life, daily activities and culture of the people here. Floating markets are not a specialty that can only be found in Mekong Delta. Thailand also has many floating markets. Yet, Mekong Delta’s floating markets have their very own different charms. These markets has been existing just simply for local farmers to sell fruits and vegetables to the folks on the land.

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. However, don’t forget to set your alarm earlier to catch the market that starts at 5:00AM every day. Rent a boat from Ninh Kieu pier which will take you to the market in 30 minutes.

Cai Rang floatiing market

Cai Rang is a wholesale local market where farmers will hang 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.

Nga Bay/Phung Hiep Floating Market

Nga Bay or Phung Hiep Floating Market has been around since 1915 as a key trading spot for the locals in Nga Bay Town. This floating market is the most vivid and colorful markets in all Mekong Delta region. A perfect floating market if you don’t like the touristy Cai Rang Market.

Phung Hiep market

Just like any other market, Nga Bay also starts very early in the morning every day. Fruits, vegetables and other household goods all stack up on the sellers’ boats, making it a wonderful sight to behold. This market is also the place where animals like turtles, birds and lizards.
You can get there by bus or taxi to get to Nga Bay province which is about 30km away from the city. Boat rental is available but it’s best to do it with a group to reduce the average cost.

Cai Be Floating Market – Tien Giang

At Cai Be District, there’s a floating market that caters transporting goods, fruits, veggies and even seafood to not only Mekong Delta region but also to the rest of Vietnam. Cai Be is a perfect choice if you don’t have much time to discover the whole delta since its location is quite close to Ho Chi Minh City. To visit Cai Be Floating Market, you don’t have to wake up too early like the other markets since the market opens until later hours of day.

Cai Be market

Cai Be province is located 80km away from HCMC through 1A highway. You can there by booking a private tour or getting a taxi. Once you’re in the province, ask the local people for directions to the market.
Boat rental is available for a 2-hour tour with tour guide costing $2/person. Private boat for group of 10 at cost $25/boat.

Nga Nam Floating Market – Soc Trang

Nga Nam floating market is the junction of five rivers – Ca Mau, Vinh Quoi, Long My, Thanh Tri and Phung Hiep. And for its special location, Nga Nam market is bustling with all the colors and the sounds of the locals. This floating market is very much untouched by the tourism and still remains the unique characteristics of a Mekong Delta floating market.

Nga Nam market

Come to Nga Nam floating market, you’ll experience countless of boats selling local goods like vegetables, fruits, seafood and more. Each boat has a tall bamboo stick hanging what types of goods available.
Nga Nam market starts at 3:00AM, become busiest at 5:00AM and dismisses at 8:00AM. Buses are available to Ca Mau, Nga Nam market, costing about $8-$9 for one-way ticket.
Boat rental is available for cost at $1/person and you can visit the whole market.

2. Discover Tan Chau Silk Village – An Giang

You don’t have to go all the way to Hoi An for quality silk. In Mekong Delta, there’s a village that has been around for a long time and made its name for natural silk material. Come to Tan Chau Silk Village to see the process pf the traditional silk making.

Tam Chau silk making

Tan Chau silk is known for the softness, toughness and high absorbability. Tan Chau Silk Village is not to be missed in your trip in Mekong Delta.

3. Discover Tra Su Mangrove Forest – An Giang

If you’re curious about what the wetlands of Mekong Delta look like, come to Tra Su Mangrove 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.

Tra Su mangrove forest

The forest is also the habitat for many colonies of water birds, bats and even rare and endangered animals and reptile species.
The only way to visit Tra Su forest is going by boat, paddled and guided by the local ladies. Entrance ticket costs 130,000VND per person. Best time to visit is of course the rainy season from September to November.

4.Visit And Taste Fresh Fruits In Local Gardens

Mekong Delta wins an award, not only for rice paddies but also for tropical fruits. Thanks to the pleasant climate and favorable natural conditions, fruit seasons seem to be all year round, making it the ideal destination for both domestic and foreigner visitors. And stopping by one of fruit gardens has become the favorable type for many tourists. There is nothing greater than listening to what the host of the garden tells, picking and enjoying ripe fruits by your hands.

Fruit garden mekong

Some of the famous fruit orchards in Mekong Delta include Cai Be Orchard (Tien Giang), Phong Dien and My Khanh Orchard (Can Tho), Cai Mon Orchard (Ben Tre), etc. Further, it is also a good chance to broaden your knowledge by knowing the specialties of each area. A tour to fruit gardens does honor the locals’ great effort and support their economy

5. Bird Watching at 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.

Bird watching in Tram Chim national park
To go bird watching, you’ll have to book a boat tour that costs 800,000VND per boat for a group of 12 people. The tour lasts between 30 minutes to 1 hour or more.

6. Take A Boat Cruise Through Small Canals

Needless to say, the best way to explore the beauty and uniqueness of Mekong Delta is by a boat cruise on waterways. Remember that Mekong River includes a complex system of channels. From the boat, it is quite surprising to feast your eyes on stunning sights of green/yellow rice paddies, lush orchards, lines of coconut trees and quiet stilt houses. While immersing in a scenic boat trip through this immense delta, you will not only discover the bustling colors of floating markets, but also experience the traditional lifestyle around the Mekong River as well as take a close glimpse at rural Vietnam.

Cruise mekong delta vietnam

An impressive exclusive river cruise on waterways of the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam will definitely treat yourself to something novel and exceptional! 

7. Visit the Temples in Mekong Delta Vietnam

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.
You can walk to the temple if you’re staying in My Tho.

