Called the "bowl of rice" of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is a region of huge endless rice fields, fruit gardens and rivers lined with fish. There are countless places to explore and discover when planning a trip to this tropical paradise.
The Mekong Delta is famous for its paradise setting, aquatic life, greenery, floating markets with tropical fruits, mouth-watering cuisine made from freshly caught and harvested ingredients.
It's a harmonious world of scenic natural sites and friendly locals, which is why the Mekong Delta should always be at the top of the list if you travel to Vietnam for the first time.
But first and foremost, good preparation is the key to a successful and unforgettable travel experience. This article will share some practical tips and places to visit in the Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is behind Ho Chi Minh City's courtyard (or Saigon) , literally, it's right next to the city to the southwest. The Mekong Delta is so vast that it occupies two-thirds of the entire region of southern Vietnam . You will not be able to explore the delta in one day.
The area includes a municipality (first class city) - Can Tho - and 12 provinces Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, An Giang, Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Long Vinh, Tra Vinh, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau . Each of these cities has its own landscapes, cultures, specialties, unique experiences
Climate of the Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta enjoys a pleasant tropical climate with two seasons: dry season and rainy season. There is just a marginal difference in the temperature between the two seasons and almost no storms or typhoons during the year.
The rainy season runs from May to November, causing occasional floods in Dong Thap Muoi, An Giang, Kien Giang and Can Tho.
The dry season runs from December to April or May and it hardly rains at all. Therefore, it is possible to visit without any problem the most famous provinces of the delta - Tien Giang and Ben Tre - and it is better to explore the whole region during the dry season from November to May.
Best months to visit the Mekong Delta
At the beginning of the rainy season, from April to early June, the weather is milder with light rains to reduce the heat. You will surely have a good time exploring the rivers and arroyos by boat and strolling through the fruit gardens. In addition, traveling during this period, you will have the chance to participate in interesting festivals such as the Cholchonam Thomay (Khmer New Year) and the opening Festival of the harvest season.
From June to September, at the height of the rainy season, it will be really hot and humid. But this is the period or you will get the largest variety of tropical fruits that the delta has to offer.
October and November are the flood months of the Mekong Delta. Everything is almost in the water, especially in the less popular destinations of Dong Thap, An Giang and Kien Giang. It is therefore best to stay informed of weather forecasts before moving to these areas.
After the rain, the dry months from December to May are those when the Mekong Delta reveals its magnificent beauty: clear blue sky, green lands, fresh air and calm waters.
To summarize, a trip to the Mekong Delta is possible all year long with fruit in four seasons and a pleasant climate. The delta is more vibrant with the flower season in the spring of January to March and tastier during the fruit season during the summer months from May. It is also the best time to visit Saigon and Vietnam in general.
Main Attractions in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam
The "Nine Dragons River Delta", aka the Mekong Delta, is the antithesis of the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City: its relaxed nature, coupled with its lush green landscape offers a different look at Vietnam.
The southwest tip of Vietnam is made up of the Mekong Delta , which is fed by the mighty Mekong flowing through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and finally Vietnam.
The fertile plains area covers some 39,000 square kilometers and is often referred to as Vietnam's "rice basket" with the abundance of rice fields dominating the landscape. In addition to vast rice fields, there are also orchards, fish farms and sugar cane plantations that have all benefited from the fertile land.
In fact, more than two-thirds of the country's fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in the Mekong Delta! The rich landscape is also rich in biological wonders: the unique conditions of support for many species of animals, birds and reptiles.
Just a few hours away from the pace of life in Saigon, the Mekong Delta is easily accessible by car or bus! It is visited by boats to see villages and local dwellings border the Mekong. Many Vietnamese also live on floating homes, following the Mekong's current.
The city of Can Tho is the fourth largest in the country and is next to the Mekong River. It is an ideal base for exploring the area. The city is known for its river tourism, with its large colorful floating markets, although you need to get up early to enjoy the atmosphere.
All of local fruit, fresh fish are all sold in the blink of an eye. The main market is Cai Rang , which is at its most authentic around 6am. One can travel along the picturesque canals aboard one of the many traditional wooden boats of the French Indochina era.
