Saigon River Express offers VIP speedboat tours to the Cu Chi Tunnels - the Mekong Delta - and jungle canal tours around Saigon. This is the service that was recommended as part of "Three Perfect Days: Saigon" in United Airlines inflight magazine and has been recommended in many other international publications. With a fleet of brand new speedboats and providing five star service - Saigon River express offers the most exciting way to see the best attractions around Ho Chi Minh City. Even a sunset tour around Saigon involves exploring narrow jungle canals with a village made of bamboo and thatch as well as visiting a spectacular floating Temple. This is definitely a must for any visitor to Saigon. http://www.saigonriverexpress.com
June 2010: We had only 2 full days in Ho Chi Minh, so my two major destinations were the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta. So, I booked both tours (on separate days) through Expedia.com on-line. There are "private tours" available for twice the price, but I just settled for the group tour which was just about $70 if I remember right...(Urban Adventures)
But it was a great 8-10 hour tour and we were just picked up from our hotel by a van - and there were only 6 tourists in our group. So, it was a pretty small-size manageable group - and having great people from England and Australia with us was a plus!
My image of the Mekong Delta is that of a water city with boats, houses and water markets, and it was as I imagined it and more. It is considered the “rice bowl” of Vietnam due to the many rice paddies, but surprisingly, I was not brought to those paddies. Instead, we went to explore islands in the huge river itself, I remember 4 of them ( Tortoise, Phoenix, Dragon and Unicorn) and then going to Ben Tre to eat fresh Elephant Ear fish after going through the river canals in tiny fishing boats. We also went to see how coconut candy was made, Vietnamese coffee and all the travelling being done through boats and teenie motorized carts, hahaha (through little roads in between dense coconut/banana forests...)
Most tourists will be brought to the gateway city for the Mekong Delta – MY THO. My Tho was founded a long time ago (1680’s) first by Chinese refugees…but now the place is teeming with tourism and the center sells a lot of Mekong Delta souvenirs.
One day is all we had to explore the Mekong Delta and admittedly, this is not enough. We did not see the Khmer pagodas in Tra Vinh or the beaches at Phu Quoc Island. But overall, it is worth to go to Mekong Delta for a day to understand what life at the Delta is all about.
I went on a day-tour of the Mekong Delta with the Sinh Cafe whose offices are in the Pham Ngu Lao backpackers area of Ho Chi Minh City and it cost me 238,000 VND. We set off out of the city, south along a new toll road past rice paddy fields and got to a town called Cai Be at about 11am. We then transferred to a boat and went past what was meant to be a floating market but was just a few houseboats selling semolina root and nothing else. We then called in to a place where they make rice & coconut crisps and snacks and rice paper. We sampled what was on offer and I bought some rice crispy snack things which were very nice. We then crossed the huge and wide Mekong River, which looked more like a lake, to an island where we transferred onto narrow longboats and wore the Vietnamese conical hats. We had lunch on the island before heading to Vinh Long by boat and then back to Saigon by bus. I have to say that it wasn't the best of day trips I've ever done but it was a fairly cheap and hassle free way of seeing the Mekong Delta.
It was a nice one day trip to the Delta. Most of it was so serene and quiet in amongst the lush tropical forest. I should have spent more than just one day there but my flight left the next morning :(
This is a long day tour.
You do not see many rice paddies, as housing stretches a long way out.
On arrival at Cai Be, a boat takes you to see the floating markets, this is why I did this tour. You arrive there so late, that it is all over, you don't see anything happening, what a disappointment!
If you want to see the markets in full swing, then I suggest an overnight stay, so you can be there early morning
We stepped ashore, and saw them making rice paper and coconut lollies, and the usual shop selling souvenirs.
Back on the boat, and across the Mekong river and up canals for our lunch on an island.
After lunch, at 2pm, we headed of again, this time being rowed in a local boat. It was very hot. A change of boats to a motorized one, across the river to our bus and back to Ho Chi Minh with a comfort stop at a nice garden.