Vinh Trang Pagoda

Bat Pagoda (Mahatup Pagoda)

Lying 25km southeast of Soc Trang downtown, Bat Pagoda is always included as one of the worthiest destination to visit in Mekong Delta due to its enthralling Khmer architecture features. The name of the pagoda will make you wonder if you can find any bat in the pagoda. In fact, the answer is yes: a large number of bats have been inhabited on the branches of the ancient trees in the yard of the pagoda. This is such an interesting feature that makes Bat Pagoda a must-see site during your trip in Mekong Delta.

Bat Pagoda - Mekong

8. Sampan rowing boat ride in My Tho

My Tho is just two hours from Saigon so it’s perfect for a sampan 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.

Boat ride along canals

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 sampan cruise to My Tho if you request in advance.

9. Take part in authentic activities : catch the fish in the canals & cook them 

The natural environment in the Mekong Delta is also perfect for a school of freshwater fishes to live and give birth. Coming to here, you are given a chance to go fishing and enjoy your achievement by cooking delicious dishes using fresh ingredients. While a bucket or even bare hands may be used to catch some types of small fishes in the ponds, you can need a fishing rod with bamboo material to catch catfish, elephant-ear fish or snakehead fish. In general, fish braised with caramel sauce in a clay pot as well as sweet & sour soup with fish and vegetables are the most famous and flavorful dishes in Mekong Delta you should try once.

Tat nuoc bat ca

10.Listen To Southern Folk Songs (Đờn Ca Tài Tử)

After a long trip of roaming around Mekong River by boats, tasting fruits, catching fish and visiting floating markets, you will be then inspired and calmed by traditional Southern folk songs and performance. Also called "Đờn Ca Tài Tử" in Vietnamese, the Southern folk songs are one special kind of musical art, reflecting the lifestyle of Southerners who live and earn their bread on the land and along the Mekong River. Through the songs, the locals want to express all of their inner feelings and emotions, generosity, industriousness, and courage of their own. That’s why this performance has become popular to any domestic and international locals. You yourself will be quickly cooled down and recharged after wallowing in the soothing sound of the music, in addition to drinking fruit refreshments and tea of the area.

Folk Song mekongs

Mekong Delta Tour – River Cruises

Unlike Halong Bay cruises, Mekong cruises are known for the class and style just in recent years. The diversity in tour types and activities can compare to those of Halong Bay cruises, yet the cruises on Mekong River attract with its peculiar charms of the scenery and the way of life along the river.

Cruises’ Amenities

The cruise ships on Mekong vary greatly on style, type and equipment.

- Daily cruise tours: imagine a huge restaurant placed on a ship like La Perle de l’ Orient cruise ship of Indochina Junk can offer capacity for up to 200 guests and doesn’t have private cabins.

- Short trip cruises: Panorama Cruise of Mekong Eyes Cruise 2 Days is the perfect example – affordable and still maintain a level of luxury. While Le Cochinchine cruise ranges in the middle tier with much more comfortable private cabins.

Mekong cruise

- Luxury cruise ships: they impress with their outstanding design of French colonial steamers. Jayavarman and The Jahan are just the masterpieces of luxury Mekong cruises.

Cruise Itinerary:

Mekong river cruising tours are available from one day tour to 2-3 days, 4-5 days and even up to 8-10 days, from exploring Mekong delta only to the upstream in Cambodia, from cruising only to combining with land tours.
Tours within the delta will sail on the Tien river (the upper branch of Mekong river) featuring sites such as My Tho, Cai Be, Vinh Long, Sa Dec, Cao Lanh, Long Xuyen, Tan Chau. The expeditions expanded into Cambodia’s land include major stops like Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Tonie Lake and Siem Reap.

What to eat in Mekong Delta

1. Duong Dua (Coconut Larvae)

This is the specialty you can find only in Mekong Delta and not every tourist would willing to try this dish. To protect the biological environment, the mass consumption of 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. 

Duong Dua

Despite how frightening it looks, Duong Duong taste so good with the greasy, rich flavor just like an slowly dissolving an egg yolk. 

2. 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. 

My Thu Hu Tieu

3. Bong Dien Dien (Dien Dien Flowers)

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. 

Bong dien dien

4. 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. 

Pia cake

How to get to Mekong Delta

To get to Mekong Delta, you can start at Ho Chi Minh city – the main gateway to the southern region of Vietnam as well as a worthy tourist destination. The most common route for most visitors to reach the destination is from Saigon to Can Tho which is 165 kilometers long.

  • By Bus: Express Bus and Sleeper Bus are available with prices ranging from 60,000VND to 120,000VND. Buses depart many times a day, picking up passengers along the roads.
  • By Plane: Or you can just book a flight to Can Tho which lasts only 45 minutes. Two airlines operate flights from Saigon to Can Tho: VASCO and VietJet Air. One-way ticket costs about 600,000VND.

From Saigon, you also can use another option: sailing your way Mekong Delta by booking a Mekong river cruise.

We’ve completed our travel guide to Mekong Delta Vietnam with all the highlighted things to do and see that can’t be missed in your trip. Mekong Delta is a large region with a lot of sites to check out and it’s understandable if you feel a bit overwhelmed. Why not let our travel consultant help arrange your trip to Mekong Delta by sending your request to goldenholidaytravel.vn@gmail.com today? We cater not only Mekong Delta land tours from 4 days to 9 days but also Mekong cruises for 2 days and Mekong Delta tours combined with other offshore island Con Dao.

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