Join an organized tour or rent a boat on time to enter more rural areas. If you want to see the other floating markets of the delta, read more The largest floating markets in the Mekong Delta.
The most notable pagoda is Quang Duc, located on the main Mau Than Street, which is the most active in Can Tho. Visit Khmer Pagoda Munirangsyaram and Tri Buu Pagoda for a change of pace. There is also a pretty church that was built by the French: Tham Tuong is a little further along Mau Than
The town of My Tho is closer to Ho Chi Minh City and is a popular place for a day trip. This makes the city very busy all year round, with tourist boats lining the streams.
The city has its own floating markets, while they have become more touristy in recent years. There are some interesting cultural sites within My Tho, like the 19th century Vinh Trang Buddhist monument.
A little further in the Mekong Delta is the city of Vinh Long, which was created in the 18th century. The highlights here are the French and Chinese cultural heritages.
Well-maintained French colonial buildings are scattered throughout the city, now used as government buildings. And also Chinese temples, as well as traditional Chinese dishes are also specialties in the city of Vinh Long. Do not miss the Chinese temple Chua Thien Hau, located on an island.
A little further, on the well-worn tourist trail is the town of Cai Be, whose highest point is undoubtedly the French Gothic cathedral which stands in the center.
As with all cities, towns and villages located in the Mekong Delta, Cai Be has its own floating market, which remains authentic. Once again, you will have to get up early to see the colorful show. Do not miss the traditional Vietnamese architecture that is unique to this region, especially the old Hoa Hiep house
If you are traveling from Vietnam to Cambodia your last stop should be at Chau Doc. The city itself is quite diverse, with populations of Vietnamese, Champa and Khmer. Spend a few hours on a boat trip along the Hau River and enjoy the atmosphere along the Vinh Te Canal.
Tourism tends to be rather discreet here, but there are some heritage sites, such as the official historical monument of Phuoc Dien Temple. For more information, read our section on Chau Doc, An Giang
Near the town of Chau Doc, Sam Mountain is a Buddhist pilgrimage site that offers breathtaking views of the rich mosaic of rice paddies underneath. You can also take a look at Cambodia
Tips for visiting the Mekong Delta
Overall, you should pack lightly, wear breathable and comfortable clothes to absorb the heat and humidity of the Mekong Delta. Sun protection is also necessary to fight against extreme sunlight during the day.
A raincoat is always useful for sudden rains and splashing when crossing rivers, with disposable options for less than 20,000 VND (around $ 1 USD) available everywhere.
You must bring extra water just to stay hydrated on long trips. The heat is more tolerable than the central region during the summer and the Mekong Delta will surely not let you starve, but a small bottle of water on your side is a great idea.
Avoid drinking, swimming or exposing an open wound to the river water. In this way, you can prevent parasites, from fat (fat leeches) to small (tiny tiny verses), from entering your body. Drink only bottled water or boiled tap water.
Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are rare in the Mekong Delta, but dengue fever is sometimes affected by outbreaks. It is advisable to avoid mosquitoes at all costs. Here are some tips to keep mosquitoes away:
You must bring good insect repellents containing 20% to 30% of DEET to go anywhere in the country and apply the spray before going to the rivers, jungles and swamps. Read the instructions carefully, as you may need to spray again after a while.
Wear neutral-colored clothing (eg beige, light gray) as bright, warm colors attract mosquitoes. Breathable long sleeves are also recommended.
Stay away from suspected local water sources (wells and pans), always keep your water in a closed container.
Make sure the doors and windows are completely closed during your overnight stay and check that the mosquito nets in the accommodation are intact.
The dry season is the peak season, as it is the moment that the Mekong Delta reveals its beauty. Everything booked and confirmed in advance is essential for a perfect trip.
The occupancy of the accommodation varies during the rainy season, so it is best to book your stay in advance. October and November are the lowest months and everything is cheap.
Always check the weather and tide forecasts, to plan and change your day (and your stay) accordingly. In addition to that, you should have a plan B because the weather and the tides are not the same all the time.
Organize your trip in the Mekong Delta
The easiest and cheapest way to explore the Mekong Delta is to take an organized tour, whether it's a private adventure (for example, with VietnamTour team) or a group excursion.