Viet Nam Guide (2) – The Mekong Delta and Saigon

This is the beginning of the story of how Vietnam became my favorite country out of the 29 countries I had visited. It also is a guide for tips and trick, things to do, places to see and food to eat in 2 weeks of time.

In my last post about Viet Nam (Viet Nam Guide (1)) I explained the Visa procedures and getting to Viet Nam by mini van.

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  1. Can Tho – The Mekong Delta

Accomodation: Thao Anh Guesthouse ($19 per double bed room, extremely friendly and helpful, clean hotel rooms, weak wifi, good location, book Mekong Delta tours and bus to Saigon) book a room at booking.com

Our first city was Can Tho. Many tourists and travelers who want to visit the Mekong Delta, known for its floating markets, choose to go to Saigon instead of Can Tho. Saigon, officially called Ho Chi Minh City, is a city in southern Vietnam famous for the crucial role it played in the Vietnam War. The reason people choose to go to Saigon and not to one of the smaller cities in the Mekong Delta is that there is more to do in Saigon than in those unknown cities in the Mekong Delta. There are tours offered from Saigon early in the morning to the Mekong Delta and back on the same day.

Online you can vind many offers but also in Saigon there are plenty of possibilities to book a day trip. Here an example: https://www.toursbylocals.com/mekongbyvi

BUT be aware that it is not really practical to do a day trip from HCMC as the best floating markets wind up before you will get there.

Alternatives are 2 day tours, but which will make it more expensive of course (https://www.getyourguide.com/ho-chi-minh-city-l272/2-day-floating-market-in-mekong-delta-t36243/). It is more logical to stay in one of the cities in the Mekong Deleta, for example Can Tho is the place to be, and do your floating market tours early in the morning.

Floating Markets

The biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta is the busy market of Phung Hiep. The market opens at 4.00 am closes at 11.00 am. To visit this floating market, you should stay in the Mekong Delta area, wake up early and take one of the boats first hour in the morning (From Can Tho its a 1h boat ride). If you do a one day excursion from Saigon, the market will be already closed by the time you get here.

Cai Be, one of the many well-known floating markets in the western region of southern Vietnam was formed in the 19th century. The Cai Be Floating Market is always busy, carrying all the characteristics of the locals’ life. Approximately 400 to 500 boats filled with fruits, vegetables, and other products are anchored along the banks of the river.

(For more information visit http://www.vietnam-beauty.com/top-destinations/24-destination-in-the-south/173-floating-markets-the-outstanding-in-mekong-delta.html)

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Which goods they are selling you can see samples of in the air.

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Breakfast (Banh Mi) from the breakfast boat.

In the tour we booked in our hotel there were not only 2 floating markets included but also a local breakfast, visit to the  rice noodle factory (Sau Hoai’s Rice Noodle Factory), a walk along the rice fields and water coconut trees, along the river,  visiting My Khanh Tourist Village.

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Private Tour guide

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Rice fields
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Water coconut
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Walk through the nature
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rice paper/noodle factory

At the end of those tours it is being expected to tip the tour guide and the boat driver. An alternative would be inviting them for lunch (which we chose to do).

Note: There is not much to do or to see in Can Tho, however we would advice everyone to try out the hot pots very close to the hotel I recommended. You will be the only foreigner sitting there, you will not understand the menu or the people there BUT it is a very authentic and delicious experience.

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Hot pot with duck

Definitely a great experience!

2. Saigon

We took a bus from Can Tho to Saigon. The ride took around 4 hours.

Once in Saigon, we were amazing about the difference between Saigon and Can Tho. While in Can Tho almost no one spoke English and the city even though it is a big city was kind of manageable. Saigon on the other hand was just HUGE. So many impressions, and triggers.

Accommodation: The Hangout Hostel or the Hideout Hostel (great location, awesome staff, best pub crawl, clean rooms, good airco, good wifi)

As I am not a big fan of big cities, or cities in general it was not easy to find something I enjoyed doing in Saigon. However, I managed to find things to do!

MY TOP 4 THINGS TO DO IN SAIGON

  • Benthanh Street Food Market: not the best food I had but worth visiting
  • Bến Thành Market: The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an important symbol of Hồ Chí Minh City, popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, áo dài and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.
  • Vietnamese massage at Aroma Viet Spa:  a bit expensive but  the best massage I ever had
  • Get vietnamese coffee from a motorcycle coffee-shop

If you like history, especially war, book a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels. I have not visited them as I am not a fan of war. I cannot handle war, killing each other and things related ot that very well and prefer not to visit those places which make me sad and mad at the same time. You can crawl in the tunnels yourself and experience how vietnamese soldiers felt during the war.

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Bến Thành Market

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Vietnamese Coffee

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Backpacker street

Bewaren

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