Can Tho, the biggest city in the Mekong Delta, has a population of around 1.5 million. It has grown quickly without losing a rural feel to life and the floating markets of the City are famed throughout the Delta and beyond. It sits on the southern bank of the Mekong’s largest branch, the Hau. Its cuisine, fresh fruits and pagodas are other attractions. The city is fairly compact and this Can Tho travel guide wants topersuade you that there are many reasons to include it in your Vietnam travel plans. It is fairly quiet by day but things change after sunset. There are pagodas worth visiting in the day time but by night there are restaurants, markets and people everywhere.
How to get there
Most travellers heading for the Mekong Delta come via Ho Chi Ming City. It is just over 3 hours away by road. The Can Tho Bridge opened in 2011 and this has reduced journey times from Ho Chi Minh City at the expenses of some regular ferry services.
If you are coming from Cambodia, there is a bus service from Chau Duc. A service actually comes daily from Phnom Penh while there are excellent services within the Delta linking all the towns and cities.
There is a small airport and flights are likely to increase as the city continues to grow. Trà Nóc Airport has flights to Hanoi and Da Nang in the north and central region of Vietnam respectively.
Best time to visit
From May to November it is monsoon season, hot and humid but it may not mean any more than heavy afternoon showers. The dry season then follows; there are effectively just 2 seasons with a fairly constant temperature in the upper 20Cs.
Things to see and do
The floating markets are more than just a place to buy and sell. They provide a real insight to daily life in the Mekong and all Vietnam travel packagesshould include at least one.
• Cái Răng is the main wholesale floating market but you have to be early because shoppers are buying their food for the day, and will likely return tomorrow.
• Phong Dien further upstream is a retail market and once again starts very early.
• Phung Hiep is in the neighbouring Hậu Giang province and you can go on a cruise to get there if you have time.
• Tra On is an hour away downstream.
Our Can Tho travel guide has some ideas for you:
• Religious sites
• Quang Duc Pagoda, Mau Than Street, is one of the largest Buddhist Temples with live in monks.
• Buu Tri Pagoda, also in Mau Than Street, a fairly new temple.
• The Khmer Pagoda of Munirangsyaram is in Hoà Bình street
• Tham Tướng Church on Mau Than Street, was built by the French
• Tin Lanh Baptist Church close to the University in Mau Than is another worth a visit
• Xuan Khanh Quarter includes Mau Than Street, the longest in the Delta at more than 30 km. There is the daily Xuan Khanh market as well as the religious sites mentioned above. There are mangoes, oranges, jackfruit and grapefruit as well as custard apple, longans or durian depending on the season.
• Ninh Kiều pier hosts a further tourist market.
• Cái Khế Market sells fish and fresh produce. It is the main hotel, business and restaurant area.
Hai Bà Trưng Street by the river has a park and the Ho Chi Minh Statue. There are few other notable landmarks but visitors to Can Tho usually have other things on their minds.
There are plenty of places to stay at all budget levels. Those who decide they have time to spend in the Mekong Delta might opt for a homestay but within the City itself there are hostels, mid-range hotels and several government owned establishments and even a little luxury. Those on Vietnam tour packages will have their accommodation organised for them. If you are booking independently a word of warning. If you are too close to the real nightlife action you might struggle to get much sleep.
There is no doubt that Vietnam private tours that include Can Tho and the immediate vicinity will give everyone an idea of real Vietnamese life. Although Can Tho is a city is does not have the feel of other cities around the world; it is almost like a huge village but of course it is developing all the time. Now is a great time to consider Vietnam family tours.