How to Have a Relaxing Tour in Can Tho Vietnam?
Posted on 23/10/2019 7:44:37
The largest city in the Mekong Delta and the fourth largest city in Vietnam, Can Tho is an up and coming tourist center when touring Vietnam. Taking its name from the phrase “cầm thi giang”, which means “river of poems”, the city is famous for its floating markets, Buddhist pagodas, and delicious cuisine and fresh fruits. Sitting in the midst of the lowland beauty that is the Mekong Delta, on the south banks of the Hậu River around three hours from Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho has managed to retain its rural charm, thanks to an orderly development of the urban areas. The city also contains the largest concentration of foreign inhabitants in the Mekong Delta, and is a major draw for tourists from Saigon, for boating tours around the delta’s many canals and rivers.
How to get to Can Tho?
As the regional hub for transport in the area around the Mekong Delta, it is easy to get to Can Tho from most of the major cities in Vietnam, right up to Hanoi in the north. Most buses from the central and northern regions of Vietnam have a stop in Ho Chi Minh City en route to Can Tho. – Check for 14-days Vietnam tour with Can Tho.
The direct buses from Ho Chi Minh City depart every hour or two for the city, and run around the clock. Buses run from the Western Bus Station, and cost from around 4-7 dollars per person. The major bus operators run air-conditioned and comfortable buses, which take around three to four hours to reach Can Tho, and the ticket price usually includes a free bottle of water. When you arrive in Can Tho, most of the major bus operators offer an inclusive shuttle service to your hotel, as long as you have the address of the hotel and reservation with you. If you do not have a pre-booked hotel in Can Tho, the service is not available.
As well as being able to travel from domestic locations to Can Tho, there is also a daily direct bus to the city from Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The bus departs from the Khai Nam Bus Station in Phnom Penh, and takes around 11 hours to reach Con Tho. The bus travels via Saigon, and costs from around 12-18 dollars per person. The bus stops at the border checkpoint, and your visa will be checked on the bus by Vietnamese immigration. The overland borders do not allow the Visa on Arrival service.
If you are planning on taking a taxi or private-hire car to Can Tho from Saigon, the 169km trip takes around 3-4 hours, and is little different than taking the bus, except that you can rent it yourself. The cost of the taxi is almost the same as renting a car and driver privately, so the choice is yours. The average cost of the one-way trip by car or taxi is normally around 140-180 US dollars, and it pays to travel with friends to reduce the cost between up to three passengers.Can Tho has its own airport, formerly known as the Trà Nóc Airport. The Can Tho International Airport handles domestic flights from Hanoi, Da Lat, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Nha Trang, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Con Dao, and Phu Quoc. As an international airport, Can Tho also offers inbound flights from Kuala Lumpur with AirAsia, from Bangkok Don Mueang with Thai AirAsia, from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi with Thai Vietjet Air, and from Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung in Taiwan with Vietnam Airlines.
Due to the improvements of the motorway system around Ho Chi Minh City and the opening of the Can Tho Bridge, boats no longer run the route from Saigon to Can Tho, except for those on longer river cruises on the Mekong, which stop in Can Tho briefly.
Highlights of Can Tho tour
Considered as the “rice basket” of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta area contributes to more than half of the nation’s rice production, and the wide variety of fruits means that the markets of Can Tho are well stocked with all the essentials for the classic Vietnamese cuisine dishes. The floating markets of Can Tho are famous across Asia, and the Cai Rang market, just 6km from the center of Can Tho, is the best of them all. The market is best visited in the early morning, before it gets hot, and it is well worth getting up early to beat the tourist crowds and get the best products available.
While the floating markets are a great attraction, one of the best things to do in the area is take yourself out on a private sampan tour of the waterways of the Mekong Delta. The local sampans, a small wooden rowboat, can be rented with or without oarsman, and you can travel the waterways for the day, stopping where you like and enjoying the interesting stilt houses, houseboats moored alongside the waterways, farms and orchards, and the plethora of riverside restaurants that can be found throughout the Delta.
Set in a fantastic location facing the Can Tho River, the Ong Temple, inside the Guangzhou Assembly Hall, is a Chinese temple decorated with fragrant, constantly-burning incense coils. The temple was built in the late 19th century in reverence of Kuang Kung, the deity of loyalty, justice, reason, intelligence, honor, and courage. On the left of the temple sits the statue of the Goddess of Fortune, while on the right, the space is reserved for the worship of general Ma Tien. The central statue of Kuang Kung is flanked by the God of Earth and the God of Finance.
