Most Unique Things to do in Mekong Delta – Explore Southeast Asia’s rice bowl like a local

Often referred to as “Mien Tay” by the locals, Mekong Delta may seem like an off-the-beaten-track destination for foreign tourists. However, it unfolds as an ideal locale brimming with captivating experiences. 

For those contemplating a visit, the most rewarding activities in Mekong Delta encompass boat trips along the tributaries of Mekong River, engaging in the vibrant floating markets, savoring the delectable freshness of local fruits, and immersing oneself in the warmth and hospitality of the friendly locals. If you’re on the lookout for the best things to do in Mekong Delta, you’ve come to the right place. This article is your guide to exploring Vietnam rice bowl to its fullest, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the exceptional experiences that await you.

Top things to do in Mekong Delta cannot be missed for your upcoming adventure

Kratie Mekong River

Mekong River, originating in the Himalayas of Tibet and traversing through China, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, culminates in the formation of the delta in southern Vietnam. The Mekong Delta, an intricate maze of waterways weaving through the flat landscapes of the region, fosters a vibrant culture deeply rooted in the river’s abundance.

Renowned as one of Vietnam’s most breathtaking locations, this lush tropical paradise captures the essence of natural beauty. Thriving in tourism, Mekong Delta invites exploration through boat taxis along Mekong River, unveiling a world steeped in history. The region boasts floating markets, ancient temples, fruit orchards, museums, and picturesque rice paddies.

Amidst the plethora of attractions, deciding where to venture may pose a challenge. This guide highlights the top things to do in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, ensuring you make the most of your journey through this captivating and culturally rich region.

Relish the beauty of nature on a Mekong Delta cruise trip

Mekong Delta cruise trip to Cambodia

Mekong Delta, characterized by vast wetlands and meandering rivers, underscores the essential role of waterway travel in exploring its wonders. Yet, the allure of a cruise extends beyond mere necessity.

Embarking on a cruise journey transcends convenience; it’s a delightful and enriching experience that seamlessly blends sightseeing with cultural immersion. The intricate river system formed by the Mekong River in Vietnam shapes daily life in the delta, creating a harmonious fusion of nature and humanity along its banks. Cruise voyages not only offer panoramic views from a distance but also grant access to various destinations, allowing travelers to intimately engage with the scenery and partake in on-site activities.

To relish a cruise adventure, you can opt for a dedicated Mekong River cruise or select a comprehensive package tour that incorporates cruising into its itinerary. A cruise experience typically includes overnight stays with water-centric activities and exploration of multiple destinations. On the other hand, a packaged tour integrates cruising as one facet of the day, complemented by diverse activities both on land and water. Whether choosing a cruise or a comprehensive tour, the Mekong Delta unfolds its treasures through a seamless blend of natural beauty and cultural encounters.

Visiting Mekong Delta’s most renowned floating markets

Mekong Delta is renowned for its enchanting floating markets, offering a unique glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of local commerce – This is definitely an experience you cannot miss from your list of things to do in Mekong Delta. Upon arriving in the delta, embark on a motorized boat to partake in the age-old tradition of trading goods on the water. The markets come alive at 3:00 in the early morning, resonating with the hustle and bustle of boats and lively exchanges between vendors. Goods are transported and traded directly on the river, suspended from long sticks for visibility.

To truly immerse yourself in the spirited atmosphere and gain insights into the deep connection between local life and the Mekong River, a visit to these floating markets is a must. Notable markets include:

  • Cai Rang (Can Tho)
  • Cai Be (Tien Giang)
  • Nga Nam (Soc Trang)
  • Nga Bay/Phung Hiep (Hau Giang).

Upon visiting, seize the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits, Bun Rieu, Banh Mi, coffee, soy milk, and coconut water for breakfast. The recommended time to explore is from 4 to 5 am, and prices are reasonable, with a bowl of noodles costing as little as $0.65.

To reach the floating markets, you can opt to share a large boat with other visitors or hire a private boat for your family and friends. Prices range from $15.21 to $39.11 per boat, depending on the number of passengers. Additionally, Mekong Floating market tours, inclusive of two days of activities, accommodation, and transportation from Ho Chi Minh to Can Tho, are available at approximately $168 per person.

When planning your visit to these markets, consider frequent weather checks, clear communication about time and destinations when hiring a boat, combining market exploration with other destinations, confirming prices before purchasing, and participating in guided activities for a richer experience.

Taste the best fresh tropical fruits in Mekong Delta Orchards

Mekong Delta, renowned as the largest granary of fruits, owes its fame to the fertile alluvial soil and favorable climate. Tasting the abundant array of fruits emerges as one of the finest experiences in this region. While floating markets offer a variety of fruits, the ideal way to relish them is right at the orchards themselves. This practice is not only a culinary delight but also aligns with agro-ecological tourism, a sustainable solution for tourism development.

