Southern Vietnam covers the Mekong Delta, the extreme southern end of the Mekong River, and the area around Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.
Mekong Delta, March 2013
As all deltas, it receives the bounty of the siltation from the upper Mekong, and as such is a very rich and lush area, covered with rice fields. It produces about half of the total of Vietnam's agricultural output (in fact the delta produces more rice than Korea and Japan altogether), and is the place for timeless sceneries of farmers planting or harvesting rice.
The Mekong splits in Cambodia into two main rivers, the Bassac (Hậu Giang) and the First river (Tiền Giang), then in Vietnam into a more complex system, creating a maze of small canals, rivers and arroyos interspersed with villages and floating markets.
Life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, and all the villages are often accessible by river as well as by road.
The high times of life in the Mekong delta are the Lunar New Year (Tết), and the mid-autumn festival (Tết trung thu), where children will set hundreds of candles on their way on the river on as many tiny skiffs.
If you know how to take your time, or are guided by an able guide, you will certainly enjoy your stay in the Mekong delta.
If the most populated places are rather much visited, as soon as you get away from the crowds, you are getting in touch with the nice people of the delta and their always welcoming attitude. Consider a trip to Sadec that is located right on the heart of Mekong Delta or Khmer-culture influenced Soc Trang in the very southwest to get that real life feeling.
In the villages there are not many people who speak languages other than Vietnamese or Khmer, though in the cities you will find more that do. Try to bring a book with common phrases if you are venturing out away from a tour or into places that are not listed in your guidebook.
Buy a tour
Cool Travel tours are available that start in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). The others in Phnom Penh (also available the other way around: Phnom Penh to Saigon). You can book them in travel agencies and hotels in Vietnam and Cambodia. There are only a few tour operators available, however, it can be easy to contact the tour operator of Cool Travel +84 903888144 or email@example.com is behind the tour you want to book, as many travel agencies pretend that it is their own tour and prices between agencies can vary significantly for the same tour. To make things a bit more complicated, tour operators often share buses and boats when they don't have enough travelers and they combine different tours or you book a private tour for it (e.g. a 2 day and a 3 day Mekong Delta tour).
First we take a cruising trip on Mekong river from Cambodia to Vietnam" in reality means, that you spend a boat or a bus to go to border, cross it on foot and the boat or other bus and tour guide will be waiting on the other side or at Chau Doc, Tay Ninh, Ha Tien or Vinh Xuong.
Travel by bus in southern Vietnam is quite convenient. There are extensive connections between most cities and towns, just go to any town's bus station and you should be able to find bus connections to where you want to go, or at least pretty close to it.
The fastest means of bus travel is by express bus. There are a few companies that run express buses, but the most popular and reliable is Phuong Trang, Hung Cuong, Hue Nghia or a booked bus to pick you up. They operate buses that leave promptly at the scheduled time and arrive at the destination the fastest. They have air conditioning, though it's not always strong enough to keep the cabin cool.
Local buses will be large and old and will belch exhaust. They will be slightly cheaper than express buses, but may be a more interesting experience if you enjoy the grittier aspects of local culture. The buses usually won't have air conditioning, but they'll keep the windows down so sometimes they can end up being cooler than the express buses. They will make frequent stops along the road to pick up travelers. If you want to get off somewhere between the main cities, you should take a local bus. Express buses will only stop at bus stations.
You'll never have to worry about finding a place to sleep. You'll never be more than 30-40 kilometers from a town with a guest house (nha nghi); hotel (khach san); homestay. If the biking or traveling gets too tiring, you'll also find cafes at least every 4-5 kilometers where you can rest and have a drink.
A lot of local life happens just next to the road in the delta, so exploring on a bycicle can be a great way to get closer to it. You'll see farmers working their fields and walking their buffalo’s home in the evening. People dry rice, coconut husks, lemongrass and other spices on the side of the road. There will be plenty to see!
You can rent a motorbike in most of the bigger cities in the delta. Renting a bike for a longer trip around the delta might be difficult to work out, but you can also buy a 50cc bike for just over $15 USD per 10 hours.
