Can Tho – Mekong Delta

I didn’t spend more than 1.5days in the Mekong Delta. I guess I was let down by my expectations, my bad. The city that I stayed in is called Can Tho, it’s the biggest city in the delta and it felt like any other riverside town/city. What I had in mind is tiny towns surrounded by rice paddies and small rivers surrounded by coconut trees and mangroves. I’m sure this is what the real Delta looks like but these are more off the beaten path and hence more expensive for accommodation and not that safe if you are traveling alone (based on what the locals told me). So I gave these a skip.

I did the only other thing I was keen on, visit the floating markets. This was a real treat despite having to wake up at 5am. Even that early the city was awake. People were busy preparing their food carts, loading fruit onto their stands or sitting in cafes enjoying their morning coffee. We took a boat to Cai Rang which is the biggest floating market in the delta and is about 7kms from Can Tho. It was a very pretty and peaceful boat ride to the market especially coz we set off just before sunrise.

Sunrise in the Mekong Delta
Sunrise in the Mekong Delta

On the way there we enjoyed watching people living on houses on the river, hanging up their laundry or eating their morning meal or brushing their teeth.

Locals going about their early morning routine.
Locals going about their early morning routine.

By the time we got to Cai Rang market, it was in full flow. We didn’t buy anything here coz it was a wholesale market. We then made our way to the Phong Dien market, another 10kms away. This is a retail market and we spent some time here, trying a lot of fresh seasonal fruit and fried vegetable crisps. I bought 3 mangoes for 10,000VND whereas I’d been buying 1 for 7,000 elsewhere in Vietnam! I was so happy!

Tourists taking a break and sampling the various fresh produce
Tourists, sampling the various fresh produce, resulting in a gridlock, ha!

Even though the markets were great fun there was something missing. These are called the biggest floating markets in the Mekong Delta and we were there at what is said to be the ‘best’ time in the morning, it didn’t feel that busy or that big. May be it was an off day or perhaps the size of the market is hyped up, I’ll never know.

Boat ride through the canals
Boat ride through the canals

Anyways, from the markets the boat took us through tiny canals, we took a walk in the plantations and then stopped for coffee/snacks in a shack by the river. After 5 hours on the boat it was time to head back to Can Tho. By then I was super tired and the boat was soooo slow so that the 2hrs boat ride back got a bit too much. Especially seeing that most of the boats were faster than ours! Lol but it was a good day anyways.

I would have loved to spend more time in the delta, but I wanted to take the locals advice about safety seriously and I wasn’t willing to spend $25 for a tour (It doesn’t sound much but a good meal costs $1!)

So after being up at 5am on 2 days in a row I was ready to chill on the beach in Phu Quo, my next and final stop in Vietnam.

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