Travelling Guide to Can Tho, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Your most comprehensive guide to Can Tho.

Moving out of Ho Chi Minh city on the fifth day in Vietnam, we were heading to our next destination, the biggest city on the Mekong Delta: Can Tho! It is obviously going to be quieter than Saigon, much lesser skyscrapers and tall buildings, and the people of Can Tho lead a slower pace of life. That doesn't mean there's nothing to see or do at Can Tho though, check out our day itinerary on getting to Can Tho and what we did there:

Getting from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho 
There are many ways to get to Can Tho from Ho Chi Minh, and we chose the most local way - by their mini bus which the Vietnamese take when they want to make this journey. We got to Bến Xe Miền Tây bus interchange and bought the tickets, tried to find the correct mini bus to board, and squeezed ourselves on board. The ticket is 100,000dong each (~S$6.37) for the four-hour ride including mineral water, a rest-stop over at a Phuong Trang highway service and restaurant point for a toilet and refuel/food break, and a shuttle-bus transfer to your accommodation if you already booked one. Get the milk at the rest stop, it is super fresh and cheap.

Generally, the ride is quite a squeeze but not uncomfortable as the Vietnamese do like their personal space as well. During our journey, there were some hawkers trying to sell their wares to us but they can't really speak English nor can we understand Vietnamese anyway so they hardly entertained us.

We caught a bit of a nap on the way, as we saw lesser and lesser buildings and more rice paddy fields and then caught sight of the Mekong River (a first for me)! The locals regarded us in a strange way, probably because they were wondering why we didn't take a taxi like most other tourists.

Accommodation in Can Tho

Upon arrival, we settled in our accommodation, Thao Anh Guesthouse, to drop our bags first. Thao Anh Guesthouse is relatively central to all the attractions in Can Tho - walking distance to most of the exciting things, and in general quite basic and sufficient in facilities, with a common area to hang out and talk to other guests. They have a dog too which you can pet! Super cute. The owner, Ms Thao, is also very helpful in our travels, recommended and booked tours for us. Each room which can house 2 adults is going at S$11 per room per night.
I know, crazily low prices. This is why I love Vietnam.

Thao Anh Guesthouse 
1/79 Hem 1
Ly Tu Trong Street
Ninh Kieu District
Can Tho 9000, Vietnam

Contact Ms. Thao: (+84) 939 275114

It was here, at this vegetarian food court place nearby recommended by our accommodation's owner to try one of the Vietnamese must-try dishes, comnam ('broken rice') and some chicken noodles soup. They were pretty alright, not too delicious and quite bland, but enough to keep us going.

Pagodas around Can Tho
There are a couple of Buddhist pagodas around town, including the Munirensay Temple which we visited. Lots of steps to climb barefooted, but the tranquil atmosphere and view overseeing the lower buildings in Can Tho is really calming. The pagodas are generally very welcoming to guests.
Munirensay Temple
36 Hoà Bình Street, corner of Hoa Binh & De Tham Road
Tan An Ward, Ninh Kieu District
Can Tho 9000, Vietnam

Other pagodas recommended around the district include:

Quang Duc Pagoda
111 Mau Thanh, Xuan Khanh, Ninh Kieu District
Can Tho 9000, Vietnam


Ong Pagoda
32 Hai Ba Trung Street
Tan An Ward, Ninh Kieu District
Can Tho 9000, Vietnam

Along the promenade

Take a slow saunter along the promenade to take in the sights of the Mekong River completely. Watch local fishermen try to reel in a catch, take a picture with the grand statue of Ho Chi Minh, or take an-hour long boat ride along Mekong River.

Mid-day drinks

Viva Coffee rests on the main street of Hai Ba Trung (parallel to the promenade) and very near to Ong Pagoda, making it the perfect stop to have some drinks especially on a hot summer day. They have quite a large range of drinks. Cocktails range from 54,000dong - 75,000dong (~S$3.44 - S$4.78) which are very affordable and deliciously refreshing too. 

Viva Coffee
26 Hai Bà Trưng
Ninh Kieu District
Can Tho 9000, Vietnam

Next drink stop: Hoa Cau. Apparently the food here is quite terrible (which we didn't have any) according to TripAdvisor. Avoid the red wine, but the rest of the drinks were pretty good, including the whiskey. It definitely packed quite a punch because for the rest of the night, all my pictures were blur...

Hoa Cau Restaurant
4 Hai Bà Trưng
Ninh Kieu District
Can Tho 9000, Vietnam

Recommended: Party Boat!

I don't have a picture of the party boat at night, simply put because I was having too much fun running around the boat looking at performances and feeling a bit happy-dizzy from the drinks earlier... memory's a little hazy at this point, but I remember having quite an extensive seafood feast on the boat and tons of people on it. The party boat brings you up and around the river, and you have to finish your dinner in that duration.

Mekong Delta Sunrise Boat Ride

What's going to Can Tho without a Mekong boat ride? Especially with a sunrise tour to boot. This probably needs an entire post by itself, but I'll just put this here because this list can't be complete without this boat ride! We woke up very early for this since we needed to set off way in the dark. Knowing that we are averse to 'touristic' experiences, Ms Thao booked a more manual boat for us instead of the usual speedboats. It was my first floating market experience, very fascinating and interesting to see how commerce works on the floating market, definitely worth it and crucial to see this as part of your Can Tho experience!

Take a day trip around Can Tho on a motorbike

The most common form of transport around Can Tho is definitely the motorbike which you can see everywhere around town. Our accommodation owner, Ms Thao, helped us rent some motorbikes so that we can take them around the Can Tho / Mekong Delta area for a self-guided tour. It took us straight around the homes of the Vietnamese, paddy fields, and even took boats to get across the river a few times as we swung by the neighbouring island next to Can Tho and get away from the city-town civilization and deep into the nature. The good thing about motorbikes is that you get complete freedom on where and when you want to travel around the area, especially for distances further than what your feet can take you. However, you need to know how to operate a motorbike...

Tay Do Night Markets

Can Tho has its own fair share of street markets that only come alive at night, it's not as lively as the ones in Ho Chi Minh itself, but it's one of the things that you can do in Can Tho. Tay Do Night Market is the main one where you can just stroll through.

Cach Mang Thang 8 Street
Cai Khe Ward Ninh Kieu District
Can Tho 9000, Vietnam

Vietnamese BBQ and hot pots

One of the nights in Can Tho, we went for a quick Vietnamese BBQ and a steamboat/hotpot (at two different places), which were the night activities that most of the locals were engaged in - friends gathering together around and chatting over some roasted meats. There are quite a lot of restaurants around, just pop by and do as the Vietnamese do :)

For other posts in Vietnam:

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