The Bang Lang Stork Garden, on the road out of Can Tho towards Long Xuyen, is a magnificent bird sanctuary that covers an area of 1.3 hectares. The sanctuary gives visitors brilliant views of the thousands of storks and snowy egrets in residence. The best time to visit is at dawn and dusk, when the birds lift off or come back to roost, and the tall viewing platforms give you a great view of the birds in the treetops.
Hidden down a quiet backstreet, the gloriously gold Pitu Kohsa Rangsay Pagoda is a sharp contrast to the dull grey of the local buildings. A three-level Theravada Buddhist pagoda, the building was constructed in 1948, and the carved details on the walls and the painted columns showcase the central figure of the huge Buddha statue. The temple is renowned for its charitable deeds, including helping disadvantages kids to be able to study and go to school.
The Can Tho Museum, on Hoa Binh road, is dedicated to bringing the varied history of the area to life. Life-sized replicas of buildings, complete with mannequin inhabitants, fill the museum, and include a Chinese house and pagoda. The focus is mainly on the Khmer and Chinese communities of the Mekong Delta, and includes explanations of the local culture, including the wars, with good English translations.
The Mekong Delta is famous for its agriculture, and there is no better way to experience this than visiting some of the farms of the area. The Mien Tay Farm, a modest homestay farm run by Lam The Cuong, is one of the most popular cacao farms in the Delta, and you can learn how the fruit of the trees are turned into the famous cacao products that you can buy all over the world, such as body butter, liqueurs, and chocolates.
Eat in Can Tho
The restaurants in Can Tho have some of the most delicious dishes in Vietnam, and this area of the Delta has adopted many Vietnamese dishes to build its own unique cuisine. One of the most popular is the Cai Rang grilled rolls, made from fresh pork and served with pineapple, cucumber, bitter bananas, and star fruit. The meal is interactive, and you place the ingredients you want on thin rice paper and roll them yourself. The best place to find these is along De Tham, the street known locally as “Food Street”, which has all the tastes of South Vietnam in one place.
The cuisine of Can Tho is wide and varied, and a favorite is the Bun nuoc leo Soc Trang, a noodle dish with Khmer origins made from fish stock, served with noodles, whole shrimp, roasted pork, pork crackling, fish balls, and a bowl of herbs, fresh chives, soy beans, and banana blossom. The dish also uses a pickled fish that can be found in every market in the Delta, and the most popular place to get the dish is at the small restaurant of Bun Nuoc Leo Soc Trang Phi Long at 12 De Tham, which has been selling the best local version since 2001.
Another favorite is the banh xeo, a type of pancake that is found all over Vietnam. However, the Can Tho variation is different, and is a huge pancake filled with grilled pork, fried shrimps, beansprouts, bell peppers, lettuce leaves, herbs, and cucumber, and tantalizes the senses. One of the most popular places for this is the Ban Xeo Hue Vien, at 34 De Tham, which uses a thin bean vermicelli to wrap the pork instead of the rice paper.
Special tips for Can Tho tour
Can Tho lies in the Mekong Delta, and has a very typical tropical monsoon climate, with the dry cooler season running from December to late April. From April to the end of May, the weather is still fairly dry, but the heat is more intense, and as the months move on into June, the rainy season starts in full, with heavy rains from July to September, slowly dying off around October and early November.
Unless you are from a country that has a visa exemption for limited travel in Vietnam, you will need to apply for your visa before you travel, or make the online application for the Visa on Arrival, which is only available at the airports. Visas can be obtained in advance from the embassy in your home country, or you can apply for the E-visa online, for those nationals that are eligible.
The currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong (VND), which is tied to the US dollar for exchange rates, and exchanges at rates of around 23,000 dong to the dollar, give or take. The dong is the official currency of the country, but you will find that you can use US dollars in many places, and some shops in tourist areas will show the price in both dong and US dollars. However, it is a case of caveat emptor (buyer beware) in Vietnam, since the prices in dollars can be up to twice the price of the item in dong.
Can Tho is probably one of the most popular destinations in southern Vietnam, outside Saigon. Its unique location at the heart of the Mekong Delta makes this a huge tourist destination for those that want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big cities for a place where city meets countryside in a way that is rarely found elsewhere in Vietnam. With its vast network of waterways and delicious foods, any trip to the Mekong Delta must include Can Tho as a major stop.