Explore The Famous Mekong Area | Short Getaway
They say you haven’t seen Vietnam if you haven’t visited the Mekong. This bustling river area, full of orchards, local villages and markets is Vietnam at its best. And since it’s not too far from Saigon, you’re there in a few hours.
Exploring the Mekong area is a must do when visiting Vietnam. After the great tours that Saigon have to offer, this should be your next stop, together with seeing stunning natural beauty in Halong Bay and the beautiful beachfront village of Hoi An. For people who live in Vietnam, the Mekong area can be a welcome getaway from hectic Ho Chi Minh.
How to get to the Mekong
The Mekong area is only a 2 hour drive away. Although there are many travel agents that will take you, you can easily arrange it yourself.
We went by car to Ben Tre, a 2.5-hour drive from Saigon, but you can also take a bus to My Tho from Saigon’s Cho Lon bus station and travel from there. The ferry will take you to Ben Tre.
My Tho is just two hours from Saigon. The Mekong capital Can Tho is the economic and transportation hub of the Delta and is about a 4.5-hour drive away. Both areas have some nice hotels who can arrange transport for you as well.
In case you want to do a bike tour, you can book it via one of the hotels in the Mekong area, or book it in advance with an organization that has good bikes.
Explore the Mekong life
The best way to experience the Mekong life is by boat. In My Tho as well as Ben Tre, you can hop on a sampan to drift through the canals and see what the Mekong area is all about. It is great to combine it with a bike tour, so you can visit some villages and bike through the rice paddies.
In Can Tho you can visit the famous floating markets. Although a bit touristic, the two best ones are Cai Rang and Phong Dien. A tour to the floating markets is probably easily arranged via your hotel (but just as easily directly on the riverfront). Note that you have to leave early. Not only to beat the crowds but also to see the market at its best.
If you are going for a motorbike tour, don’t forget to bring your international drivers license.
Mekong: where to stay
We stayed with the kids at the Island Lodge, a lovely boutique resort in My Tho. Only a 2 hours from Ho Chi Minh City, but still located well within the Mekong so you can do some lovely tours. We did a very nice bike tour which takes you through the canals of the delta and shows you the market and the rural life by bike.
Other options are the Mango Home Riverside, a basic, inexpensive resort with cabins and a small but efficient pool. The Canadian/ Vietnamese owners can organize a sunset cruise on one of their sampans or a boat & bike tour.
When to go to the Mekong
The best time for visiting is between September and April. Between September and November, you can visit the floating markets in the Mekong Delta. The months after December are relatively dry and up until March, it is not too hot. A big bonus of these months is that it is the fruit season. The raining season starts in May and lasts until August.