SOME SECRET TIPS ABOUT THE MEKONG DELTA
Mekong Delta Destinations
The surrounding Mekong Delta – very rich and fertile – offers so many tropical fruit orchards, sugar-cane, coconut palms, especially the rice fields which contributes one-third of the total Vietnam rice output. As a result, almost travelers think the popular tour in Mekong Delta is a visit of the bustling, colorful floating market, a scenic boat trip through a dense network of narrow canals or an ultimate river cruise journey on Mekong river which will be completed within 2 or 3 days. However, it worths to spend more than three days in your travel document; these secret tips will show you why.
Mekong Delta river is one of the longest in worldwide, originated from the Himalayas, passes through China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
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Some recent year, the weather in Mekong Delta area is warm for a whole year so you can visit there any time for a tropical beach vacation. Ideally, you should drop there from December to May next year which is in the dry season there.
If you combine North to South Vietnam, we should start from the North which is a lower temperature than South and highlight your trip with a tropical beach vacation on a southern island.
How to plan your trip in Mekong Delta and around
With the experience mentioned above, you are advised to spend at least eight days to cover all of it. For a shorter holiday, we can make a small loop linking these cities together: HCMC – My Tho – Can Tho – Chau Doc.
If you prefer a visit to Phu Quoc island, it takes you 3-hour drive from Can Tho to Rach Gia plus 2-hour speed boat to get there. Or the fastest way of traveling is to fly there from Can Tho airport. Or we move from Can Tho to Chau Doc then take a 6-hour speed boat to Phnom Penh – the capital city of Cambodia. The boat ticket is around US$25 per person per way…
1. How to get there
In Vietnam, we have three international airports: Hanoi (capital city in North), Danang (Middle) and Ho Chi Minh City (the biggest in the South). There is a daily direct flight from Hanoi, Danang and other cities to Ho Chi Minh City then we can take 2-hour local bus/taxi/car to the Mekong Delta. If you come from Cambodia, you can take 1-hour flight or 6-hour speed boat/6-hour bus to Mekong Delta.
If you prefer the waterway, you can take a speed boat to get there from Tan Cang Pier which makes you a 20-minute drive from Ho Chi Minh City center. From Tan Cang Pier you can choose to book speed boat route to My Tho – Ben Tre (the one of the best part of Vietnam Mekong Delta) or Cu Chi underground tunnel or to Vam Sat mangrove forest.
2. Where to stay
In Mekong Delta, it is not available only traditional accommodation such as hotel, resorts but also homestay which mainly located in these destinations: Ben Tre, Cai Be, Can Tho, Chau Doc, etc.
For nature lovers, the eco-lodge, eco-farm stay, and homestay are the best choice to get the green nature and rich cultural background. When staying there, we are accessible to the fish pond, nearby orchards, rice fields, the local houses, etc.
3. What to eat
Coming to Mekong Delta is a visit to the paradise of tropical fruit orchards, various types of river fishes, especially Elephant fish.
As usual, the local can fry or make hotpot with many types of fishes with refreshing tropical vegetables and herbs, etc. Besides it, Mekong Delta is famous for some traditional cakes made from rice such as ‘’Banh Xeo’’ – Vietnamese Crepes. We put a mixture of rice flour, turmeric powder, chopped onion on the pan to fry then put some beansprouts, prawn on top. When cooking it well, we eat that with very fresh herbs and cucumbers.
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A stop in this area is a peaceful memory because of the very warm hospitality from the local. A big smile on the face of the children whom the water buffaloes are carrying on or biking to their class through the small rural lanes; the local are planting rice trees. Sometimes, we also can see local vendors carrying their agricultural products on their bikes/scooters; the woman drying colorful incense sticks in front of the yard; many vast farms of cashew nut/dragon fruits/sugar-cane, etc
Besides that, for the authentic-experience hunters, we created a wide selection of unique activities you should not miss when drop-in there:
1. Mekong Delta River cruise journey
With the concept of ultimate services, the boutique cruises were made from natural materials and offer a varied choice from 2-3 hours to 1, 2, or 3 days. By doing that, you get the profound insight of the floating life where all activities occur on the river even washing clothes as well as immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere. We also get a chance to impact with the local such as watching floating market, cooking class on a cruise, drop-in the local family and take a visit to the ancient riverside house, etc
2. Motorbike or Biking tour in Mekong Delta
If getting bored with relaxation, just wake-up yourself with a jump off the motorbike and drive through Ho Chi Minh trail, passes through the small road with the coconut and banana trees on both of sides. The geography like a transformer from the bustling city with the very tall buildings into the countryside with small lanes, rice fields, orchards, coconut palms, water buffaloes and ducks on the same river and the 100-year-old ancient houses, etc
To escape from human beings and see all aspect of Vietnam local life, Motorbike / Bike tour is the best way. However, you need to get used to staying at the local houses, very basic homestay or supernormal hotel which we pass by.
3. Dinner on a river cruise in Ho Chi Minh City
For the lovers, sampling Vietnamese cuisines while cruising on the river is such a romantic memory. Not only that but also listening to the traditional music is the best way to respect the local values.
At this present time, it is too many choices to make the right decision. It is a wide selection from midrange to the top luxury cruises. Hereunder is some famous brand name for this activity: Bonsai Cruise, Saigon Cruise.
4. Bird watching at Tram Chim National park – Sarus Crane
Let’s try to imagine, when wake-up earlier in the morning at the local house right inside the park, the birds are singing outside, and the surrounding is super quiet. The scenery is exceptionally peaceful with the scenic boat trip through a mangrove forest for hunting the photos of Sarus Crane – one of the most typical species there.
Not only bird watching but also admiring the huge culture difference between our countries. Some values will be opposite in Vietnam which make you laugh constantly.
5. Enjoying night Safari in Cat Tien National park – One of 6 biosphere reserves by UNESCO
It takes us a 4-hour drive to get there and the only place available Safari at night for watching the wild animals. This experience starts typically at 20:00 every day.
Besides it, there is a wide selection of outdoor activities which are friendly with kids also:
- Trekking / Biking route is flexible to amended shorter or longer
- Visiting Gibbon island
- Boat trip on Crocodile lake
- Kayaking excursion
6. Isolated islands for a beach holiday
Phu Quoc island: To approach this island, we can take 1-hour flight from HCMC or 2-hour flight from Hanoi capital city. Or the cheaper option is the 2-hour speedboat from Rach Gia to get there. This island is considered as a pearl of East Sea from the local government.
At this moment, it was adequately equipped from the usual hotels to the top luxury beachfront resorts mainly located in Duong Dong town and scattered along the coastline.
Some typical outdoor activities combine to Mekong Delta
- Trekking through the park
- Sightseeing tour to the historical sites, the local workshop of fish sauce, local fruit wine, temples, pagoda, fishing village, pearl farm, waterfall, etc
- Diving excursions / Snorkeling
- Night squid fishing
- Island boat trip journey
Con Dao archipelago: a group of 16 unnamed islands off the southeast coast of Vietnam. They’re known for their sandy beaches, coral reefs, and marine life. The shores of Bảy Cạnh Island are a breeding ground for turtles, and there are many dive sites in the surrounding clear waters. Con Son the place of French-run prisons for Vietnamese involved in the independence movement.
Some typical outdoor activities combine to Mekong Delta:
- See turtles nesting on Hon Bay Canh Island
- Visiting historical relics/sites
- Diving excursions