You should travel to Can Tho, not only to admire the beauty of the busiest urban area of the Mekong Delta, but to also learn about the local culture and witness the daily routines of the wonderfully sweet Southern Vietnamese.

A Glance at Can Tho City

guide to can tho city
Welcome to Can Tho

Can Tho city, about a 175-kilometer drive from Saigon, is located downstream of the Mekong River and right at the center of the Mekong Delta. With an advantageous waterway system and fertile soil, Can Tho has quickly grown and become the capital of the Mekong Delta region. Like other Southern provinces, the city also has a warm and humid climate throughout the year. The dry season lasts from December to April while the rainy season starts around May and ends in November.

If your trip is during the rainy season, take this chance to explore the city to its fullest by riding a boat through floating markets. Meanwhile, if you travel during summer, get ready to nibble on amazing ripe fruit! Furthermore, during mid-autumn time and the full moon of April, there are two major festivals held in Can Tho called Thuong Dien and Ha Dien. On these special occasions, the local people will organize different types of religious rituals in order to show their respect and gratefulness to the gods of their land. Your trip will be complete and memorable once you witness them, so plan ahead thoroughly!

When to Visit Can Tho?

Can Tho has a warm and humid climate throughout the year, which is quite pleasant compared to that of some other regions of Vietnam. The dry season lasts from December to April while the rainy season starts around May and ends in November.

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If your trip falls in the rainy season, you can enjoy this city at its most fertile and experience the magic of the floating markets. Meanwhile, if you travel during summer, you will find yourself surrounded by many types of ripe fruit. In fact, the summer is the harvest season in Can Tho. During the mid-autumn time and full moon of April, there are two major festivals held in Can Tho. These are Thuong Dien and Ha Dien. People will organize different types of religious rituals in order to show their respect and gratefulness toward the gods of the land.

How to Get to Can Tho?

As the center of the Mekong Delta region, Can Tho has invested in upgrading their transportation and infrastructure. It also means that traveling to the city won’t take much sweat, especially when you get here by coach, car, or airplane. I will break this down in detail, so check the information below to choose your best vehicle option.

how to get to can tho city
Choose between a variety of options.

By coach

If you plan to visit Saigon before traveling to Can Tho, hopping on a coach seems like the best choice since there are tons of transport services to this city. The total travel time from Saigon to Can Tho is only about three to five hours depending on the traffic. You can get your ticket at the Mien Tay Bus Station, but my advice is to buy it online on vexere.com to ensure a hassle-free experience! Some trust-worthy coach operators that are available every day are:

If you plan to visit Saigon before traveling to Can Tho, hopping on a coach seems like the best choice since there are tons of transport services to this city. The total travel time from Saigon to Can Tho is only about three to five hours depending on the traffic. You can get your ticket at the Mien Tay Bus Station, but my advice is to buy it online on vexere.com to ensure a hassle-free experience! Some trust-worthy coach operators that are available every day are:

Name Office Address Price Phone Number of Saigon’s Office
Van Lang Coach 359 Hung Vuong street, Binh Tan District 110,000 VND (4.7 USD) 02838 352 352
Vu Linh Limousine 450 Cao Thang Street, District 10 140,000 VND (6 USD) 1900 7009
Loc Phat Limousine 354/21 Ly Thuong Kiet street, District 10 300,000 VND(12.9 USD) 0292 377 9777

 

Note: Most of the bus lines start at their office, while some of them may also stop at the Mien Tay Bus Station. Hence, check the information carefully or else you may miss the bus!

By Airplane

The good news is that you can easily access Can Tho by airplane from Hanoi, Saigon, Da Nang, and Phu Quoc. Depending on your time, interest, and budget, you can choose either Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, or Bamboo Airways of which the average price ranges from 1.5 million Vietnam dong to 3.5 million Vietnam dong (64.5 USD – 150.5 USD) per flight ticket. Tickets are available on the globally famous site skyscanner.com, but if you also want to find the best hotel deals, especially in the Southeast Asia region, try traveloka.com. This site has literally become my friend since my passion for traveling ignited!

flight to can tho airport
Photo: Wikipedia

Note: Currently, there aren’t any direct flights from Saigon to Can Tho, so you have to transit at Phu Quoc or Da Nang Airport for a few hours before continuing onto Can Tho. For all the best, choose a coach because it will save you much more time and money.