Outstanding fruit orchards for your visit include:

  • Phong Dien (Can Tho)
  • Cai Be (Tien Giang)
  • Tan Quy (Tra Vinh)
  • Tam Binh (Vinh Long)
  • Cho Lach (Ben Tre)

Each orchard is renowned for specific tropical fruits, such as Vinh Kim star apples, Cai Be tangerines, Vinh Long grapefruits, and Cai Mon durians.

Upon arrival at the orchard, the simple yet delightful process begins – walking in, picking fruits, and savoring them fresh. It’s a practice that ensures the fruits’ sweet and fresh taste is preserved. Some orchards provide cozy rest areas for indulging in garden-fresh fruit buffets, where you can sit under the shade and enjoy a delightful array of fruits. Beyond fruits, orchards often offer drinks and food made from fruits, showcasing the specialties of the Mekong region.

With a set price, fruit enthusiasts can relish an all-day experience from 7 am to 8 pm, enjoying as much fruit as they desire. For many, the allure extends beyond the fruits to the tranquil atmosphere. Orchards typically charge a minimal fee for transportation and sometimes entrance, ranging around $3.48 per person. The opportunity to indulge in fruit buffets amidst lush orchards makes this activity one of the most cherished experiences in the Mekong Delta.

Munch on the mouth-watering local cuisine

Indulging in Vietnamese cuisine is a delightful experience, and the Mekong Delta boasts its own culinary delights that should not be missed. Exploring the local foods stands out as one of the most rewarding activities in the region. Unlike high-end dishes, the delta is renowned for its authentic and flavorful local fare. When visiting, make sure to savor specialties such as Hu Tieu, Bun Rieu, Pia Cake, Vietnamese pancake, and for the more adventurous, Coconut Larvae.

What sets the cuisine of the Mekong Delta apart is its resourcefulness in utilizing ingredients readily available in nature. You may encounter unique dishes incorporating flowers like common sesban, sesbania, or flower hotpot, offering a surprising yet delightful culinary experience.

Beyond the delectable flavors, the affordability of these local delicacies, ranging from $0.65 to $4.35 per dish, makes the culinary exploration even more enticing. Picture yourself settling on a floating boat in the market, relishing your dishes amidst the vibrant surroundings.

To embark on this culinary journey, head to any floating market in the area, particularly in the early morning for a delightful breakfast. For other meals throughout the day, explore markets and restaurants in the local villages. If you have specific cravings, consider trying these local delicacies:

  • Banh Beo at Hang Bong market (My Tho)
  • Hu Tieu at Chu 5 Hoa restaurant (My Tho)
  • Baked rolls at Thanh Van restaurant (Can Tho)
  • Crab hotpot at Co Ut restaurant (Dong Thap). 

Each dish promises a unique and memorable gastronomic experience in the heart of the Mekong Delta.

Stay overnight at a local homestay

While homestays are scattered throughout the country, those nestled on the serene islands of the Mekong Delta, surrounded by expansive orchards, exuding warm hospitality, and offering delectable home-cooked meals, hold a special allure. Embark on a journey up the Mekong for a homestay with a delightful local family, providing an authentic glimpse into the daily rhythms of life in the ‘rice basket of Vietnam.’

Daytime activities include cycling with local children along village paths to vibrant markets, sourcing garden-fresh foods, and engaging in friendly negotiations with local vendors. As dusk descends, reclining on a hammock, relishing fresh juice, and witnessing the sunset from the riverbank imparts a profound sense of peace. Nights offer the opportunity to gather with the host family, engaging in conversations while savoring a home-cooked dinner. Homestays foster a two-way cultural exchange, enabling guests to learn about the local culture while sharing their own.

Available across most provinces in the delta, homestay rates range from $4.35 to $43.46 per night, allowing guests to choose accommodations that suit their preferences. However, selecting the right host can be challenging, given the diverse experiences offered. Opting for a Mekong Delta homestay tour, priced at $166 per person for a 2-day package with numerous included activities, ensures a curated and immersive experience, guaranteeing the best of what the region has to offer.

Going on a relaxing cycling tour in the village

things to do in Mekong Delta

During your homestay experience, seize the wonderful opportunity to explore the local villages on a bicycle. This activity is best enjoyed in the early morning when the air is crisp and invigorating. Pedal alongside local children as you traverse the serene countryside, navigating paved rural roads that wind past verdant paddy fields and flourishing vegetable farms. Unlike the mountainous terrain of Ninh Binh, Mekong biking offers a different adventure—one of tranquility and rejuvenation.

