The Mekong Delta, as a region, lies immediately to the west of Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon by locals), roughly forming a triangle stretching from My Tho in the east to Chau Đoc and Ha Tien in the northwest, down to Ca Mau at the southernmost tip of Vietnam, and including the island of Phu Quoc. There are 12 Provinces in Mekong Delta, Some of them bordering with Cambodia.
The Mekong Delta region of Vietnam displays a variety of physical landscapes, but is dominated by flat flood plains in the south, with a few hills in the north and west. This diversity of terrain was largely the product of tectonic uplift and folding brought about by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates about 50 million years ago. The soil of the lower Delta consists mainly of sediment from the Mekong and its tributaries, deposited over thousands of years as the river changed its course due to the flatness of the low-lying terrain.
The present Mekong Delta system has two major distributary channels, both discharging directly into the East Sea. The Holocene history of the Mekong Delta shows delta progradation of about 200 km during the last 6 kyr. During the Middle Holocene the Mekong River was discharging waters into both the East Sea and the Gulf of Thailand . The water entering the Gulf of Thailand was flowing via a palaeochannel located within the western part of the delta; north of the Camau Peninsula. Upper Pleistocene prodeltaic and delta front sediments interpreted as the deposits of the palaeo-Mekong River where reported from central basin of the Gulf of Thailand.
The Mekong Delta is the region with the smallest forest area in Vietnam. 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) or 7.7% of the total area are forested. The only provinces with large forests are Ca Mau Province and Kien Giang Province, together accounting for two-thirds of the region's forest area, while forests cover less than 5% of the area of all of the other eight provinces and cities.
Area : 40,576.6 km2 (15,666.7 sq mi)
Elevation : 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2019) :
• Total 21,492,987
• Density 530/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
The temperatures in the Mekong delta are all year round about 25-28°C with only slight variations.
The dry season in the Mekong delta from October / November to April / May is the preferred travel time. But even during the rainy season from May to October, the Mekong delta can be visited too. The rain usually comes in short, heavy showers, mostly in the afternoon and only lasts for an hour or so. Only a few days a year the temperature is below 20°C.
The main tourist season lasts from October to January. So far only a few tourists find their way into the Mekong delta during the off-season from March to September. Even though the weather at this time is not necessarily perfect, you have the advantage of more favorable prices and significantly fewer tourists.
The Mekong delta is near Ho Chi Minh City, and Capital City of Mekong Delta is Can Tho City Which is only 4 hours' drive away, so it is easy to access by road, although there is only one main road, and therefore sometimes you may be stunned by the crowded and chaotic flow of traffic.
There are some flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Rach Gia, and also between Ho Chi Minh City and the island of Phu Quoc. Rach Gia can also be reached by boat or plane from Phu Quoc.
There used to be hydrofoil connections from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho then to Can Tho in about 4 hours, but the option does not exist any more. Alternatives are speed boat transfers, or for those who would enjoy unspoilt nature, cruises from Cai Be to Can Tho or back.
The Mekong delta is also a natural passageway from southern Vietnam to Cambodia, which can be entered overland or by river. The access from Vietnam to Cambodia or vise versa is now convenient with some types of speed boat.
You can travel from Chau Doc City to Phnom Penh on a boat-bus journey. You can also enter at the border crossing on the way from Kampot in southern Cambodia to Ha Tien. Bus connections are also now available between Phnom Penh and Can Tho.
There are many Mekong Delta tours available Those start in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Some of them end in Saigon, others in Phnom Penh (also available the other way around: Phnom Penh to Saigon). You can book them in travel agencies and hotels in Vietnam and Cambodia. There are only a few tour operators available, however, it can be difficult to find out what tour operator is behind the tour you want to book, as many travel agencies pretend that it is their own tour and prices between agencies can vary significantly for the same tour. To make things a bit more complicated, tour operators often share buses and boats when they don't have enough travelers and they combine different tours (e.g. a 2 day and a 3 day Mekong Delta tour). You may have to change the buses often. Everybody seems to sell the same kind of tour, which is of pretty bad quality.
