The most popular region in Southeast Asia is the Mekong Delta , a region that encompasses not only Vietnam but also Cambodia. The largest river in Vietnam, the Mekong River , creates during its passage to the China Sea this incredible region south of Vietnam that the Vietnamese call the 9 dragons , in reference to the 9 different points where the Mekong river flows into the sea.
More than 20 million people live in the Mekong Delta , it occupies an area of 40,000 square kilometers distributed in a total of 13 Vietnamese provinces : An Giang , Bac Lieu , Ben Tre , Ca Mau , Can Tho , Dong Thap , Hau Giang , Kien Giang , Long An , Soc Trang , Tien Giang , Tra Vinh and Vinh Long .
Cities and highlights of the Mekong Delta
It would take many days to tour the entire Mekong Delta, but we can highlight the following points:
Can Tho the most important city in the Mekong Delta and city where the longest and most expensive bridge in all of Vietnam is built.
Cai Rang the most famous and busiest commercial floating market in the entire Mekong Delta, south of the city of Can Tho.
Cai Rang floating market
My Tho the closest point to Ho Chi Minh City of the Mekong Delta, with half-day tours and excursions from the ancient city of Saigon. In My Tho we will find water canals and islands that form between jungle means.
Chau Doc in the confines of Vietnam, a must for travelers sailing by boat / speedboat on the Mekong to Cambodia. Border point between Vietnam and Cambodia, with a mixture of cultures, markets and houseboats, the incredible Tay An pagoda but popularly known for being the place where ships depart for Phnom Penh , the Cambodian capital.
Cai Be one of the largest floating markets in all of Vietnam and a small town with a French colonial cathedral .
Ca Mau away from mass tourism, Cau Mau offers a bird reserve and the incredible U Minh natural park .
Cao Lanh place where we can find a cemetery / monument to the memory of Viet Cong soldiers killed during the Vietnam War with more than 3000 graves. We also have a bird sanctuary and several natural parks such as the Tram Chim National Park and the Tam Rung Natural Park . In the surroundings of Cao Lanh we have the former military base of Quyt Xeo .
Ha Tien, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is the port where you can catch the ferry to Phu Quoc Island .
Rach Gia the other gateway to Phu Quoc .
Long Xuyen the second most important city in the Mekong Delta after Can Tho, where the famous Tiger Island ( Ong Ho Island ) is located.
Vinh Long, the capital of the province of the same name, offers visitors to the Vietnam War museums and temples, but the highlight is the tourist island An Binh .
Sa Dec, the so-called Vietnamese Venice, is a colonial city that rises along the canals of the Mekong Delta, which, although far from the authentic city of Venice, Sa Dec has a very colorful and important flower market .
Floating markets of the Mekong Delta
Floating markets are one of the biggest tourist attractions of the Mekong Delta, which although little by little they are giving up their popularity to commercial districts and shopping centers, there are still many active floating markets in the Mekong Delta. The most important tourists are the Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho, and the Cai Be floating market in Tien Giang.
The Cai Rang market has the highest commercial activity in all of Vietnam, but the Phung Hiep floating market is the largest of all, since it is located at the intersection of 7 main channels. We also highlight the floating market of Phong Dien 20 kilometers from the city of Can Tho.
Mekong Delta Map
This is a map of the most important points of the Mekong Delta: Bac Lieu , Ben Tre , Cai Be , Ca Mau , Can Tho , Cao Lanh , Chau Doc , Cu Lao Gieng , Ha Tien , Long Xuyen , My Tho , Rach Gia , Sa Dec , Soc Trang , Tra On , Tra Vinh and Vinh Long .
Curiosities about the Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is known by the name of the Vietnam pantry , reason is not lacking since it is the area with the highest rice production in all of Vietnam. In fact, the best rice in all of Vietnam comes from the Mekong delta, although fruits and vegetables are also grown in the delta.
Excursions through the Mekong Delta
For our adventures in the Mekong Delta we will find countless water canals, rice paddies, small boats and boats, peasants, fishermen and even floating markets.
With regard to excursions and tours through the Mekong Delta we can divide them into 2 classes: 1-day excursions that visit a point of the Mekong Delta or boat / cruise tours sailing the Mekong Delta and stopping at different points (some of these tourist tours through the Mekong Delta continue to Cambodia and the Ankgkor Temples).
1-day excursions through the Mekong Delta
If you only have 1 day to visit the Mekong Delta we recommend you to go from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho by doing the whole boat trip, in order to navigate the Chinese sea and also the canals and islands that make up that part delta.
Coconut candy factory in Mekong delta
As a second alternative to visit the Mekong in just one day (but getting up very early), you can take a bus from Saigon to the floating market of Cai Be, then sail by boat from the Mekong River to My Tho and finally return by bus to Ho Chi Minh City.
Multi-day boat tours of the Mekong Delta
The most popular option and type of tourist visit that we recommend if you have 2/3 days is to navigate by boat through the Mekong Delta visiting the city of Can Tho , which is 4 hours away from Ho Chi Minh City, and the floating market of Cai Rang.
A boat tour visiting the highlights of the Mekong Delta could be Can Tho , Chau Doc , Vinh Long and the Cai Rang floating market.
From Vietnam to Cambodia (Angkor Temples) by the Mekong Delta
Transportation options from Vietnam to Cambodia (usually the Angkor Temples in the city of Siem Reap) are the plane , the bus and the boat / speedboat (there is no train line in Cambodia).
Air tickets from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap are priced very high in high season, so the low-cost transportation alternatives from Vietnam to Cambodia are the bus and the boat or speedboats.
Both the bus and speedboats take the same time to cover the Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh and the Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (Angkor Temples) : between 6 and 8 hours each way. Going directly from the city of Ho Chi Minh to the temples of Angkor (12 hours) can take a long trip, although there are night buses that cover that route ( see Bus from Vietnam to Cambodia ).
Regardless of whether we use the bus or speedboat, we will have to stop in Phnom Penh , the Cambodian capital, being able to spend the night there or continue until the end of the tour, Siem Reap (the Temples of Angkor).
We do not recommend combining bus and boat , as we will have to move from the bus station to the jetty or vice versa.