Author: Lawrence Haywood
Despite the many, many riches of the Mekong Delta, most visitors to Vietnam tend to breeze through their travels here without spending the time necessary to fully understand its wonder. This is Vietnam’s most fertile and ancient land, spread across 13 provinces of unwavering natural beauty and with a stunning history running at the core. If you’re looking to get the most out of the magical region, you can follow this guide on how long to spend in the Mekong Delta.
No matter how many days you’re spending in the Mekong Delta, Can Tho Ecolodge is the perfect choice for your green-minded travels. Our luxury ecolodge is located in Can Tho, the delta’s capital city and one surrounded with the lush jungle, rice paddies and rivers in which we sit. Come and explore more about our renowned ecolodge here
How Many Days to Spend in the Mekong Delta?
One Day – Sadly, day trips from Ho Chi Minh City are the most popular way to see the Mekong Delta, which does a disservice to the vast diversity of the region. These day trips usually head to either Cai Be or Cai Rang floating markets, or to the humble backwaters of Ben Tre.
Two Days – Staying overnight in the Mekong Delta offers a great chance to you to experience some of the mesmerising tranquillity that daily envelops the region. Sleeping under a blanket of stars in the oldest inhabited land in the country really does convey a special atmosphere.
Three Days – With three days in the Mekong Delta, you’ll have enough time to fully explore one or two provinces, including most of the main attractions of Can Tho as well as another off-the-beaten-track location like Vinh Long pottery village or U Minh Thuong National Park.
Four Days – The longer you spend in the Mekong Delta, the more you’ll discover its unique splendour. Four days allows for visiting almost all of Can Tho’s attractions along with other eco-icons such as Dong Tam snake farm, Vam Ho bird sanctuary, Tra Su Cajuput Forest or even Cape Ca Mau National Park.
We feel like four days in the Mekong Delta is a great amount of time to see much of its beauty on a standard tourist time frame. Check out our example itinerary below.
Travel from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho | Explore the Eco and Architecture Sites
Take the morning bus from Saigon to My Tho town to get stuck straight into the action. Dong Tam snake farm offers a great intro into Mekong Delta wildlife with a lush garden home to hundreds of snakes, though the less inclined might prefer to visit Sau Vien flower garden instead. After this, make sure to check out the architectural marvel of Vinh Trang Pagoda, an outstanding Buddhist temple and gardens constructed in 1850.
Explore the Islands and Ben Tre | Catch the late bus to Can Tho
Rise early and take one of the day tours to the four islands of My Tho. These islands are named after four legendary creatures: phoenix, turtle, dragon and unicorn, with each providing a slice of Mekong Delta serenity amongst rice fields, jungle and blissful waterways. You can cycle around many of the village paths that cross these islands, as well as enjoy the section of the tour at Ben Tre. This will always be a highlight of your three or four days in the Mekong Delta, as the canal systems here are simply stunning, and a sampan boat ride through tunnels of overarching nipa palm and coconut trees will be unforgettable.
After returning to My Tho in the late afternoon, catch a bus down to Can Tho, the capital city of the Mekong Delta. If there’s time and energy left, spend the evening time on a stroll along Ninh Kieu Pier, a 1.5-kilometre boardwalk that offers splendid views of Can Tho’s city lights on one side and its sparkling rivers on the other.
City Tour of Can Tho | See the Birds | Discover Can Tho Night Market
Those looking for how long to spend in the Mekong Delta will fully realise their answer in Can Tho. This is a truly magical city with so much diversity in terms of historical and eco-tours. A city tour of Can Tho will reveal this beautifully, where visitors will discover the eclectic heritage of the Mekong’s capital at the Chinese Ong Temple, Khmer Wat Munirangseay and Vietnamese-French Can Tho Museum. Some tours even take a trip slightly out of the centre of the city to visit Binh Thuy ancient house, one of the most staggeringly beautiful stately homes built during French colonial rule over Vietnam.
As sunset approaches be sure to head out to Bang Lang stork sanctuary to see one of the gorgeous natural phenomena that the Mekong Delta experiences daily. This small forest of bang lang trees is home to thousands of storks, egrets and herons that swoop back to roost at the end of every day, creating an extraordinary sight in front of a vivid red sunset.
Take a cheap taxi back to town in time for Can Tho night market, a splendid collection of food, clothing, electronics and souvenir stalls where visitors can find the best of Can Tho’s products. Try some of Can Tho’s best street eats here and stroll around its various other shops in search of a bargain.
Delve into Floating Market Culture | Make one Last Stop-off | Return to Ho Chi Minh City
Regardless of how many days you spend in the Mekong Delta, there is simply no way you can leave without seeing a floating market. At Can Tho, you can see best how this ancient tradition continues on the river at Cai Rang floating market, the most famous in all of Vietnam. You’ll have to get up quite early for this spectacle, but will instantly consider it worthwhile after finding a river full of activity on humble wooden boats, with some of the best food and biggest smiles in all of the Mekong Delta. (Can Tho Ecolodge runs a wonderful, guided Cai Rang floating market tour which you can check out here
On the way back to Ho Chi Minh City, consider stopping off at one final attraction en route. This could be at Sa Dec town, where the magnificent Old House of Huynh Thuy Le stands in enrapturing architecture that holds an ancient, and true, love story from colonial times. Otherwise, you can stop off in Vinh Long town and take a quick visit of Vinh Long pottery village, an otherworldly enclave of towering red brick kilns that look majestic and create fabulous works of ceramic.
If you have longer in your itinerary, we wholeheartedly recommend spending as many days in the Mekong Delta as possible. While you do so, Can Tho Ecolodge can be your centrally located home, with a beautiful swimming pool, restaurant, spa and bar around 12 beautiful thatched cottages. We offer exquisite eco-accommodation in the Mekong Delta, with excellent transport to get you where you need to go around South Vietnam. Check us out here
and thanks for reading our guide on how long to spend in the Mekong Delta!