Three days on the Mekong Delta give you ample time to soak up the region’s relaxed pace of life. In addition to exploring canals by boat and islands by bike, you’ll have time to immerse yourself in the bustle of a floating market and experience local life during a homestay. Read on for the best way to experience the Rice Bowl of Southeast Asia.
Day 1: Essential Mekong Delta
Spend your first day gaining insight into local life on the Mekong River Delta. Start by visiting a floating market, where vendors sell fresh produce from wooden rowboats; tours typically visit either Cai Be or Cai Rang floating market. In addition to saving you the stress of arranging transfers by land and water, many sightseeing packages include a cruise along the Mekong’s palm-fringed canals, a visit to a fruit orchard, and a traditional Vietnamese lunch. Most multi-day tour packages include a local homestay, which offers the opportunity to get to know Mekong residents and enjoy a home-style Vietnamese dinner.
Day 2: Life on the Water
Devote day two to exploring out-of-the-way delta destinations. A private tour allows you to customize the day’s itinerary and removes the complication of arranging transportation in Vietnamese. Off-the-beaten-path places to consider visiting include Chau Doc, a Muslim floating village that’s home to a mosque and craft stores that specialize in weaving; Tra Su Mangrove Forest, which is best explored by boat during the rainy season in September and October, when a layer of green carpets the water; and Tan Lap Village, an ecotourism site surrounded by forests and waterways. Continue to stray from the tourist trail in the afternoon with a bike tour that allows you to explore rice paddies and rural villages at a relaxed pace. Tours typically stop at the village of Hoa Loc, home to traditional wooden houses.
Day 3: A Bounteous Crop
Your final day is for feasting on the local produce of the Mekong River Delta. Start with a cooking class, which will introduce you to ingredients and equipment that you may not have at home, before setting out to explore the My Tho region, where you’ll find farms and workshops that produce coconut candy, honey, and exotic fruits such as jackfruit, dragon fruit, and papaya. After lunch at a riverfront café, wander the lush temple gardens of Vinh Trang Pagoda, where three larger-than-life Buddhas smile down on visitors. Spend your last evening in Can Tho, the Mekong Delta’s largest city, where you can ease yourself back into modern life at a floating restaurant or waterfront bar.