One of the best way to visit Mekong Delta is by boat cruises. Boat trips along Mekong River to enjoy the daily lives of the local, join some off boat activities and overnight on Boats... There are many type of boats : Sampans, traditional wooden boats, steel boats from 3 - 5 stars. Day boats, overnight boats. Most of the boats will depart from Cai Be upstream to Chau Doc, some of the go straight to Siem Reap and Vice Versa.
Travel by bus in southern Vietnam is quite convenient. There are extensive connections between most cities and towns, just go to any town's bus station and you should be able to find bus connections to where you want to go, or at least pretty close to it.
The fastest means of bus travel is by express bus. There are a few companies that run express buses, but the most popular and reliable is Mai Linh. They operate green minibuses that leave promptly at the scheduled time and arrive at the destination the fastest. They have air conditioning, though it's not always strong enough to keep the cabin cool. While the buses go the fastest, they also have a reputation for driving the most dangerously. Though accidents with buses are rare, the ride on an express bus will likely be more stressful than on a local bus. Another name to be considered is Phuong Trang bus, which is more and more become popular with southerners or even tourists for its quality and friendly operating..
Local buses will be large and old and will belch exhaust. They will be slightly cheaper than express buses, but may be a more interesting experience if you enjoy the grittier aspects of local culture. The buses usually won't have air conditioning, but they'll keep the windows down so sometimes they can end up being cooler than the express buses. They will make frequent stops along the road to pick up travelers. If you want to get off somewhere between the main cities, you should take a local bus. Express buses will only stop at bus stations.
Bicyle and Motorbike
The Mekong Delta is a great place to explore by bicycle and motorbike. The terrain is flat and the roads are well-maintained. Traffic isn't too heavy, especially on back roads off Highway 1A. The road between Chau Doc through Long Xuyen to Can Tho is easily the most dangerous in the delta, with quite a lot of big trucks and buses rumbling along a narrow road. Be careful when riding along this stretch and hug the edges of the road.
You'll never have to worry about finding a place to sleep. You'll never be more than 30-40 kilometres from a town with a guest house (nha nghi) or hotel (khach san). If the biking gets too tiring, you'll also find cafes at least every 4-5 kilometres where you can rest and have a drink. There are also mechanic shops every few kilometres where you can get flat tires and other mechanical problems repaired.
A lot of local life happens just next to the road in the delta, so exploring on two wheels can be a great way to get closer to it. You'll see farmers working their fields and walking their buffalos home in the evening. People dry rice, coconut husks, lemongrass and other spices on the side of the road. There will be plenty to see!
SEE & DO
Ben Tre: Although only a 20 min ferry-ride away from bustling My Tho, this seems to be barrier enough to give the town a genuine backwater feeling. Tourists are still a scarce species and locals are open and friendly. Ben Tre Province provides some of the most beautiful sceneries in the Mekong delta. The milk coffee colored waters wind their way along small channels lined with water palms, thatch and bamboo houses are nestled in the lush orchards.
My Tho: is the capital of the Tien Giang province in Southern Vietnam. It is the first city in the Mekong Delta travellers from Ho Chi Minh City will arrive and hence a popular spot for dropping tourists on one of the many Mekong boat tours.
Can Tho City is known as the biggest City and the Capital City of Mekong Delta. This is the most favourite destination of the tourists. There are many beautiful place to visit : Cai Rang Floating Market, Phong Dien Floating Market, Binh Thuy Old House, Bang Lang Stork Garden, Ninh Kieu Whalf, Ong Pagoda...
Chau Doc City : Chau Doc City is in An Giang Province, bordering Cambodia, in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. The city is located by the Hau River and Vinh Te Canal. Chau Doc is situated 250 kilometres west of Ho Chi Minh City. Chau Doc is famous for Sam Mountain, Tra Su Bird Santuary , fishing villages, from Chau Doc you can go by boat to Phnom Penh or Cross Tinh Bien Border by road.
