Mekong Delta best things to do & travel guide

Many tourists think they can see enough of the Mekong Delta during a short day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. However, there is so much more than a pagoda and a floating market. This region is home to unique ecosystems and various unique communities.

5 reasons to visit Mekong Delta

  1. Take a boat trip through the small waterways of the Mekong
  2. Visit a floating market
  3. Discover the unique life of the local population
  4. Visit a National Park to spot more than 100 different birds
  5. Cycle through the rice fields and local villages

What is in this Mekong Delta travel guide

Book your local Mekong Delta experience

Practical information

Recommended days to stay

The Mekong Delta is a huge area that many travelers visit in a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. But especially if you want to see the floating markets early morning, it is recommended to at least go for two fulls days.

ATM's & money exchange

ATMs are mainly found in the cities. Cash is preferred, but debit and credit cards can be used in many hotels.

Local events and holidays

  • Oc Bom Boc Festival: Once a year the Khmer community from all over Vietnam and even Cambodia appears for this festival, with boat racing on the Soc Trang River. Races are held according to the lunar calendar on the 15th day of the 10th moon (approximately in November)
  • Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year): Around February every year you can see how the locals prepare their festivities. They decorate their houses with flowers and prepare special dishes that are made only during this time.

Best time to visit

  • Best travel time: The weather is pleasant all year round. Even when it rains, you still see interesting aspects of local life.
  • If you want to avoid the rain, visit the Mekong Delta between December and March.
  • May to August: Summer in Vietnam and this is the season that a lot of fruit grows in the area.
  • Rainy season: September to November is the rainy season with many floods.

10 best things to do in Mekong Delta

Tourists not only come here for the beautiful rice fields and the mighty Mekong Delta. What the Mekong Delta is mainly known for is the life around the river. The residents in the region are friendly and open. And in addition to viewing the rice fields, you can taste colorful fruits, visit orchards or fish farms, visit floating markets and villages, cook at the locals or do a homestay in one of the many traditional villages.

Here is the complete list of best things to do in the Mekong Delta.

1. Boat trip

Ben Tre boat trip
Sampan boat trip in Cai Be Mekong Delta
The best way to explore the Mekong Delta is zigzagging through the canals with a boat trip. In the shade of coconut trees you have a beautiful view of lush orchards, rice fields and local houses. On the way you can, for example, visit a floating market or stop at various places to visit a local factory, village or fruit orchard. Various boat trips are possible. On the larger rivers, motorized sloops are used to cover greater distances. In the smaller side canals you can enjoy a traditional sampan rowing boat that is propelled by the locals while paddling.

2. Floating markets

Cai Rang floating market
Although the floating markets in the Mekong Delta are only a tourist attraction for us, for the residents it is a way of life and entrepreneurship. A floating market is a collection of market people who use the rivers to distribute and sell local goods. The delta is full of rivers and the land here is perfect for agriculture. Farmers and growers load their goods directly onto boats next to them to sell and ship them to the big cities. A floating market is therefore a place where dozens or sometimes more than a hundred boats come together. It is impressive to see and for that reason one of the best things to do in the Mekong Delta. The largest and most famous floating market is the Cai Rang floating market, near Can Tho. Other floating markets to visit include Cai Be, Long Xuyen, Phong Dien, and Tra On.

3. Explore the Mekong by bicycle

cycling in the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is as flat as a pancake. In addition, there are countless roads through the countryside connecting all the villages, small local factories, rice fields and fruit orchards. In addition, you will hardly find any traffic on these rural roads. This complete combination makes this area the best place for cycling in Vietnam.

Bicycles can be borrowed for free at most accommodations located in the countryside. You can go on your own or with a guide. Either way, you will enjoy the beautiful landscapes, friendly people and quiet roads. Because of the many rivers and canals, it can happen that you have to sail with a pound or have to use bridges made by the local population.

4. Tra Su Indigo Forest

Tra Su Indigo Forest
Tra Su Indigo Forest

In addition to the villages and countryside, you will also find vegetation and nature that are unique to this region. The Tra Su Indigo Forest is one of these places. Here you will find a forest that is completely flooded, with many rare species of faunas, some of which are on the endangered list. A motor boat makes it possible to sail through this forest. Along the way you can take beautiful photos and spot birds.

5. Stay in a homestay

Mekong Delta homestay
Mekong Delta homestay

Spending a day in a homestay in the Mekong Delta is the best option to relax and enjoy a peaceful life, and you will also learn more about the local culture.

The big advantage of a homestay is that it is a more personal experience. Stay with a local family where you learn more or their culture. You do not have to worry about the lack of comfort, because some homestays have a lot of luxury and sometimes even a swimming pool.


