Top things to do in the Mekong Delta (Vietnam)

The Mekong Delta (aka Southwestern Vietnam) is the place where the Mekong River empties into the ocean due to a network of tributaries. Being home to the Mekong River and a network of tributaries, the Delta is emerging as the lands of rice paddies and dense mangroves and palms fringing the river. Therefore, many newbies in traveling to Vietnam will labor under one thing that they just experience a leisure cruise on the river without anything else when arriving in the Mekong Delta. The truth is that lots of attractive things they can do during the journey to explore this water region are waiting for them, e.g. tasting fresh fruit, uncovering stimulating things in the culture of floating markets, touching the quintessence of traditional cuisine, experiencing pastoral activities, and taking a glimpse at a homestay. 

Mekong Delta Vietnam

Tasting fresh fruit

Why do many experienced travelers always assert that tasting fresh fruit is utterly indispensable to each trip to the Mekong Delta, Vietnam? It is simply because this Delta region is a fertile land to grow various delicious tropical fruits, so it also becomes one of the biggest fruit providers for the other regions through the country. One special and exciting thing is that the fruit will be served in the lush green gardens where the locals are enthusiastically eager to bring you the most wonderful performances of southwestern traditional folk music. Try imagining how fantastic it will be to chill out with the serene rhythm while sipping green tea and enjoying slightly sweet and fragrant pieces of mango, rambutan, dragon fruit, banana, orange, pineapple, jackfruit, guava, papaya, etc. 

Uncovering stimulating things in the culture of floating markets

The Mekong Delta is a unique region of Vietnam where water occupies the majority; that is the reason why boats and sampans are the main means of transport of the locals, which also contributes to the foundation of the floating market culture. Arriving in the Delta area, instead of seeing goods being traded on the ground as usual, you will realize that everyone uses their small or big boats to exchange plenty of fruits, vegetables and other products on the river. Because moving through the high gathering areas by boats is quite difficult, compared to doing that on the ground, the locals figure out a smart way to help everyone spot the boat selling the products they want to buy; it is to erect a high bamboo stick with sold products at the top on each of the boats, which is supposed to be an interesting thing in the floating market culture. If you love fruit, don’t forget to buy some from the other boats since their prices are reasonable. For a new experience, let’s order a bowl of noodle soup or some delicacy from the vendor on the river while you are leisurely cruising. The prominent floating markets you can explore are Nga Bay - Hau Giang Province, Nga Nam-Soc Trang Province, Cai Rang - Can Tho City, Cai Be - Tien Giang Province, Long Xuyen – An Giang Province, and Tra On – Vinh Long Province.

Touching the quintessence of traditional cuisine

Traveling to some region without getting a taste of its traditional cuisine is also like you have not set foot here yet. Then, it is highly recommended that you should let yourself discover each specialty as well as each traditional culinary delight during the journey to the Mekong Delta. The unique characteristic in the southwestern cuisine is that most dishes’ flavor is slightly sweet and easy to satisfy your appetite. Although the Delta is a rustic place and the locals’ life is quite serene, their cuisine is indeed elaborate from the way they prepare ingredients to spices added to each of the dishes. Savor to uncover the quintessence of their traditional cuisine. Some suggestions for you comprise coconut mouse, noodle made from sliced flour, Bot Loc cake, Sa Dec noodle soup, Hoi cake with baked rolls, gray eel-catfish, bee worm salad, Cai Rang grilled fermented meat, steamed coconut rice in Ben Tre, and hotpot with fish sauce. 

Experiencing pastoral activities

It is stated that the best way to understand a region and its people is to live their life. Surely, you are wondering how to live the life of the Mekong people while you do not have much time for a journey to this Delta region, aren’t you? Yes, here is the useful advice for you; you can join pastoral activities with the locals, such as draining ditches for fish, burning the caught fish with rice straw, gardening, and crossing “Monkey Bridge” – a special type of bridge often found in the regions with a large channel and ditch system. The most outstanding activities are draining ditches for fish and making use of your booty after your hard farming work. Fresh fish has just been caught from the ditches, and you just use the available straw to make it become a dish with the irresistible aroma and flavor. Despite the fact that it is merely a game, you will understand the daily work of the inhabitants here. 