Ca Mau City : Ca Mau is a city in southern Vietnam. It is the capital of Ca Mau Province, a province in the Mekong Delta region, in the southernmost part of Vietnam's inland territory. The city is characterized by its system of transport canals and most goods are transported here by boats and barges. The most favourite tourist attraction is Ca Mau is U Minh National Park with an area of 82.86 square kilometers and was established on 20 January 2006 to protect low wetland ecosystem in the region. Fauna and flora found here include mangrove, snake, turtle, bird, amphibian...
Phu Quoc Island is the adventure center for the delta area. Phu Quoc Island belongs to Kien Giang Province. You can go scuba diving or snorkeling here, though there aren't so many fish left nowadays. Nha Trang, in central Vietnam, has more marine life to see. Phu Quoc is best for exploring by motorbike. There are roads covering a good portion of the island, and they're generally passable as long as it hasn't been raining too much. There are few signs, though, so bring a map and find out how to ask for directions. What makes Phu Quoc Island famous and attract the tourists are beautiful beaches with various beach resorts.
Sam Mountain, a few kilometres from Chau Doc, is a regional Buddhist pilgrimage site and is a good place for a hike. The "mountain" is only 160 metres tall and there are steps of concrete and stone all the way to the top. You'll find numerous colorful temples as you climb to the top, and there are many cafes along the way where you can relax with a fresh coconut or glass of milk coffee. If you can, save your cafe break until you get near the top, where you can relax in a hammock and enjoy the breeze while looking out over the delta and even into neighboring Cambodia. Sam Mountain is the only hill for a long way in every direction, so you can get a great view of Chau Doc and the patchwork or rice fields run through by canals all around.
Tra Su forest: This sanctuary is located about 20 km from Chau Doc and covers an area of approximately 850 hectares. A wide variety of colorful birds and other animals can be found here: storks, bats, snakes, turtles … Particularly interesting to watch are birds that can walk on water: because of their low body weight they do not fall through the densely grown floating habitats.
Cai Be floating market: is a small and little visited floating market in Mekong Delta. It is held along the Tan Phong Island at the junction of Tien River in territory of three provinces Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Ben Tre. Every morning, hundreds of boats gather here to trade their local products, mainly fruit, creating a bustling fair. Different from other big floating market in the region, Cai Be is a retail market and it ends around mid-day, so try to visit it early or miss its vibrancy.
Cai Rang floating market: Cai Rang Floating Market is the main wholesale floating market near Can Tho. Go there early in the morning (as early as 5:30am), and come back through the small tributaries to Can Tho river; about 3-4 hours.
Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta was set up in 1998 with an area of 7,313 hectares. In 2012 it was recognized by the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance, the fourth in Vietnam and 2000th in the world. Over 230 species of birds gather here for the breeding season,totalling 53 km in length, surround and bisect the site creating six habitat management plots. Melaleuca was planted for production in the past and now forms a substantial inundated forest. The site is inundated annually to a depth of 2-3 metres during the wet season. There are 22,000 people living adjacent to the boundaries of the site.
There are more than 300 bird species have been recorded in the park, however many of them are very rare or no longer seen recently. Some species have declined their population rapidly, especially Sarus Crane population has dropped from more 200 birds to less than 20 birds in 10 years. On the other hand, many populations are increasing such as Asian Openbill, Oriental Darter, Cormorants, Egrets, etc. These changing have alarmed scientists and conservationists to consider, we need to understand why it has been happening and how to sustain this unique ecosystem.
Vam Ho bird sanctuary : Located in the two communes of My Hoa and Tan Xuan - Ben Tre Province, Vam Ho is a mangrove forest with many wild plants and 84 different kinds of bird. Visit Vam Ho bird sanctuary, visitors can trek across the mangrove forest, visit the resistance base, go through the bamboo bridge and enjoy the fresh air. When you are tired, you can lie back on the hammock swaying under the shade and breathe the fresh air of Ba Lai River.