6. Tram Chim National Park

Tram Chim National Park
Tram Chim National Park

Tram Chim National Park is a biological treasure house with no less than a quarter of the bird population in Vietnam. This makes it one of the best national parks in Vietnam

Bird spotting in general is already one of the best things to do in the Mekong Delta, because you find a lot of rare birds here and there are huge areas of reserves for them to live. The park is located in Dong Thap province, close to the cities of Chau Doc and Long Xuyen. The area is a submerged in-land ecosystem that you explore by boat. 

7. Picking fruit

fruit picking Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta fruit

The Mekong Delta provides 70% of the fruit consumed in all of Vietnam, and there are numerous fruit orchards spread across the various provinces that make up the Delta. When exploring the area by bike or boat, you can stop at a fruit orchard and pick your own fruit to eat.

8. Climb Sam Mountain

Sam Mountain
Sam Mountain

Sam Mountain is more of a hill than a mountain, with dozens of pagodas, tombs and even a temple on the way to the top. The views from the hill are beautiful, with rice fields, pole villages and beautiful greenery. This pilgrimage site is located in An Giang province near Chau Doc and the Cambodian border.

9. Bang Lang stork garden

Bang Lang stork garden
Bang Lang stork garden

The Bang Lang stork garden is one of the best stork sanctuaries in the Mekong Delta. It is surrounded by immense rice fields and the Can Tho canals. Again, a boat trip through the nature reserve is the best way to spot the birds and explore the reserve.

10. Vinh Trang Pagoda

Vinh Trang Pagoda
Vinh Trang Pagoda

One of the best things to do in the Mekong Delta is to visit the many different temples and pagodas. The Vinh Trang Pagoda is the most famous in this region, built in 1849. The pagoda brings together Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer and European architecture and features various Buddha statues. The temple is located in Tien Giang province, only 5 km from My Tho.

Best hotels & hostels in Mekong Delta

Where to stay

My Tho

an important market town in the Mekong region. Because it is a local trade center, this city is quite busy compared to some of the quieter destinations in the area. This makes it an interesting place to visit and see the daily bustle of the many local shops and stalls. It is also a great place to start if you want to see the famous floating markets on the way to Can Tho.

Ben Tre

Just a short drive past the busy My Tho, you’ll find quiet Ben Tre, a picturesque province. Stay here for the tranquility of this area and enjoy the beautiful natural environment full of tropical flowers and green foliage waterways. Boat trips are the center of a visit to Ben Tre.

Can tho 

The largest city of the Mekong Delta, is also one of the most popular destinations in the Delta region, mainly due to the famous floating markets. It is a good place to observe life in the river. It is an important transport hub for the surrounding towns and villages. Great photo spots in the area – small villages, cycle paths, green countryside intersected by local canals and floating markets.

How to get there

Flights to Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta has an airport in the city of Can Tho. There are daily flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, among others.

Buses to Mekong Delta

Although there are 12 provinces that are part of the Mekong Delta, the usual route for most tourists to reach this destination is from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho. It takes approximately three hours to reach the Mekong Delta by bus.

The most popular way to discover the Mekong Delta is by tour. This is a good option if you don’t have much time.

Private cars to Mekong Delta

Nowadays many families consider renting a car because of the comfort and convenience, this service is also offered by many hotels. You always rent a car with a driver, because you cannot drive without a valid Vietnamese driver’s license.

How to get around

Boat – Some delta cities have boat connections between them, although road improvement and building bridges reduce water travel. It is still the best way to explore the small waterways and floating markets in the Mekong.

Bus – It is easy to travel by public transport and the bus connections are excellent. Every city has a main bus station for both buses and minibuses.

Bicycle, motorcycle and car – The most flexible transport option is a private car, a bicycle or a rented motorcycle. Riding a bike or motorbike around the delta is fun, especially along the maze of country roads. The delta is fairly flat, but be prepared for toll roads and ferries, although these are gradually being replaced by new bridges. Ferries are cheap and frequent.

Itinerary 2 days in Mekong Delta

Day 1

  • Take a bus or car to Can Tho and stay outside the city on the countryside
  • Jump on a bike to start exploring the area with orchards, canals, rice fields and pagodas. 

Day 2

  • Very early in the morning you go by boat to the Cai Rang floating market and the Phong Dien Floating Market.
  • After that you explore the rivers and smaller canals. Enjoy local life and visit some factories, villages and orchards.

More tips for traveling in Mekong Delta

Where to go next?

From the Mekong Delta you can travel by fast ferry to Phu Quoc (which is officially also part of the Mekong). You can also take a bus into Cambodia.

Going up north you will always first need to travel to Ho Chi Minh City first. You can also take flights from Can Tho to Da Nang and Hanoi.

Mekong Delta with kids

The Mekong Delta is the perfect place to bring children. Make fun boat trips and cycle with them through the peaceful countryside. It is recommended to book an accommodation with a pool, like our Mekong Lodge experience.

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