Taking a glimpse at a homestay 

By experiencing at a homestay, you will gain a chance to penetrate in the daily life of the Mekong Delta’s people. The experience is not merely about staying overnight at the host’s house, but also related to exciting activities you and the host’s family do together. For example, right after entering the house, you will be guided to explore the scenery around, ranging from their gardens to plantations. Maybe, what is supposed to be the greatest part is preparing the dinner with them; they will show you a few local ingredients for cooking whereby you learn about part of the traditional cuisine here. Through this preparation, cultural traditions in the southwestern Vietnam cooking art will be exposed in front of your eyes and probably astonish you so much. Even you also obtain something awesome in the culture of the Vietnamese family meal while enjoying it and talking with the host. There will be a short taste along the calm river taken by the host, getting you excited if you ask them. 


Where should you go in Mekong Delta for only 1 day?

Spending 1 day on the weekend in Mekong Delta as a new way to discover the beauty of nature, cultural and human , could be very interesting . Below, there are some of my recommendation that could help you:

• Route My Tho- Ben Tre: 
It’s one of the most famous and attractive route in Mekong delta. Ater 2 hours driving from Ho Chi Minh city, you will arrive to My Tho beautiful city. One of the must destination is Vinh Trang temple, combined by Eastern and Western architect. Vinh Trang temple would help you to improve your knowledge of Vietnamese culture.
As you come to My Tho- Ben Tre, you can’t miss these 4 destinations, called Long, Lân, Quy, Phụng . At this destination, you will have many activities to discover. You will have chance to visit the coconut village, the fruit orchard, listen to southern Vietnamese traditional folk music.

• Route Cai Be- Vinh Long:
If you want to experience the floating market, you should go slightly by 1A highways. Taking a seat on boat, you can feel the sound of Mekong Delta, the sound of people talking, the sound of boat engine… It could be great for anyone. Don’t forget to try the food. Banh Xeo, Bun Mam, sticky rice are the most popular dishes here.

• Route Dong Thap
Dong Thap has a great diversity of nature. At Dong Thap, I would like to recommend you these two destinations: Sa Dec and Cao Lanh.
In Sa Dec, you shouldn’t miss the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le, a very popular tourist place. It’s combined by Viet-French-Chinese architect. With a great unique beauty, I would recommend it to anyone. Otherwise, the flower village of Tan Quy Dong  is also a good one to go, a kingdom of flower in southern Vietnam. You can either take picture or buy gift for your beloved one.
In Cao Lanh, you will have chance to immerse yourself into the nature. You should ask the locals for the bird field, come there and you will see your sky covered by the birds surrounding. Seriously, I don’t think you should ignore it.

Depend on yourself; this list could give you a clear understanding of Mekong Delta. Hope you travel well.


Suggestions for a Thrilling Day Trip Ho Chi Minh City

If you were to visit Vietnam for an unlimited time, you would definitely have all the time in the world for exploring all the facets that make this place unique. However, this is never the case and most people book Vietnam Day Trips for only a limited period of time. It is thus important that you know how you can take full advantage of the limited time you have to get the most out of this destination. 

A Day trip Ho Chi Minh City is certainly the best place to start off your vacation in this country. Even though there is no doubt that Ho Chi Minh City really has quite a lot to explore when it comes to cultural experiences and attractions, you surely can’t be able to experience everything, and you will thus need to prioritize and know what to go for.  

Eat soup for your breakfast 
Noodle soup dishes are very popular among the Vietnamese people. While everyone is well familiar with pho, the truth of the matter is that countless more soups of this kind exist and are worthy tasting during Vietnam Day Trips. By having the soup for your breakfast, you will certainly be able to start off your day the Vietnamese style. 