By Onetrip Tours!

Food and culture sound terrific, but you need to take care of yourself first! Join our Onetrip Mekong Delta tour and you will have the best time of your life with a hassle-free experience, from driving on the back of the motorcycle to coasting along the riverside coconut plantations. Not to mention the amazing local dishes, wonderful floating markets, and welcoming local people along the way. Alrighty, let’s delve into the charming Mekong Delta together!

tours to can tho mekong delta
Take a motorbike tour to the Mekong Delta

Where to Visit in Can Tho?

Ninh Kieu Wharf

what to do in Can Tho ninh kieu wharf

Hanoi has the Ancient Town, Saigon has Ben Thanh market, and Can Tho has Ninh Kieu wharf!   The wharf itself is stunning, but it also holds an important position – it’s the symbol of Can Tho. At night, remember to take a stroll around here and you can observe the sparkling city, flow of the charming river, authentic local lifestyle, and of course, scrumptious delicacies prepared by Vietnamese aunties.

MORE INFORMATION
Google Maps location: Ninh Kieu Wharf

Cai Rang Floating Market

what to see in can tho cai rang floating market

Being one of the three biggest markets in Can Tho, Cai Rang is also a wholesale market selling every local specialty, from tropical fruit to local dishes. This market has been trading goods for over a hundred years, and it’s bustling and dynamic. Make sure to come here at 6 AM to keep up with the energetic Mekong Delta people!

In order to go to the floating market, you will need to get on a boat, and luckily for you, we have a whole article specifying how and where you should do this. And here you are: Guide to Visiting Cai Rang Floating Market

MORE INFORMAITON 

Google Maps location: Cai Rang Floating Market

Orchard Gardens

mekong delta fruit orchard
Enjoy the peace of the gardens.

You cannot ignore the alluring tropical fruits, especially in this region. Head straight to the biggest orchard gardens in town, such as My Khanh, 9 Hong, or Vam Xang. Get ready to blend into the luscious gardens, admire tropical fruits you’ve never encountered before, and of course, nibble them! Imagine picking the fruits with your own hands and trying them yourself, it makes the experience even more memorable.

Tay Do Night Market

can tho night market
Night market

Can Tho night markets are worth every cent and minute since they will fill your stomach, touch your soul, and warm your heart with delectable dishes. Start with Tran Phu and Can Tho market, then speed up the game at Tay Do night market which is located at the Can Tho International Exhibition, and finally end it at Ninh Kieu night market. After that, you can burn some calories and enjoy Can Tho nightlife right on Ninh Kieu wharf. Isn’t that how you kill two birds with one stone?  

Chua Ong & Nam Nha Pagoda

Despite wars and time, Chua Ong and Nam Nha Pagoda still have a special place in the local people’s hearts. Let’s talk about Chua Ong pagoda first. The pagoda, founded by the Chinese community in Can Tho, was built in 1894 with materials directly transferred from Guangzhou. After many ups and downs from the wars, the pagoda still retains its value from its first days and now it has become the most ancient pagoda in Can Tho.

can tho tourist attractions
Nam Nha Pagoda

Chua Ong Pagoda also has an annual Lantern Auction Festival. Every ten years, the lantern auction will be hosted to raise funds for charity organizations, build schools and cemeteries, as well as help the orphanage children in Can Tho. It is believed that those who own a lantern from the festival will have luck, success, and happiness, so if you have a chance, don’t hesitate to give it a try!

About a 20-minute drive from Chua Ong is Nam Nha pagoda which was established just a year later! During the war in the 20th century, it was known as the revolutionary base of patriots who participated in the anti-French movement as well as a funding place for overseas students. Moreover, if you’re in want of a spot to relax, come here and get ready to be surrounded by the calming Binh Thuy river and gigantic ancient trees. It’s best if you visit both of these spots and find out the differences between the Chinese and Vietnamese pagodas as well as culture.

MORE INFORMATION 

Google Maps location: Chua Ong Pagoda
Google Maps location: Nam Nha Pagoda

The Southern Truc Lam Zen Monastery

can tho floating market
Photo: Wikipedia

Be well-prepared, or you will be struck by the largest monastery in the Mekong Delta! Located in a peaceful commune, Truc Lam Phuong Nam Zen Monastery is more than 38,000 square meters big! The architecture of the monastery is inspired by the Ly – Tran dynasty period, which was about a thousand years ago. Because this building is so important, the materials to build the monastery were also carefully selected. Just check out the 800-year-old wood. The monks here are super hospitable, and during their mealtimes, you can stop by their dining house to try authentic vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine for free!

