The Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam is a vast maze of rivers, mangrove forests, and islands. Vividly portrayed in both war movies and guide books, the region is home to floating markets, Khmer pagodas, and villages surrounded by rice paddies. Explore the complex history, diverse landscapes, and tribal traditions of the enchanting water communities, followed by time at leisure on the palm-fringed beaches of Phu Quoc.
Ho Chi Minh City Arrival
Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh, meet our representative and transfer to your hotel.
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the largest city in Vietnam. It was once known as Prey Nokor, an important Khmer sea port prior to annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. It's also known for its French colonial landmarks, including Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the pivotal role it played in the Vietnam War. Food stalls line the city’s streets, especially around bustling Bến Thành Market. Overnight.
Ho Chi Minh City / Cu Chi
After breakfast, enjoy a tour of Cu Chi. Cu Chi is not only a peaceful countryside but also an iconic and heroic land. Its system of underground tunnels is the best proof of local people's resilience and intelligence that helped to win so many combats. You will drive 70 km southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, passing through picturesque rice fields, gardens, and rubber plantations.
Upon arrival in Cu Chi, and after a short introduction to the tunnel network of more than 200 km, you will have a chance to crawl into a short section of the tunnels to feel the oppressive narrowness and heat inside. Documentaries and displays of bloody traps will give you a vivid idea of the life and struggle in the tunnels. Lunch at local restaurant and then return to the city.
In the afternoon, tour the highlights of the city. Start with the Reunification Palace. Surrounded by royal palm trees, the dissonant 1960s architecture of this government building and the eerie mood that accompanies a walk through its deserted halls make it an intriguing spectacle. The first Communist tanks to arrive in Saigon rumbled here on 30 April 1975. The building is deeply associated with the fall of the city in 1975, yet it's the kitsch detailing and period motifs that steal the show. You will also visit the Jade Pagoda and make a photo stop at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure and overnight.
Ho Chi Minh City - Cai Be
In the morning, drive to Cai Be (2 hours) and embark on a private boat cruise. You will visit Cai Be Floating Market and observe locals selling, buying, and exchanging goods from their boats. Continue to a local home and garden to see orchards and the rice crisped producing process.
After lunch, cruise along the river and experience the tranquil life of villagers and the beautiful natural setting of the Mekong Delta region. Around 3 pm, the boat will arrive at Vinh Long Market; walk around and sample the sweets and savories before returning to Cai Be. Overnight.
ST's Hotel Recommendation
Mekong Lodge Cai Be
Nestled along the bank of Tien River, Mekong Lodge is a charming eco-resort where design, comfort, and nature are blended seamlessly together. The lodge features 26 private bungalows (12 with pools), meticulously built to embody the local style of a rural garden cottage surrounded by flowers and fruit trees.
Cai Be - Can Tho
In the morning, transfer to Can Tho for your overnight cruise. Board your traditional and comfortable teak vessel with a welcome drink. As lunch is served, the boat starts cruising and you can observe the scenery and daily lie of the Mekong people.
In the afternoon, disembark for a guided leisurely stroll through a village and the surrounding fruit orchards and rice fields. We invite you to sample the local produce! Return to the boat and enjoy a drink at the bar as the sun sets over the landscapes of the Mekong River. Overnight.
Can Tho - Chau Doc
Wake up well rested to the sounds of the river. During breakfast, watch the locals dry exotic fruits and build ships on the wooden yards.
After breakfast, board a sampan boat to Cai Rang floating market, considered the busiest and most lively marketplace on the Delta. You will dock alongside boats for conversation and bargaining with the merchants. You will also visit the local candy and cake factories or boat through the green water landscapes.
Note: The floating markets in the Mekong Delta are wholesale markets where produce is traded. For this reason, the number of boats fluctuate depending on harvesting season and market demand. Additionally, modern wholesale markets are becoming more popular in Vietnam and this can result in a decreasing number of boats present.
Depart by road from Can Tho to Chau Doc (3 hours), located at the border of Vietnam and Cambodia on the banks of the Bassac River. Time at leisure to enjoy the cultural diversity of Chau Doc, with its mixture of mosques, temples and churches. Overnight.
Chau Doc / Tra Su
In the morning, visit the Tra Su Forest. The sanctuary houses a variety of colourful native birds and wildlife, including birds that can walk on water. Because of their low body weight, they do not fall through the densely grown floating habitats.
The locals in the area built their houses with bamboo canes and fastened the roofs in trees. During the Vietnam War, the Tra Su Forest Cajuput was a base of revolutionaries. From an elevated observation deck, you have a beautiful view of the mountains, expanses of mangrove forests, and wildlife.
Return to Chau Doc and overnight.
Tra Su - Hatien - Phu Quoc
In the morning, drive to Hatien for the ferry to Phu Quoc. Fringed with white-sand beaches and with large tracts still cloaked in dense tropical jungle, Phu Quoc has rapidly morphed from a sleepy island backwater to a must-visit beach escape. Dive the reefs, kayak in the bays, explore the narrow roads by motorbike or just lounge on the beach followed by a massage and a fresh seafood dinner. At leisure and overnight.
In the morning, enjoy a full day tour of the island. Sites include Sim wine factory, Coconut Prison, a fish sauce factory, Sao Beach, Ham Ninh Fishing Village, Tranh Stream Waterfall, a pepper farm, bee farm, pearl farm, and Cape Ganh Dau. Evening at leisure and overnight.
Day at leisure and overnight.
Today, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Bon Voyage!
9 nights of hotel accommodations
Overnight river cruise including meals and experiences
Private air-conditioned vehicle with driver for touring and transport
Comprehensive touring as listed in the itinerary, including a private English-speaking guide and entrance fees to the monuments
Visits to floating markets
Private airport transfers with representative
Road/Interstate taxes, fuel surcharges, and parking fees