Tour the Ben Thanh Market
One of the top places in Ho Chi Minh City that you should consider visiting is the iconic Ben Thanh market which is the city’s central market. This is truly a great wonder that you should surely not miss and you will be able to buy nearly everything you might imagine ranging from groceries to meat, kitchen supplies and souvenirs among others. This market will surely make your Day trip Ho Chi Minh City complete in every sense. Considering the vast size of the market, it is essential that you schedule a considerably enough time to navigate everything the market has to offer. 

Appreciate the architecture 
Both colonial and modern buildings found in Ho Chi Minh City feature an amazing architecture that w ill leave you completely dazzled and marvel led. The city’s architecture comprise of a unique combination of old tube houses, French colonial buildings and modern skyscrapers. The city center features some old colonial buildings that not only have an amazing character but are also rich in history as well. Fortunately for you, most of these buildings are located just close to one another and you will be able to walk to most of them within a considerably short time period. Even downtown Ho Chi Minh City will amaze you due to the incredibly beautiful old buildings. 

Get a hair wash and massage 
Life in Ho Chi Minh City can be quite chaotic but the locals have designed a unique way in which you can get a serene escape from the chaos by offering cheap foot massages. This assures you of complete relaxation. A better alternative to the massive would be getting a hair wash which generally includes face wash, mask, a shoulder massage and even a head massage. 

Motorbike tours 
Vietnam Day Trips can never be complete without motorbike tours and no matter how limited your time is it is always a good idea that you spare sometime for these tours. The moment you reach Ho Chi Minh City, one thing that you will realize that the most popular vehicle of choice here is the motorbikes. And there is no any better way of seeing this great city than by riding on a motorbike. Hiring a bike at one of the many shops in the city is quite cheap and won’t really cost you a fortune. 

Get a good view 
Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t have many tall buildings as such and it is thus a good idea that you go atop one of the top buildings here and enjoy some good views over the entire city. Fortunately, most bars are on the high floors and you can thus get to enjoy the excellent views as you sip on your drink. After spending a long day full of many activities, this can mark the end of Day trip Ho Chi Minh City and you will certainly have a lot to narrate to your friends and family. 


Top travel agencies in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)

Ho Chi Minh City is the most popular destination to visit in Vietnam. There are so many travel agencies in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and in this article, we selected 5 best travel agencies in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), hoping to give you as a reference for your traveling in Vietnam.

TNK Travel
Add: 220 De Tham, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (84-8) 39204766
TNK Travel has been online since 2003 and is a leading travel website portal providing reliable travel solutions for vacation planners who prefer to deal directly with a locally based tour operator. They specialize in private family tours and tailor-made tours for individuals, families or groups to the Indochina peninsula which includes Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Reviews (Tripadvisor Users):
Guide was good, AK he liked to call himself, informative and able to take questions throughout the day. He provided background history on the way there and back which was good, he also had a little disdain for the perceived excess to which westerners live which gave him a bit of edge, which I enjoyed. No stops on the way or back which is unusual but welcome, only so many factory's exploiting people with physical problems you can take. Bus was fine with A/C and it was reasonably cheap. I didn't see anything extra an expensive tour could have provided being honest
See more TNK Travel at Tripadvisor