More information:

Google Maps location: Truc Lam Phuong Nam Zen Monastery

 

What to Eat in Can Tho?

Fish-sauce Hotpot (Lau Mam)

what to eat in can tho

This hotpot has a unique combo of saltiness, sweetness, and an aromatic flavor of fish sauce, and is made with numerous types of fresh vegetables harvested in the delta. You can try this dish at Lau Mam Can Tho.

Vietnamese Pancakes (Banh Xeo)

can tho restaurant
Photo: Yong.vn

When in Can Tho, trying Vietnamese pancakes or banh xeo is undoubtedly a must. Can Tho’s delicious pancakes are a perfect yellow, with the freshest vegetables and wrapped in a mildly sweet and crunchy dough. Pass by Banh Xeo 7 Toi to try the authentic version of this dish.

Grilled Meat Rolls (Nem Nuong)

can tho restaurant
Nem Nuong

Speaking of Can Tho’s cuisine, nem nuong Cai Rang is surely a name not to overlook. First, people carefully select the best pork chops. Remember that pork used for making meat rolls must be fresh. After cleaning, the pork chops are ground and some spices are also added. Then the mixture is made into a ball, stuck on bamboo sticks, and grilled on charcoal stoves. Nem Nuong Thanh Van is known for the best grilled meat rolls in the city, so don’t forget to check this place out!

Grilled Snakehead Fish (Ca Loc Nuong Trui)

ca-loc-nuong-trui
Photo: Instagram @mylanhuong171

Many tourists and locals who have tried grilled snakehead fish in Can Tho cannot forget the flavors of this folk dish. The fresh fish is washed and skewered on a long stick, then, it’s placed in a pile of straw and fired until the straw turns to ash. If the fish is too big, the cook will pour water into the mouth of the fish. This ensures that the inside of the fish cooks once the water boils. Finally, the cook will razor the fin to reveal the white meat.

To eat it, you will wrap grilled snakehead fish in rice paper, fresh herbs, a slice of pineapple, star-fruit, cucumber, and vermicelli together with scallion oil and peanuts on top. Lastly, dip it into fish sauce (nuoc mam) or mam nem. Take a big bite and chew slowly to feel the smoky and pleasant taste in your mouth.

That’s enough for the introduction, now let’s head to Ca Loc An to nibble on this flavorful dish!

Small Fried Shrimp Pancake (Banh Cong)

banh-cong
Photo: dacsanthonque.com

You may know banh xeo or banh khot, but have you ever heard about banh cong? I believe you have not because this is the local’s secret! Banh cong is the all-time favorite snack of the people in Can Tho city, from students and salarymen to couples and middle-aged parents. After mixing the fragrant flour with ground green beans, cooked minced meat, and fresh shrimp into the mold, this combination is deep-fried for around ten minutes. After that, the pancakes are picked out to drain the oil, and there you go the hottest, crispiest, and yummiest snack in the Mekong Delta.

This pancake goes best with veggies such as lettuce, mint, cinnamon, and of course, sweet fish sauce with pickles! Believe me, try this delicacy at Banh Cong Co Ut and you will never think about coming back home.

Where to Stay in Can Tho

Azerai Can Tho Resort 

azerai-can-tho
Photo: Azerai Hotels

Do you love the idea of staying on your own island? If you do, Azerai Can Tho Resort is the place to go! This picturesque resort is located on Con Hau Islet, which takes you ten minutes traveling by boat from Ninh Kieu harbor. There are 60 rooms separated into three types: lake room, garden room, and river room. Each room is beautifully designed, fully equipped, and has a peaceful atmosphere. On top of that, the resort also has a gym, tennis court, spa, two restaurants, and a dock. Come to Azerai Can Tho Resort and complete your romantic diary in the Mekong Delta!

