Visiting the Mekong Delta in Vietnam? 7 Handy Tips!

The Mekong Delta in Vietnam is a unique water landscape consisting of hundreds of small rivers. The vast delta is surrounded by beautiful green rice fields. These rice fields are a major source of income for the many families living on and along the water. It’s no wonder that the Mekong Delta is also known as the rice bowl of Vietnam. You’ll find floating markets where various foods are traded, such as coconuts, fish, meat, and fruit. It’s a unique destination you shouldn’t miss if you want to experience the countryside of Vietnam. Below, I share some great tips for visiting the Mekong Delta!

What is the Mekong Delta in Vietnam?

The Mekong is one of the longest rivers in the world. The river originates in Tibet and flows through China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. The vast river eventually branches into 9 small rivers that flow into the southern part of Vietnam. This extensive water landscape is called the Mekong Delta.

The Mekong Delta is a fertile area for rice and other crops production, but it hasn’t always been this way. After twenty years of war, a severe famine struck Vietnam, and the soil in the Mekong Delta was too acidic to grow rice. Dutch researchers shared their knowledge at that time to restore the ecosystem’s balance. Nowadays, more than half of Vietnam’s rice yield and fish come from this region.

How to Visit the Mekong Delta?

You can visit the Mekong Delta in various ways. If you have the time, I recommend staying for a few days to truly experience the Mekong Delta. The town of Can Tho makes for a beautiful base. If you have less time, you can also opt for a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City.

Visiting the Mekong Delta from Can Tho

About a four-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll find the town of Can Tho. In the green surroundings of Can Tho, there are some lovely lodges that make for a perfect base. If you want to experience the Mekong Delta fully, it’s recommended to stay for a few nights at one of these lodges around Can Tho. From here, you can visit the Cai Rang Floating Market, the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta, and engage in many more exciting activities. Below, I’ll share which lodge is the most beautiful and highly recommended for a unique overnight stay.

Tour to the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City

If you have limited time, you can also take a day trip to the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City. It’s about a two-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta. When you arrive there, you’ll board a boat and sail through the beautiful water landscape. Along the way, you’ll make several stops at small local villages and visit a coconut farm. This way, you can get a good glimpse of life in this region of Vietnam in a relatively short amount of time. It’s ideal if you have less time to spare during your trip. If you decide to go for a day trip, I recommend this Mekong Delta tour.

What to Do in the Mekong Delta?

The following activities are a must when visiting the Mekong Delta.

Cycling through the Mekong Delta

Cycle along the narrow rivers with swaying palm trees on the banks, cross numerous bike bridges, and stop at a local market for a tasty snack. The locals are incredibly friendly everywhere, constantly waving at you. Cycling through the Mekong Delta is a unique experience you won’t forget quickly because on a bike, you can taste the authentic Vietnamese life. You can cycle independently, but I recommend booking a bike tour with a guide. The advantage of a bike tour is that you’ll visit the most beautiful places, and the guide can tell you everything about the Mekong Delta. You can arrange a bike tour at your hotel and cannot book it online.

Visit the Cai Rang Floating Market

In the morning, pay a visit to the Cai Rang Floating Market, the oldest and largest floating market in Vietnam. Marvel at the life on and along the water, where market vendors sell their goods from boats. You’ll see boats selling watermelons, pineapples, coconuts, and even fresh soups. To see what’s being sold, each boat has a stick with the respective product hanging from it. Along the way, grab the famous snack banh mi or a delicious noodle soup. You can’t visit the floating market independently because you’ll need a guided boat. You can take the tour to the Cai Rang Floating Market from both Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho. When booking the tour, you can choose between a pickup in one of these cities, and in the case of Can Tho, they will pick you up at your hotel.

Explore the Mekong Delta at Sunrise

Witness life around the Mekong Delta coming to life with a boat tour at sunrise. In two hours, you’ll cruise along the small rivers of the delta as the locals slowly start their day. By the water, you’ll see people washing in the river or busy preparing breakfast for their families. As you sail by, you’ll be greeted with enthusiastic waves. This is a delightful way to get acquainted with this beautiful water landscape and its friendly inhabitants.

Tip: Unfortunately, the captain of our boat spoke little to no English, making it difficult for us to ask questions. When booking this tour at your hotel, it’s a good idea to specifically request an English-speaking guide.

Visit the Market and Sample Local Vietnamese Products

Markets in Vietnam come in all shapes and sizes. When you stroll through the small market of Can Tho in the morning, you’ll almost certainly be the only traveler. There will be lots of giggling as they are not accustomed to tourists, but the locals are incredibly friendly and enjoy chatting with you. You’ll hear the question “Where are you from?” multiple times here. Sit down on a plastic stool and have a chat while enjoying a local snack and a refreshing drink.

Must do: Stay at Green Village Mekong in Can Tho

If you decide to visit the Mekong Delta, it’s a great idea to stay at Green Village Mekong. This small-scale hotel is run by an incredibly sweet couple. You’ll stay right in the heart of the Mekong Delta, just outside Can Tho. Every day, you’ll wake up in an oasis of peace, surrounded by nature. You’ll sleep in an authentic bamboo bungalow located by the water. Each bungalow has its own veranda where you can relax in your hammock. Here, you can truly unwind! If you’re looking for more action, you can borrow bikes for free or book one of the many tours they organize. This is the ideal base to explore the Vietnamese countryside.

Tip: They have only seven bungalows at Green Village Mekong, so if you want to stay here, it’s necessary to book in advance. Breakfast and dinner are included in the price. If your dates are not available, then Vamxang Rustic Home is a great alternative. Here, you’ll also stay in an authentic bungalow and enjoy a lovely swimming pool.