The Sinhtourist (Sinh cafe)
Add: 246 - 248 De Tham St., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84.8.3838.9597
Sinh Cafe was the first in Saigon who has provided travelers with travel information and transport to ease their travel.
Sinh Cafe had witnessed a variety of market segments of the tourist industry with different types of travelers ever increasing in a potential market in blossom.  Sinh Cafe has diversified its products to please the travelers in the spirit of keeping up its traditional core business: To introduce its Vietnam country and Vietnamese people to friends all over the world.  This is the initial mission of the inborn concept of founding Sinh Cafe.
Sinh Cafe has made every effort to develop a stable system of human resources to improve know how and professionalism of its staff.  Sinh Cafe has strengthened ceaselessly the quality its services i.e. package tours, tailored tours, open bus at a reasonable price.  Additionally, Sinh Cafe has developed its strength in building and designing open tours with multiple choices which can meet diversiform requirements of local and international travelers.
Today Sinh Cafe is an internationally-renowned, award-winning travel agent.  Our first cafeteria serving as a travel office in Ho Chi Minh City has grown with the establishment of local offices in Da Lat, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, Hue, Hanoi and international offices in Phnom Penh, Siem Riep.
Though it has grown significantly over years, its philosophy for business has not changed:  To introduce Vietnam to worldwide friends with passion to please them is its principal mission as initially set.
To mark the growth of a coffee house organizing travel to become a professional travel agent, it decided to change its trademark and logo from Sinh Cafe to TheSinhTourist.
Travel stories with cups of coffee had inspired the foundation of Sinh Cafe in 1993, and has given birth to TheSinhTourist in 2009.  TheSinhTourist will keep on developing sustainably “The travel stories with cups of coffee” from now on to satisfy all travel needs of the world people

Kim Travel
Add: 189 De Tham St., Dist.1, HCMC, Vietnam
Phone: (848) 39205552
About: KIM TRAVEL , one of companies in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam having lengthy experience and a credible reputation specializing in organizing inbound and outbound tours and providing services such as: Hotel reservation, Air and Train ticket booking, Transportation, Tour guide, and Travel consultancy. A best website to find out Vietnam Highlight, Highlights in Vietnam, Vietnam Tours, Vietnam Hotels, Vietnam Transports ...


Vietnam Travel Tips from Telegraph's readers

Some Vietnam Travel Tips from Telegraph's readers you should read before your trip:

Head for the hills
Escape from the traffic chaos and heat of Hanoi by taking the overnight train to Sapa, up in the mountains towards the border with China. This was the alpine region fought over by the two countries in a brief but bloody war in 1979 which everyone apart from the Vietnamese seems to have forgotten.
The ride is bouncy and the train noisy and slow. Take earplugs and lavatory paper, and book a four-person compartment just for yourself (it's not expensive). Do not let the train attendant remove the (thin) mattresses from the two unused bunks – you are going to need these.
It's worth the trip. Sapa is great for trekking and has a fascinating market. January/February is a good time to visit but avoid the period around Tet, the Vietnamese lunar new year holiday, when the whole of Vietnam seems to be on the move. For Europeans travelling in our winter, it's best to start a Vietnam tour in the cooler north since it will get hotter, and the food better, as you move south.
Unless you're desperate to shoot an old M16 or see holes in the ground, I'd give a miss to the Cu Chi tunnel trip and instead take a Bassac (tributary of the Mekong) cruise and end up with a few days of snorkelling and swimming on tropical Phu Quoc island off the Cambodian coast.
Peter J Griffiths, from Cornwall

Two-man job
I still think of my Vietnam holiday as the most exciting one I have ever had. It was an organised trip beginning in Hanoi, and we travelled the length of the country through the seasons in two weeks: they were planting rice in the north and harvesting in the south.
Hanoi was austere and drab, but the people were fun, taking us around the city on their bikes. It's the first time I have seen two men using one shovel. Travelling through the countryside you see the amazing ways they carry animals on their bicycles. The markets are fabulous places with all the produce you can think of.
Ho Chi Min City was a bustling colourful modern place, full of scooters and mopeds. But beware pickpockets – they were rife.
Neville Meeker, by email

Cool welcome
Don't miss the ancient port of Hoi An with its wooden houses, market and Japanese covered bridge. We stayed in the Pacific View Hotel, and on arrival were greeted with cool towels and welcoming drinks before being taken to a large airy room with a balcony view across the treetops – and a neighbour far below with a pig in the back garden.
Lunch at Wonton restaurant cost about £4 and in the evening we visited a silk workshop which measured us for bespoke outfits that were ready within 24 hours. Afterwards we ate at an amazing riverside café and had a five-course meal for about £7 sitting outside around a huge table next to the Thu Bon River.
Rosemary Wyeth, Wiltshire

