There’s a place in the Southern Vietnam where the Mekong River which is often called nine sprawling rivers, has formed the fertile Mekong Delta. This delta is the kingdom of rivers. Daily life here flows with the ever-changing waters, fisheries thrive during the annual flood and rice fields are quickly dug as the waters recede.
The attraction of Mekong Delta never cools down its heat on Vietnam’s tourism
Waking up here and you will see how the towns bustle with vendors trading their fresh products, an endless flow of river traffic passing through daily. Veer off into a smaller stream and you’ll find orchards, Buddhist temples and households clinging to the banks of the river.
Once coming to Mekong Delta, you will get overwhelmed by its great deal of things for you to discover, and tours around the fancy places that marked their names on tourist map of Vietnam is something you can’t miss.
1. Can Tho
Can Tho is a large city. Similar to other Vietnamese cities in the Delta, the central area (along Hai Ba Trung street) really comes alive after the sun goes down. During the day don’t expect to see much interesting, after dark the area becomes a gathering point for locals and tourists and a great place to just hang out and shop the numerous authentic Vietnamese stores or eat at the restaurants, some of them offering really excellent value for the money. Overall it’s a very friendly city and a much less crowded with traffic then Ho Chi Minh city. A great place to get a feel for the “real” Vietnam.
Ninh Kieu Pier
Ninh Kieu Pier Tourist Market, The main market of Can Tho used to be an open market located on Ninh Kieu pier. Today, the only original building left is the beautiful old market hall, now surrounded with a garden along the river. Now Cai Khe markets further upstream the Can Tho river and Xuan Khanh Market host the increasing activity.
Cai Rang floating market
Cai Rang floating market is the main wholesale floating market near Can Tho, and takes place before and around dawn each day. It’s literally floating in the middle of a fairly large river, far from the riverbanks, which are lined with private houses and shops. Therefore, you will absolutely have to get on a boat in order to appreciate this floating market. If you don’t want to pay foreign tourist prices for a tour from Ninh Kieu, you can hire a taxi. However, don’t simply ask to go to Cai Rang Floating Market, as you’ll likely end up at a random deserted riverbank where the driver’s buddy will try to sell you an overpriced floating market tour.
2. Vinh Long
As a major transit hub, Vinh Long has great connections to Vietnam’s outer islands and its mainland. Tucked down the surrounding network of streams and canals are many family homes, which take advantage of the flow of traffic to trade. Many families now welcome visitors as guests, giving you the opportunity to experience daily life on the Mekong.
Vinh Long beautiful scenery
The houses sit on the riverbank, surrounded by gardens that nearly always include a small tropical fruit orchard. You’ll have your own (basic, but spotlessly clean) room to stay in. Sitting down to enjoy home-cooked meals with your host family, you’ll find them keen to share more about their culture.
3. Ben Tre
Ben Tre Province provides some of the most beautiful scenery 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, one of them is very famous is Cai Mon fruit orchard.
Cai Mon orchard
Boat trips are one of the nicest ways to negotiate the network of channels, but the land in between the waters is just as fascinating. It’s fun to follow some of the small trails along the channels, crossing sidearms on very basic bridges and walking by fruit and coconut orchards.
Coconut lines in Ben Tre
There are apparently four coconut candy factory across town. The shop selling the coconut candy (keo dua) is in the front and the factory is in the back. The visit of the factory where you see the women making the handmade candy is free.
4. Tay Ninh
Since Tay Ninh temperature is hot and humid all year with an average temperature of 27.5ºC, and rainfall of 1,724mm. There are many things you can do. The dry season normally lasts from December till April and the rainy season lasts from May till November.
Cao Dai temple
The Cao Dai Temple – masses are held at 6am, mid-day, 6pm, and midnight. Although most tourists planning to visit the temple usually arrive for the noon mass. There is a balcony that runs along the walls halfway up. This is where you can watch the service. It is a very nice view. In the front of the temple is the Devine Eye in the shape of a triangle of Justice. It is surrounded by flowers on the Cosmic Globe.
Ba Den mountain
Ba Den Mountain – there are two ways to get up to the temple: you can walk the traditional trail, or pay a few dollars and take the tram. The views of the countryside are breathtaking.
Dau Tieng Reservior
Dau Tieng Reservior – The reservoir is set in a beautiful landscape surrounding of mountains where is has many islets. The visitors often get a relax feeling when visiting Dau Tieng.
The best time to visit the Mekong Delta
It’s best to visit the Mekong Delta between October and March when the water levels are high enough for floating markets, sailing trips and to watch the busiest river life. January to March offers the best overall weather throughout Vietnam, although prices can rise dramatically around Tet time, when shops and restaurants also tend to close for a few days.
The busy lifestyle at Tet in Mekong Delta
Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit
In late November, Vietnam’s Khmer ethnic group will celebrate the Ok Om Bok Festival on the day of the full moon. In order to express the appreciation to the harvest, they hold this festival to show their gratitude to the moon goddess with attractive activities like boat races, dance performances and other games. Each village hosts its own small festival, gathering around the local pagoda.
Ok Om Bok festival
The lunar New Year, known as Tet, tends to fall in late January or early February. Towns and cities are covered in bright flags and lights of yellow, which is considered lucky. It’s also the flower season for the Mekong Delta and you might see boats completely filled with yellow flowers as part of the celebrations.