While cycling, feel free to pause at any point to purchase local food, tea, or coffee, filling your stomach with morning delights as you prepare for another day of exploration. The unhurried pace of life allows you to recharge your mind and body before diving back into the bustling rhythm of travel.

To participate in this activity, you can rent a bike from your homestay, typically costing around $4.35 per day. Notably, there are discussions about introducing public bikes in Can Tho, providing a potential opportunity for free cycling experiences in the near future.

The Mekong Delta is renowned not only for its breathtaking natural landscapes but also for a myriad of captivating tourist attractions. Some notable highlights include:

  • Tra Su Bird Sanctuary
  • Tan Lap Floating Village
  • Tram Chim National Park
  • Dong Tam Snake Farm
  • The Prince of Bac Lieu’s Mansion
  • Xiem Can Pagoda
  • The Bat Pagoda
  • Ba Chua Xu Temple
  • The Seven Mountains
  • Ca Mau Cape

Each of these attractions possesses its own unique beauty and is steeped in years of captivating stories and history. After navigating the intricate network of big and small rivers, dedicating an hour to explore these sites offers a profound insight into the rich cultural heritage of the region. It becomes not only an educational experience but also one of the most enriching things to do in the Mekong Delta.

For travelers seeking guidance on where to visit and how to seamlessly combine these destinations during their vacation, opting for a comprehensive tour is a convenient and efficient way to explore all the highlights the area has to offer.

Experience a local means of transport – the Sampan boat

things to do in Mekong Delta

Given that rivers dominate the landscape, engaging in off-the-water activities stands out as two of the most enjoyable things to do in the Mekong Delta. A must-try experience is embarking on a Sampan boat trip, offering a simplified and traditional version of a Mekong river cruise. Seated comfortably on the Sampan boat, navigated by local experts, you’ll navigate through mangrove forests, reaching various tourist attractions. What sets a Sampan trip apart from a cruise is the emphasis on the serenity of sightseeing, where destinations and specific activities matter less than the peaceful ambiance on both sides of the journey. Some Sampans even offer lunch service, adding an extra layer to your enchanting experience.

Begin your Sampan adventure in the delta by exploring places like Thoi Son Islet (Ben Tre), Tra Su Cajuput forest (An Giang), and Thi Tuong Lagoon (Ca Mau). The cost typically ranges around $3.36 for a small boat accommodating 3 to 4 people, ensuring an affordable and immersive exploration of the Mekong Delta’s waterways.

Learn the traditional way to make rice net

things to do in Mekong Delta

Embark on a culinary adventure in Vietnam and delve into the intricacies of crafting rice nets for spring rolls alongside local experts. This immersive experience provides food enthusiasts with a hands-on opportunity to uncover the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine. From the initial steps of grinding and soaking the rice to the intricate process of skillfully spreading the batter, participants will gain insight into the artistry behind creating the delicate rice net.

This interactive culinary journey goes beyond the kitchen, offering a cultural exchange that adds a layer of richness to gastronomic exploration. Bring your appetite, curiosity, and enthusiasm as you engage in this collaborative effort with locals, learning the traditional techniques passed down through generations.

For a holistic experience, consider pairing this culinary adventure with a cycling excursion along the picturesque paddies of Tan Phong Island. Immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors and cultural traditions of Vietnam, making memories that intertwine the art of cooking with the beauty of the local landscape.

Final thoughts

Mekong Delta, boasting the country’s most fertile farmland, has been a historical battleground for neighboring nations for millennia. Offering some of the world’s most captivating eco-tours, the region invites exploration of rice paddies, fruit orchards, flower cultivation, and meandering riverbeds. Participating in tours here not only supports the local economy but also promotes responsible environmental stewardship. What sets the Mekong Delta apart is its remarkable natural beauty, featuring lush rainforests, and a rich cultural tapestry with diverse ethnic groups showcasing unique handicrafts. However, the true gem lies in the warm hospitality of the locals, known for their welcoming and incredibly friendly nature. Their eagerness to share cultural traditions enhances the overall travel experience. For those seeking an unforgettable journey, we hope this list of things to do in Mekong Delta can inspire you as the region stands as an exceptional destination, blending natural splendor with cultural richness and the genuine warmth of its people.

Selecting Viland Travel’s tailor-made tours ensures the finest and most authentic travel experience in the Mekong Delta. With a focus on personalized itineraries, Viland Travel caters to your unique preferences, providing a deep dive into the region’s cultural richness and natural beauty. Our expert guides navigate you through hidden gems, allowing you to witness the genuine charm of the Mekong Delta beyond the typical tourist routes. Viland Travel’s commitment to authenticity ensures encounters with locals, exploration of traditional crafts, and indulgence in authentic cuisine, offering the most immersive and unforgettable adventure in the heart of Mekong Delta.