Truc Lam Phuong Nam Zen Monastery : Considered to be the largest monastery in the Mekong Delta according to the Buddhist architecture of the Ly - Tran Dynasty, Truc Lam Phuong Nam Monastery is located in My Khanh Commune (near My Khanh Resort). Truc Lam Phuong Nam Monastery is located in the historical relic area of the Can Tho City Highway. The total area of Truc Lam Phuong Nam Monastery is over 38,000 m2.
EAT AND DRINK
In Ben Tre City
Coconut candy You can’t talk about Ben Tre without mentioning of Coconut candy. The best Coconut candy is produced in Mo Cay district. It is soft, tasty, greasy smell and slightly sweet in a unique way that you can’t find it anywhere else. They use a combination of coconut and other fruits like durian and peanut to create a more flavorful candy that will leave your mind unforgettable experiences. Making coconut candy is considered an art, with the secret recipe is only transmitted in the family.
Coconut wine It is another specialty of Ben Tre. Unlike other wine, drinking coconut wine won’t make you get drunk but just a little groggy and something special in the throat. The wine is cool sweet with coconut flavor. Ask the local or your accommodation staff to buy the genuine coconut wine.
Snail pancake Banh xeo (pancake) is not such a strange dish to Southeast region, but Snail pancake is a special dish of Phu Da (Cho Lach district – Ben Tre). This is rare place which has the most quantity of rice snail. Every year, April and May in lunar calendar are the season of breeding for Rice snail, especially in Mid-year festival (5th of May in lunar year).
snail-pancake-is-a-special-dish-of-phu-da-saigon-ridersSnail pancake is a special dish of Phu Da
On this occasion, Ben Tre tour will bring tourists come to this place to enjoy delicious dishes made from Rice snails. This type of snail can be made of various dishes, from simple steamed, salad, grilled, fried, etc. However, snail pancake is beyond excellent. Sprinkling the whole cake with chili sauce, such taste to make people want to do more and more.
Flat banana: The selected banana must be the green Siamese banana that has just turned maturity. A banana after being sliced across will be baked on coal fire for 5 minutes. Then they take it out, put into a plastic bag and flatten it, then put it on the flame again until the banana turns into yellow. It is often served with coconut milk, which is quite tasteful.
Cake soup cracked This dish is a specialty of the western specialty made from rice flour, often dressed with duck meat ginger sauce. The reason is called sliced bread sliced to make bread flour soup people will use rice flour, kneaded according to individual recipes of each person. Often, it is difficult to find a place to sell because they usually carry the burden, only local people know the journey, but you can ask any local people.
Broken rice (Com Tam) Tourists say Com Tam here is better than in Saigon. The meat is usually roasted pork, sliced thin, in addition to chicken ram, small rind, fried egg quarters, cucumber, tomatoes, pickles… Both make this dish eye-catching and rich-nutrition.
Coconut rice This is quite sophisticated and requires to be patient. To cook this dish, the rice should be carefully selected, the rice is covered with coconut milk, drained and put in the coconut water. In addition, the coconut used to cook this dish must be Siamese Coconut. Coconut rice is usually served with roasted shrimps.
coconut-rice-is-quite-sophisticated-saigon-ridersCoconut rice is quite sophisticated
Places to eat famous coconut rice in Ben Tre: floating restaurant Ben Tre – Ben Hung Vuong, Ben Tre – Ben Tre eco tour.
Duck noodle Duck noodle in Ben Tre is usually cooked with duck and used with ginger sauce. Such noodle is cut into small pieces. Duck meat has white color and soup has good taste that you never forget this if try one time only. You can find the one of the best duck noodle restaurants in Ba Mu bridge market, Nguyen Hue, Ward 4, Ben Tre city.
In Can Tho City
Banh Xeo Muoi Xiem Go to Can Tho you remember to enjoy the famous brand in the world - Mrs. Muoi Xiem pancake.
