Mekong Delta is a wast fertile area covering a large part of Southern Vietnam. It is not famous for its sights, but rather for various crafts and local products or amazing floating markets. Take a Mekong Delta tour from Ho Chi Minh City and learn more about the life by the 12th longest river in the World.
➯ Check out: Buses and trains to Ho Chi Minh City from Phnom Penh, Hanoi or Da Nang.
The Mekong is the 12th longest river in the World and the longest 7th in Asia. However, its importance for the region of South East Asia is much greater. Starting in the Tibetan Plateau in China, it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and ends in Vietnam, where it drains into the South China Sea. Throughout my travels in South East Asia, I ran into the Mekong so many times, as for example in floating villages in Cambodia or waterfalls in Laos, making me realize how essential it is as a source for the lives of people in this region. Nevertheless, the greatest way of exploring what kind of wealth it brings to the locals is at its very end, in the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam.
Getting a Vietnamese visa
While planning your trip to Vietnam, you need to remember one thing. Unlike most other countries in South East Asia, there are no visas on arrival. So be sure the get your visa in advance, otherwise, you will not be let to enter the country! We have seen other tourists being left desperate at the borders… So I am so happy I did not get into such a situation myself. Luckily the visa itself can be very easily ordered online. The price varies on how fast you need it (you can get even an urgent one in 1-4 hours). Just check out this website.
➯ Katie’s tip: You can get a 10% discount for your Vietnam visa if you use my discount code KATIES10.
Heading out from the Ho Chi Minh City
We have decided to visit the Mekong Delta as part of our stay in the Ho Chi Minh City, where we arrived via a bus from Phnom Penh in Cambodia. We heard a lot about the area and planned to take a local bus and explore the area by ourselves. However, after reading up dozens of blog posts and tourist guides, we simply decided to quit on the “do it yourself” idea and go for an organized Mekong Delta tour.
➯ Read more: 10 great things to do and see in Ho Chi Minh City
You probably noticed I am not a big fan of organized tours. But the area of the Mekong Delta is just so wast and offers so many options. We were not really sure where to and how much time we would actually need to see it all. Luckily, we at least had a good idea of what were the main spots we wanted to visit. So we decided to go on a tour that would take care of the logistics and take us where we wanted. To be able to fit everything to our schedule, we went for a 2 days Mekong Delta tour with a sleepover in the local capital called Can Tho. However, if you are short of time, there is, of course, a 1-day option as well.
➯ Katie’s tip: Book the full day Mekong Delta tour with Klook and save up to 45% of the price. Moreover, register via this link and save another 3.2 USD.
Mekong Delta Tour for two days
Unlike the tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels, which was full of Americans and other Westerners, this time, we were the only “white faces” on the tour bus. There might have been about 16 of us in total, including a super cynical tour guide, who kept us entertained with his view on the recent state of things in Vietnam throughout the whole journey. The program of the tour was really packed and we did not have much time at any of the locations, but at the end of the day, it really felt like a well used time. The hotel was one of the best we slept in during our whole journey in Asia and overall, the whole tour was a fair deal for the price.
Great surprise at the Vinh Trang Pagoda
There were basically 3 must-see items on our list – a floating market, a ride on a boat through the mangroves and a coconut candy factory. Luckily, thanks to the tour, we were able to see all of them and so much more.
➯ Read More: Top 10 most instagrammable places in Vietnam
The first stop on our schedule and the most pleasant surprise, to be honest, was the Vinh Trang Pagoda in My Tho. Basically, it is a complex of buildings comprising of several sights, with the actual pagoda, several huge Buddha statues and a cute European style mansion resembling an Art Nouveau Chateau. Quite a nice, esthetic and relaxing place full of flowers which we would most likely never have visited if it wasn’t for the tour. Thumbs up.
➯ Read more: Top 10 most instagrammable places in Cambodia
Into the mangroves
After the Vinh Trang pagoda and a quick visit to a bamboo fiber factory, we finally arrived at the river Mekong. We jumped on a tourist boat and headed against the flow of the massive river. The first stop was one of its islands offering a ride along the mangroves. We were handed the typical Vietnamese cylindrical hats and flew down the marsh on a small boat driven by a local woman, passing dozens of similar vessels full of tourists. Yes, it was quite touristy and I didn’t like the fact we had to share the boat with other people in the group. But still, it is one of the unique experiences you will for sure remember at the end of your trip.
➯ Check out: Prices of hotels in Can Tho
I don’t want to describe individually each item of the tour, but let’s just mention that what followed was yet another mangroves ride (this time on a motorboat and no hats) to a lunch place with its own zoo (where you could feed your own crocodile). Then we took a horse car ride and visited several other workshops, like the coconut candy factory or a honey wine production. After all that, we returned to the bus which took us to our hotel in Can Tho.
The Near Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho
The second day started early, so we would make it on time to the second highlight of our tour – the Near Cai Rang flowing market. And despite the fact it was the first day after the celebrations of the Chinese New Year, it was pretty awesome. Since the very first moment our boat entered the market area, we got approached by local vendors selling us fruits and fresh coffee. But still, unlike the ones in Thailand, we felt that this one actually serves first of all to selling goods to the locals, not just tourists. Most of the sellers were obviously there to sell goods in large volumes to local buyers looking for materials for their stores and restaurants.
➯ Read More: Top 10 most instagrammable places in Vietnam
After leaving the market, there were still a few stops on our list. The first one was a local bbq restaurant with a very special menu. The selection ranged from frogs and birds to rats or snakes. As much as we enjoy trying out new cuisine, in this case, we didn’t really feel in the mood of going further than the grilled frogs we had for a dinner last night in Can Tho. What was left was one more stop in a sun-dried rice noodle factory and a few hours long ride back to the Ho Chi Minh City.
➯ Check out: Prices of hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
Benefits of taking the Mekong Delta tour
The two days Mekong Delta tour was actually the only “multiple days” organized tour we took during our 7 months travels in Asia. And despite not being a fan of group activities, even my husband Miky recognized it was simply the best way this time. Making such a trip on our own, we would have to spend so much more money hiring all the boats and transport, we would never be able to see all the local factories and workshops and we would have never found out about half of the places, especially the beautiful the Vinh Thrang pagoda.
Let me hear from you
We have really enjoyed our two days Mekong Delta tour. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the area, but it is limited by time, money, or simply feels too lazy to plan everything by himself. How do you feel about organized group tours and do you find the Mekong Delta area interesting? And would you try eating a frog, a rat or a snake? Let me know in the comments section!
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