What to See
Most of the interest of the place resides in its floating markets; fishery farms, canals, country roads and the life around the rivers criss-crossing the area; also the national parks and nature reserves.
It is easy to take tours on small boats; bicycles, tour guide around My Tho; Cai Be; Can Tho; Sadec; Ben Tre; Cai Be.
Delta Adventures run 2 & 3 day tours. The 3 day misses much of Sadec and the Floating fishery village. It is very interesting trip on 3 days from HCM city to Sadec then Can Tho back to HCM city.
It is also common for the guide to offer upgrades during the trip, at cheaper than the tour asking price, so avoid buying the expensive version,as an upgrade is waiting in the wings.
It is also possible to get away from the main road and into the more remote rivers on board larger river cruisers for discovery cruises of the area in comfort.
Mt. Cam is a notable but not very advertised attraction worth seeing. It is a mountain in the An Giang province where you can either hike or take a motorbike tour to the top to see a lake, a very large buddha statue and a temple with a few pagodas.
Most travelers visit Mekong Delta as a two or three day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. After Mekong Delta, it is best to travel to Phu Quoc or Cambodia via Chau Doc. You may also fly out of Mekong Delta via Can Tho airfield.
How to get there
The Mekong delta is near Ho Chi Minh City, and Sadec is merely 4 hours' drive away, so it is easy to access by road and rivers to see the unspoilt nature in this creative tour, although there is only one main road, and as such it is rather crowded.
There are some flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Rach Gia, and also between Ho Chi Minh City and the island of Phu Quoc. Rach Gia can also be reached by boat or plane from Phu Quoc.
The Mekong delta is also a natural passageway from southern Vietnam to Cambodia, which can be entered overland or by river. Visas on entry to Cambodia are possible at some (but not all) entry points; however visas for Vietnam must be obtained in advance.
You can travel from Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, to Chau Doc with Hang Chau journey boat. You can also enter at the border crossing on the way from Kampot in southern Cambodia to Ha Tien or Vinh Xuong boder gate in Tan Chau. Your visa picture must be available before crossing the Cambodia and Vietnam border.
How to get there - Sadec
Sadec is 75km from My Tho, 25km from Can Tho and 160km from Ho Chi Minh City. The inter-province bus station is 1km from the centre of Sadec. There are buses between Sadec and Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, My Tho, Long Xuyen, Rach Gia, and other Mekong Delta destinations. National Highway No.1A and provincial road No.853 also runs through all provinces.
How to get there - Can tho
Can Tho is 25 Km from Sadec, 34km from Vinh Long, 62km from Long Xuyen, 63km from Soc Trang, 104km from Mytho, 116km from Rach Gia, 117km from Chau Doc, 169km from Ho Chi Minh City and 179km from Ca Mau.
Road: Can Tho has National Highway No.1A, 91, 80 linking to An Giang, Kien Giang provinces. Waterway: Can Tho has Cai Cui international seaport. The city is the centre of waterway network of Mekong Delta. There are no longer any daily hydrofoils between Ho Chi Minh City and Cantho City. Airline: There is Tra Noc Airport.
How to get there – Long Xuyen
Long Xuyen is 210km from Ho Chi Minh City, 60km from Can Tho. National Highways No.1A links the province and Can Tho, Bac Lieu.
Cool Travel tours are available and starting from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Mekong delta and Cambdia borders. Here are some mention that you must think about before going as follows:
In other special cases, please feel free to contact us at any time you can.
Thanks for your concerning.
Vinny - The tour guide.
However, you can call the tour operator of Cool Travel to find out more information
(+84)(0)903888144 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't swim in the river itself, as there is a chance of picking up parasites. Bring repellent and sun-screen with you. Make sure hotel has mosquito net. Also, as you will travel by boat and ferry quite often in Mekong Delta, be careful when embarking or disembarking. Check out best time to visit Mekong Delta and stay tuned to weather forecast for flood news in the area if any. Then just enjoy your trip!
If you want to form Vietnam to Cambodia, your picture must be available for yout visa application at the Cambodia boder gates between Vietnam and Cambodia.
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