MORE INFORMATION
Address: Con Au Islet, Hung Phu, Cai Rang Ward, Can Tho City
Google Maps location: Azerai Can Tho Resort
Phone: +84 292 3627888
Website: Azerai Can Tho Resort Webpage
Booking link: Azerai Can Tho Resort
Price range: 5,948,000 VND – 8,235,000 VND (from 256 USD to 355 USD)

Holiday One Can Tho

Holiday One Hotel impresses their guests with well-maintained rooms, friendly staff, and a rooftop pool. Each spacious room has a modern interior with a cozy bed, an air-conditioner, a television, and a cozy lighting system. More importantly, there are bathtubs in every room so you can easily throw a bath bomb in and immerse yourself in fantasy. People say that their crab noodles (bun rieu cua) are not to be missed, so don’t forget to try this at your free breakfast.

holiday-one-can-tho
Photo: Holiday One Can Tho

MORE INFORMATION
Address: 59 – 65 Pham Ngoc Thach, Cai Khe Ward, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City
Google Maps location: Holiday One Hotel
Phone: 0292 3827 779
Website: Holiday One Can Tho Webpage
Booking link: Holiday One Hotel
Price range: (793,000 VND – 3,735,000 VND) from 34 USD to 161 USD

Max Hotel

Away from the busy city center, Max Hotel offers you great service with a peaceful ambience. Their delightful deluxe and dorm rooms are remarkable which includes a touch of wood and the elegant white color to create a pleasant atmosphere. If you are a solo traveler, you can visit the common area to talk to the staff, make friends with other fellow travelers, or read some books on the shelf. The hotel also allows you to use their bicycles for free, and if you want to rent a motorbike, just simply inform the receptionist.

where to stay in can tho hotels
Photo: Facebook @Mis Hotel Can Tho

MORE INFORMATION
Address: C29-C30 No. 27 Street, Hung Phu Residential Area, Cai Rang District, Can Tho City
Google Maps location: Max Hotel (formerly Mis Hotel)
Phone: 093 893 63 26
Booking link: Max Hotel
Price range: 150,000 VND – 1,550,000 VND (from 12 USD to 67 USD)

Nightlife 

If you have a chance to stay overnight in Can Tho, don’t forget to spend a couple hours visiting the famous Ninh Kieu night market. Located next to Ninh Kieu Pier, Ninh Kieu night market is the oldest market in Can Tho, which was built in 1915. This market is said to be the most beautiful in the Mekong Delta.

can tho nightlife
Photo: Instagram @joide_de_vivre

Every day around 4 PM, the sellers will start to open their businesses and get ready to greet guests from around the world. The goods sold here are quite varied. From clothing, accessories to handicraft products and fruits, you will find everything you need. There are also carts selling many different kinds of street food such as fried quail egg cake, mango salad, and grilled fish.

bars in can tho
Photo: Instagram @joide_de_vivre

Come and visit this market for cheap yet delicious food while you enjoy the atmosphere of Can Tho by night.

MORE INFORMATION
Address: Hai Ba Trung Street, Tan An, Ninh Kieu, Can Tho
Opening hour: 5 PM – 10:30 PM

Bars & Pub

Holiday One Sky Bar
Address: 59 – 65 Pham Ngoc Thach, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City
Google Maps location: Holiday One Sky Bar (on the 15th floor of Holiday One hotel)
Opening hours: 6 PM – 11:30 PM
Price range: 50,000 VND – 150,000 VND (2.3 USD – 6.5 USD)

Gemini Pub
Address: 34 Bis Le Loi, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City
Google Maps location: Gemini Pub
Opening hours: 6 AM – 2:30 AM
Price range: 100,000 VND – 300,000 VND (4.3 USD – 12.9 USD)

Iris Sky Bar
Address: 224 30 Thang 4, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City
Google Maps location: Iris Sky Bar (on the rooftop of Iris Hotel)
Opening hours: 5 PM – 12 AM
Price range: 100,000 VND – 300,000 VND (4.3 USD – 12.9 USD)

Pro tips:

  • Bring your hat, sunglasses, and sunblock
  • If you plan to spend a night in ecotourism areas, bring mosquito repellent cream
  • When visiting the floating market or doing any river tours, choose reputable providers and boats equipped with life buoys and jackets. Safety is a priority!
  • Can Tho is magnificent itself, but if you have enough time, don’t forget to put other Mekong Delta places onto your bucket list such as An Giang, Dong Thap, and Ca Mau

Hopefully, the above tips will help you to come up with a great plan for your adventure in Can Tho City. Have a safe trip!

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If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do, and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at The Christina’s Blog!

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