MEKONG DELTA TRAVEL GUIDE
- Arriving and leaving
- Where to go
- What to do
If the north charms you with its graceful mountain scenery, cuisine and people, the south will allure you with its river scenery, and friendly people. Regarded as the most developed and busiest area in the country, the Mekong Delta would be the perfect destination for tourists looking for a city that never sleeps coupled with care-free and generous locals, overwhelming river scenery and productive farmlands.
Arriving and leaving
Ho Chi Minh City is a major center of Vietnam, as such you can get there by many different means : by plane, train, boat or road.
To leave Ho Chi Minh City, you can catch a car passenger or rent a motorbike to take you to the Mekong Delta provinces or you can go straight to Can Tho International Airport – the biggest airport of the Southwest.
Where to go
In the Mekong Delta Boats or rafts are not only used for transportation; but often also as homes and a work places. Floating markets can be found where farmers from all over the area come to exchange their products with others. The salesmen write an abbreviation of their area’s name on the boat to distinguish them from the other farmers. The locals hang some of the products on the pole (called “cay beo”) so that customers can see what they are selling even from distance. Beside farm products, you can also taste some delicious Southern dishes at these floating markets.
There are different farms to visit depending on which season you travel, usually June, July and August are the best times to go.
Cai Be, Tien Giang
Heading to the north of Tien river, you will have a chance to visit the largest farm of Mekong Delta: Cai Be farm. Cai Be farm grows a wide range of fruits: Mango, pomelo, long an, orange, apple, guava, mandarin, jackfruit, plum etc… tourists do not only see the sightsbut also have a chance to taste some of the fruit.
Vinh Kim, Tien Giang
Vinh Kim farm is famous for sweet and fragant Lo Ren star apple, the fruit which is only found in the south. In addition to the star apple, you can also grab a taste of rambutan, durian, pomelo and more.
Cai Mon, Ben Tre
Cai Mon farm is located in Vinh Thanh commune, Cho Lach district, Ben Tre province. Cai Mon is recognized as the largest fruit-producing farm in the country. The area is surrounded by rivers on four sidesmaking for very productive farmland. The specialties of Cai Mon include durian and Hai Hoa green skin pomelo
My Khanh, Can Tho
This farm provides tourists with a chance to view 20 different plants in the same area.. Coming to here, you can also participate in traditional games such as pig racing, dog racing andmonkey circus etc.
Tra Su cajeput jungle (An Giang)
The best time to visit Tra Su Cajeput Jungle is from September to November, when the water level rises, you will find yourself floating on the green river in a sort of tunnel made formed by the jungle plants.
Ta Pa field(An Giang)
TaPa seen from above is like a colorful map with different crops, of different colours,planted in the various fields. You can see this spectacular view from Ta Pa Mountain nearby.
Tram Chim national park (Dong Thap)
Tram Chim which is full of beautiful birds to spot. What’s more, if you go there at the end of the year, when the water level rises, you can see the elegant beauty of drifting lotus.
Vinh Trang pagoda (Tien Giang)
The pagoda’s gate was designed and constructed in 1933 based on “co lau”. In Vinh Trang pagoda there lies an 18m tall statue of Buddha. There are hundreds of trees and a large lotus lake in the yard of the Pagoda making for a comfortable place to spend some time.
Xiem Can pagoda (Bac Lieu)
This pagoda covers an area of 50.000 square hectares, it has a distinctive design of Khmer architecture with main colors being red and yellow.
Bun Ca (Fish noodle)
Bun ca is a popular dish of the southwest, there are Chau Doc fish noodle, Kien Giang fish noodle and Soc Trang fish noodles available,, among other variaties. Unlike Bun ca in the center of Vietnam which is made from sea fish, Bun ca in the southwest of the country is made with fresh water fish (channa maculata).
Chao ca loc (Fish gruel)
CREDIT : hanhphuccuame.com
Chao ca is a traditional and popular dish among fishermen and it has also become a trademark treat for tourists. Chao ca is divided into 2 kinds: Chao ca rau dang (Fish gruel with bitter vegetables) and Chao ca rau mong toi (Fish gruel with Malabar spinach).
Ca loc nuong trui (Grilled fish)
CREDIT : vinhlongnay.com
This is a really simple dish with fresh fish grilled directly on straw. After cooking, the ash is removed from the fish, a little bit of boiled fat and green onion poured onto it, and then it can be eaten together with rice paper, herbs and tamarind sauce.