From Can Tho center, go back to Tra Noc, where "located" the famous cake shop of Mrs. Muoi Xiem. Raw materials for making pancakes are rice flour mixed with coconut milk, turmeric, shrimp, meat ... Rice pancake rolls with rice veggies (spicy green mustard, lettuce, aromatic herbs, basil, basil Fish, fish, bananas, sliced star fruit ...) Depending on taste, you can put pancakes with fish sauce or soy sauce.
Address: 13/3 Road 917, Trà Nóc Ward, Bình Thủy District, Cần Thơ.
Grilled Snakehead fish Grilled Snakehead fish is an existing dish from the day of exploring the southern land with a strong flavor that many tourists come to Can Tho to enjoy.
Characteristics of this dish is fish without preliminary processing, meaning no scab, not shaved, not abdomen, not marinated. This dish comes with raw vegetables, rice paper, bun ...
Address: On the shore of Xang Blow lake, Hoang Van Thu ...
Baked rolls Grilled rolls made with lean pork, soaked in a smooth paste to add diced fat and flavored garlic, sugar, salt ... with a fingertip.
The seller skewered or clamped the meat on the bamboo chopsticks placed on the embers of blisters, fat and small, smoky, fragrant fumes.
Address:Thanh Van Grilled Nem, No. 17 Hoa Binh Avenue, Can Tho.
In Chau Doc City
Sesbania sesban sour soup (Canh chua bong dien dien) Whoever comes to An Giang in the rising season will know about the famous Sesban sour soup. The main ingredients are the sesban, lotus branches, tamarind, herbs, chili, dangila fish or perch. The sesban has to be picked during the early time of the flood season, which is sweet and fleshy, with a yellow color and a dishtinghish smell.
Eating the soup and you will never forget the sweet of the vegetable, the sour of the tamarind, the additional sweet from the fish, and the spicy of chili.
The vegetable is also used to fry shrimps, or to stuff the Vietnamese traditional pancakes. All of the dishes combined to make a nice and delicate banquet of the countryside which no restaurant can offer. In the midday of the flooding season, with the rains are pouring outside, there is nothing better than a bowl of sesban soup and a pancake.
Danio dangila (Ca linh) During the flooding season in the Mekong Delta, usually from late August, the dangilas, after laying eggs in the Lake Sea, come down to Tien (Tien) and Hau (Hau) Rivers to find food. The locals have two famous dishes made of the fish: the fried floured dangila and the hot pot of dangila and sesban. The first dangila during the early of the flooding season is fat, soft, and you can even their bones. When cooking, you don’t have to remove the fins, just remove the guts, soak with salt water to remove the slimes and cook the fish.
The best dish is dangila cooked with sour soup and eaten along with rice vermicelli. The sour soup is made of tamarind, herbs, cilantro, and basil. The fish, after cleaned and removed the guts, is put separate from the soup with the yellow sesban. When the soup is cooked, put the fish and the sesban into the soup together. The fish is soft combined with the crunchy sesban is a wonderful combination.
Beside from the sour soup and the braised with tamarind, the dangila is also made into many other dishes such as vinegar-dipped dangila, fried floured dangila, sugar cane braised dangila, fish roll, fish sauce, and even canned. All are delicious, yet the cooked dangila eaten with herbs are the things you will never forget.
