River Life – Can Tho and the Mekong Delta

At this point in our journey we had originally intended to move on up the coast of Vietnam, but we changed our minds last minute and headed in the opposite direction.  After a few days in the big city, we were ready to wind down and check out the floating markets on the Mekong Delta, where the Mekong River empties into the South China Sea.

We decided to journey to the largest city in the region, Can Tho.  After a taxi to the mini bus station, a mini bus to the bus station, a 3.5 hour bus ride, and another taxi into the city, we spent an hour or so walking along the river and trying our first Banh Bao (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Buns).  I’m normally very excited to try new foods, but there was something about the quail egg hanging out in the meat that I just couldn’t get past.  Jojo enjoyed it, though.  We planned on waking up early the next day to see the floating markets so we turned in early.

We got up at about 5am and walked down to the river.  There were several small boats that tourists could hire to take around the markets.  We hopped in one and set off!

Just set off, still dark!

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The river was very quiet and still dark when we set off.  We passed by a lot of homes, some of which you could see right into.  There were hardly any other boats around and it was very peaceful.  After about an hour, we came to the Cai Rang Market, the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta!  The market was bustling yet still quiet at the same time.  It was fascinating to watch all of the exchanges.

All the pineapples!

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We drifted through the market for another hour or so, then made our way through a narrow canal to the village areas.  We stopped at a noodle factory and got to watch how they make rice noodles.

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We wandered around this area for a little while, then got back on the boat and proceeded to the Phong Dien Market which we found a little more enjoyable than the Cai Rang, as it seemed more colorful and energetic.  Our boat guide even bought us some treats!

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After another hour or so exploring this market, we went through another narrow canal where we stopped and got out for lunch.  We explored this are area for a while, admiring the flora and waving to people as we passed by their homes.  The children were especially excited to see us and would shout “Hello! Hello!” and giggle when we said it back.  They also loved having their pictures taken!

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We cruised down the river for a long time until we finally reached the dock back in Can Tho.  The whole trip took about 7 hours and was a very nice experience, (despite paying more than we should have.)  We spent the rest of the evening exploring the city and trying some delicious banh trang at the street food market.  There are also heaps of seafood lining almost every street!

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Exploring this region was both fascinating and humbling and we were really glad we had changed plans at the list minute!  After a super long day, we were back in the room preparing for the next day’s adventure.

Because why pay for laundry?


Tea: 25,000vnd ($1.17 USD)

Beer: 25,000vnd ($1.17 USD)

2-1.5L H2O: 30,000vnd ($1.40 USD)

Taxi: 50,000vnd ($2.33 USD)

Bus: 250,000vnd ($11.66 USD)

Taxi: 150,000vnd ($7.00 USD)

Dinner: 28,000vnd ($1.31 USD)

Accommodation: 315,ooovnd ($14.69 USD)

1/2 Total Spent: 873,000vnd ($40.73USD)

Mekong Boat: 840,000vnd ($39.19 USD)

Lunch: 225,000vnd ($10.50 USD)

Dinner: 20,000vnd ($0.93 USD)

Beer: 20,000vnd ($0.93 USD)

Accommodation: 315,000vnd ($14.69 USD)

1/3 Total Spent: 1,430,000 ($66.71 USD)