Lau mam (Hotpot with fish sauce)
Lau mam is regarded as one of the most delicious dishes in the Southwest. The main ingredient is mam sac/mam ca linh (Siamese mud carp).In Chau Doc (An Giang), the broth is stewed with fish sauce, coconut water and pork bone
Banh canh (Thick noodle soup)
There are several kinds of Banh canh: Banh canh with pork trotter, grinded beef meatball, crab or even shrimp with coconut water.
Hu tieu (Clear rice noodle soup)
Hu tieu is a representative food of the southwest, just like Pho is for Ha Noi. You can easily find Hu tieu being sold by street hawkers. The noodles is the dish are served with grinded pork and pig’s tripes, beansprouts, scallion, beef meatballs and chili pepper sauce.
Banh pia (Pia cake)
Banh pia’s main flavors are sweetened durian, egg, and wheat. The cake is sometimes too sweet for most people so it is often served with green tea.
The southwest is a huge area, so below we have picked out restaurants from Can Tho – the capital city in the southwest
Located in the vibrant centre of Can Tho, Hoa Su restaurant covers most aspects of Southern cuisine. With a large area designed as a natural farm, tourists can enjoy all specialties of the Southwest in a comfortable and natural atmosphere. Hoa Su restaurant has some iconic dishes you should try: oc nuong tieu (grilled snails with pepper), ba ba nau ruou vang (tortoise cooked with wine), lau cua dong hai san (field crab hotpot with seafood) to name a few.
Address: Le Loi street, Cai Khe dist, Ninh Kieu ward
Lua Nep restaurant is located right in the center of Lue Nep Resort. All the dishes of Lua Nep play to the natural sweetness and freshness of the ingredients used. We recommend two of the menu items in particular : Lua Nep spring rolls and grilled chicken.
Address: Le Loi street, Cai Khe dist, Ninh Kieu ward
Almost all the specialties of the Southwest are made of seafood, and Bien Dong has the best of it! In Bien Dong restaurant, you can treat yourself with both Eastern and Western seafood dishes. All seafood is kept fresh and alive in the glass boxes for customers to pick out what they want. the sea creatures are captured form the tank and cooked right after ordering.
Address: 30/4 street, Xuan Khanh dist, Ninh Kieu ward
Du thuyen Can Tho
Being recognised as the largest floating restaurant of the Southwest, Du Thuyen Can Tho (Can Tho Yatch) is a good place to enjoy appetising meal aside the Hau river. The signature dish of this restaurant is hot pot, suitable for family gathering.
Address: Ninh Kieu port, Hai Ba Trung street, Tan An dist, Ninh Kieu ward.
What to do
There are many great fruit farms in the southwest you can visit, most allow you to walk around the farm and sample the produce.
The Southwest is known for immense paddy fields and thousands of storks. Each garden forms a chain of mangrove forests following rivers. They are shelters for half million of storks especially white stork, bittern, grey heron. Tourists have a chance to travel through the forest and row along the river, as well as observe daily habits of the birds. Famous gardens include Vam Ho and Bang Lang.
Don ca tai tu
Don ca tai tu is a traditional music of Vietnam that has been recognized by UNESCO. With its roots in the Vietnam Royal Court Music, Don ca tai tu requires 4 instruments: Dan kim (Double-stringed lute), Dan co (Two-chord fiddle), Dan tranh (Long zither), and Dan bau (Monochord zither) (they are together called “the fantastic four”).
Visiting a floating market is a crucial part of any Southwest trip. There will be many local dishes that you probably don’t know, various farming products and trademark food
The statue with height of 33 meter, located on the top of Thien Cam Son mountain (often called Cam mountain – Forbidden mountain). The statue has a merciful smile and big belly – signatures of Maitreya.
Xeo Quit historical monument
Located in Dong Thap province, Xeo Quit is noted for its cajeput forest, A shaped air-raid shelter, and prohibited areas areas where anti-tank grenades lie (visitors are forbidden from getting too close).
There are fascinating activities you can take part in: slap the water to catch fish, catch crocodiles,and ride the ostrich and horses along village paths, have a nap in the hammock in a peaceful farm and much more.
Expenses vary, depends on where you go and how far you travel in the Me Kong Delta.
As some examples……
Transportation (Ha Noi – Ho Chi Minh/ 1 way ticket)
Airplane: 2.000.000 – 3.000.000 VND (2 hours)
Train: 600.000 – 750.000 VND (40 hours)
Accommodation: 500.000 – 2.000.000 VND per night
Food: 500.000 – 1.000.000 VND/day (for luxurious restaurants)
Total expense: 1.500.000 – 2.000.000 VND per day