NIGHTLIFE : BARS AND CAFES
in Ben Tre City
Cafe Bar Cott
Cafe Bar Cott is the best for coffee and soft drinks. It' located in the centre of Ben Tre City in a large areas. but you will have a peaceful time for reading or meat friends
Add : My Thanh An, Ben Tre City
Open till : 123h00
DOM Coffee F6
Style : Espresso bar
Add: 28 A Truong Dinh, Binh Khoi, Ben Tre
Open till 23h00
Best Coffees and Vietnamese Street foods, Take away or eat right there
Add : 98 C My Thanh An , Ben Tre
Open Till : 23h00
New Club Ben Tre
Best place for the young to relax with heavy drinks, beers and disco
Add : Vo Nguyen Giap Street, Ward 1, Ben Tre
Open Till 3.00 am
in Can Tho City
Iris Skybar is the amongst the trendiest Can Tho nightlife destinations. Located on the topmost floor of the famous Iris Hotel and centrally located in the heart of the city, Iris Skybar boasts a vibrant night view of the beautiful city. The ambience of this bar is completely cosmopolitan and sophisticated, but the prices of the various alcoholic drinks and appetizers offered here are quite reasonable.
Location: 224, 30/4 Street, Xuan Khanh Ward, Ninh Kieu, Can Tho
Open till: 12 AM
This is another bar cum restaurant which is quite popular among couples who come here to enjoy Can Tho nightlife. Delicious dishes from European and Asian cuisine are served here which can be accompanied with selective divine wines from Europe. One can opt to dine in the veranda which offers magnificent views of the city or travelers can also choose to savor the dining experience in the wine cellar.
Location: 4th Floor, Nam Bo Hote, Can Tho
Open till: 10:30 PM
Tiny Corner Cafe
Tiny Corner Cafe makes for a very unique experience of Can Tho Vietnam nightlife. One would find many youngsters hanging out here, who are enthusiastic to talk to travelers to improve their English speaking skills. This place has a functional bar as well, which serves a variety of spirits and mocktails. This cafe also hosts live acoustic music performances which livens up the ambience.
Location: 14/7 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho
Open till: 10 PM
Holiday One Sky bar
Holiday One Sky bar is one of the famous bars in Can Tho which provides an open-air rooftop setting with a swimming pool, making it an ideal place for summer parties. One can have a relaxing experience here while sipping on high-quality liquor and spirits with a touch of Mekong ingredients. Authentic traditional Vietnamese food is served here which satisfies the taste buds of every food fanatic.
Location: 59-61-63-65, Pham Ngoc Thach, Can Tho
Open till: 11:30 PM
This is an ideal place for all the non-alcoholics, serving freshly brewed Vietnamese coffee and several other cold and hot beverages. Take a break from visiting the nightclubs in Can Tho and doing the usual stuff and visit this place to witness the hustle bustle of Ninh Kieu Quay while relaxing along the street. Amavo Cafe is a sleek and modern cafe which is a perfect evening hangout spot for travelers. One can even venture into Kim Tho Cafe of this area, which is a rooftop cafe offering splendid views of the sunset.
Location: 16 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho
Open till: 11 PM
Nam Do Restaurant
Nam Do is a famous restaurant among the locals for the truly flavorsome authentic Vietnamese food. Along with the Mekong specialty dishes, Nam Do offers many meal choices from Chinese cuisine as well. A waterfront restaurant with colonial interiors and architecture perfect for dinner with friends and family lures every traveler who passes by this restaurant. Different variety of sauces are placed at every table which can be experimented.
Location: 186-188, Nguyen An Ninh, Can Tho
Open till: 10 PM
TransMekong Tours is a popular name among the tourists, as they offer exciting touring options to experience nightlife in Vietnam. Private or group sampan can be hired which takes the on-board tourists through the river where you can enjoy the peace and calm of the river with vibrantly lit city lights in the surroundings. After the ride, the boat stops at one of the famous restaurants of Can Tho.
Location: 144, Hai Ba Trung Street, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho
In Chau Doc City
Cafe DJ NonStop 219
Add : 219 Hoang Dieu
Open till late night
Bar & Cafe - Hanh Phat Hotel
Located on the top floor of Hanh Phat Hotel with over view to Chau Doc city, good drinks with best prices
Add : 260 Thu Khoa Nghia Stree, Chau Doc City
An Tuong Chau Doc ( Chau Doc Impression Bar )
Add : Tan Lo Kieu Luong, Chau Phu A, Chau Doc