Perfect view
My tip for a visitor to Saigon is to head for the Rex Hotel in the evening and go to the famous bar on the roof. Try for a seat near the edge and a stunning view of this vibrant neon-lit city, while enjoying an excellent Singapore Sling at a fraction of the price of one in Singapore.
Sally Higgins, West Sussex

Green peace
We'd booked a fortnight's tour of Vietnam and Cambodia, including a week's cruise along the Mekong. Our flight to Ho Chi Minh City arrived early on Sunday, giving us a free day before the formal tour programme began. As keen gardeners, we decided to explore the Botanic Garden. Walking there gave us a lesson in a necessary local skill; how to cross roads teeming with unbroken streams of motor scooters. (Stride out and look confident.)
Arriving unscathed, we found a garden full of exotic tropical plants and trees, including a zoo that boasts rhinos, colourful birds and much else. We sat for a while in front of the bandstand, watching a charming show featuring music and performing dogs. Spending an afternoon among families enjoying peaceful outings added a soft perspective to the sightseeing programme, which inevitably included allusions to the country's turbulent past.
Olga Leapman, London

Exploring the back streets of the cities and checking out silk shops, street food, family parties, old buildings and general chaos is one of the best experiences in Vietnam. Inevitably one gets lost. Top tip: shops and businesses display their name and street address with other information over their doors. Look up! Instant orientation. A little tourist map and it's all sorted.
Clodagh Veale, by email

Local knowledge
One of the highlights was our stay in Nha Trang at the new Novatel. Lanterns restaurant is within walking distance and it's not to be missed. The food was delicious, and on Mondays they give free food to local people in need.
We booked a tour to Ninh Hoa, about an hour away, and our guide took us to her village home. We made incense sticks, watched rice wine being made (and tasted it), went to a market, had lunch with a local family, took a ride on a bull and cart and watched the fishing boats going out and coming in with their catch.
Alex Gould, West Midlands

Fish tank
Leave behind busy Ho Chi Min City and board a cruise boat at My Tho on the Mekong to explore Vietnam in a relaxed and leisurely manner. The dry season is best as there are no mosquitoes. The Pandow Line boat RV Mekong Pandow was clean, the food and accommodation were excellent and the staff very attentive.
The scenery is ever-changing, from mangrove swamps to forested areas with villages on stilts and temples to explore along the way. Smaller local boats take you to villages, floating markets with the wares advertised on the end of bamboo poles, to small family businesses making rice paper and hand-rolled sweets, and to the liquor brewer who matures his wine with snakes in the bottle.
Visit the attractive floating bungalows tethered together to form villages and accept the invitation to look inside. The typical living space, with table and chairs, sofa, pictures on the walls and carpet on the floor, is suddenly transformed when the carpet is rolled aside, a wooden trap door is lifted and thousands of fish can be seen thrashing in a cage below. The bungalows are all fish farms. Just one of the many delights and surprises of Vietnam.
Davena Lawrence, Hampshire

Wartime memory
Any trip to Vietnam must include a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels built by the Viet Cong. Contrast these with the splendour of the neoclassical, French colonial architecture less than 25 miles away in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Watch the hustle and bustle of Hanoi city life from a rooftop restaurant, experience the tranquillity of Ho Chi Minh's stilt house in the middle of the city and enjoy the sheer beauty of Halong bay: all examples of the diversity of Vietnam.
Despite the historic conflicts, the resolve of the people to try to please everyone can be summed up in their Cao Dai religion, which combines Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam and various local beliefs, so a visit to the splendid Great Temple at Tay Ninh should be on any traveller's itinerary.
Richard Williams, by email

Taxi scam
A visit to Vietnam would not be complete without a trip to the Cu Chi tunnels. Pay only for the bullets and fire any gun of the period, including the AK47. Marvel at the ingenuity of the Viet Cong over a vastly superior enemy.
Return to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) by riverboat. Visit one of the factories run for the benefit of people born with birth defects associated with the use of the defoliant Agent Orange.
Be aware of a scam in Saigon where a taxi will quote a fare and then demand more money halfway through the journey. My travelling companion and I fell into this trap on the way to the railway station. Use only a reputable taxi firm such as Vinasun.
Francis Horton, by email

On your bike
Hoi An is a wonderful place to spend a few days relaxing and exploring. If you can steer yourself away from the tempting tailors, there are some beautiful areas to explore just outside Hoi An. For about $1 a day you can hire a bike (with lock) and cycle down to the beach through the paddy fields, passing grazing water buffalo.
Book a cookery class, and you'll get a guided tasting tour round the local market with the vibrant stalls of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, and a masterclass on how to choose a good fish. You can learn about the health benefits of Vietnamese cooking, and how to make banh xeo (crispy Hoi An pancakes) and turn out the perfect rice-paper summer roll. Better still, you get to eat the product of your labours.
Gill Whitelegg, London

Motorcycle memories
Travelling through Vietnam by motorcycle may not be to everybody's taste, but for me it was the best ride of my life. I met a fellow solo traveller from Norway on my first night in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), having travelled there from Cambodia. The following night I bought Max, a Honda Win 100 which was to be my ride for the next three weeks.
Our first of many challenges was to ride safely out of HCMC. However, once on our way to Mui Ne, the feeling of freedom and pure exhilaration largely outweighed those of trepidation and uncertainty.
We saw white and red sand dunes in Mui Ne, the My Son ruins, the most incredible, surreal caves at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, islands rising from the waters at Halong Bay and enough coffee shops along the way to keep caffeine levels at a dangerous high. But the best moments were riding along the Ho Chi Minh trail through the mountains. Every winding road took your breath away as you were faced with incredible landscapes.
The children who ran out of their houses in villages we rode through, just to wave and say hello, were humbling. The same was true of the hospitality of the locals who invited us for coffee or pho bo (beef noodle soup).
Vietnam is one of the most surprising and beautiful countries I have ever visited, heightened by travelling on motorcycle.
Joella Sandstra-Bennett, Essex

Vietnam visa exemption countries

Nationals of certain countries may visit Vietnam without visa for a period of time, here under is the list of countries and regions that have visa exemption arrangements with Vietnam.

CountryLength of Residence
SingaporeLess than 30 days
MalaysiaLess than 30 days
ThailandLess than 30 days
PhilipineLess than 30 days
LaosLess than 30 days
IndonesiaLess than 30 days
Japan15 days
South Korea15 days
Sweden15 days
Denmark15 days
Finland15 days
Norway15 days
Russia15 days


Citizens of Chile with valid Diplomatic passport no need visa for Vietnam less than 60 days.
APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) holder may visit Vietnam less than 60 days.

Huffingtonpost: Vietnam is a dream trip you can actually afford

Vietnam is a dream trip you can actually afford: According to Huffingtonpost Vietnam is Home to beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, and a wealth of historical sites, Vietnam definitely deserves a spot on your dream trips list. 
World Spree offers a 12-day tour that includes airfare from San Francisco (or L.A., Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, D.C., and New York City for an additional charge), making this amazing county more accessible than ever. 

The trip also gives you time to explore Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi, and takes you on a cruise around scenic Halong Bay at the end. All transfers, ground transportation, and intra-Vietnam flights are also part of the package price, as are most meals, a comprehensive sightseeing itinerary, and the services of English-speaking guides throughout. Several optional tours are also available for a little extra, including a half-day trip to see the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels ($40) and a half day historic tour of Hanoi's "Old Quarters," the "Hanoi Hilton," and a traditional water puppet show ($50), but you'll have a number of guided tours along the way that are included as well.

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