The cost of this tour was $12, and it was a long day.
It was with Rainbow Adventure again, an excellent tour guide, and a bus with nice clean windows.
1. 2-hr drive from Ho Chi Minh City
2. Enjoy a Mekong River cruise to Unicorn Island
3. Coconut candy workshop
4. Ride on a hand-rowed sampan through small inlets under green canopy of water-coconut trees
5. Enjoy seasonal fruit, honey tea and performance by the locals
Get your Visa in advance. make sure you have your travel dates correct on the application!
I went on a Mekong Delta day trip with Sinh Cafe. No need to book ahead, but go to their office the first day you get there and browse their trips - also you can check out the number of other tour offices along that street, they all offer similar trips. Get there early on the morning you leave on one of the trips. the sidewalks literaly fill up with people jumping on buses, make sure you get the right bus!!
There are 1 day, 2-day or 3-day trips to Mekong Delta organized by tour operators in Saigon. If you have limited time, a one-day trip will give you some idea but it will never be enough to explore this region. One day tours also have different options such as some visit Cai Be and Vinh Long while some other visit My Tho and Ben Tre. The local people of Mekong Delta earn their living from fish, fruits, rice, honey and tourism. The tours made this region very commercialized and every stop you make during the tour is to sell something to you. However, going through the small canals shaded with green plantation on rowing boats and riding bicycle around a local village gives you enough chance to get away from this commercialized feeling. Daily tour prices range between 10-14 USD while longer tours costs rise due to your accomodation options. It is a good get away from busy city life where you relax in nature.
We rode a boat to Mekong Delta.. it was pretty hot that time so most of my relatives were wearing hats, which they bought just before our boat ride. The island had a lot of souvenir shops in it. We spent a couple of minutes tasting the tea with honey and calamansi (which by the way was so yummy). They were also selling Royal Jelly. It was said to give wonders to your skin:D
On the way back to our motorboat, we were asked to ride a canoe. It's similar to the ones from my country but this time, the person rowing the canoe was standing up at one end wearing a cute vietnamese hat. It was such a great experience since the view was perfect:D
You only need ONE day on the Mekong Delta. Everything looks the same. Don't get me wrong, it was a great trip and enlightening but one day is fine. Went through Sinh Cafe to get tickets. I think they are about $25 for the day. Not a bad price for transportation there, a guide, transportation on the boat and lunch. We met some very interesting people on this trip so that in itself was an added bonus.
If you come from South East Asia, I would not recommend the Mekong Delta tour which brings tourists to see the usual floating markets, rice paper making , coconut candy making "factories". The places that they bring you are specially created for tourists, so it is hardly an authentic experience. I was espeically disappointed by the floating market because by the time we arrived, there was nothing except a few barges with watermelons. The river itself is not particularly pretty and in fact quite muddy looking which cannot be blamed on anyone as that is what one would expect from a delta anyway. Not to mention that it can get quite hot. It is just not worth the time as the trip takes the whole day and you would probably get a more by walking aroung Chinatown
I would say that almost 99% of the people I know who comes to Saigon makes a trip to the Mekong Delta. I did mine with Sinf Cafe and did not regret it a single bit. Will be good if your tour guide does a little history explanation of Mekong Delta and its uses during the war.
There are loads around Saigon which offers different prices and routes. Just make sure you do some comparing before you hop on to one.
I think two days for Mekong, haft day for Cuchi and the rest for exploring Saigon is a good plan
Why should you see 2 days Mekong? Then you can see the real Mekong with its maze of canels and a very amazing floating market. This is different from Thailand's that only for tourists, this is only for the local and you will see their life on the river
Flying from HCM to SiemReap is not a problem, you can book at the Vietnam airlines at 114 Nguyen Hue St. If it is full you can have another option: by Bus. There is a bus run by Mailinh company and you can ask that at the crossroad of Hai Ba Trung st and Nguyen Sieu St that nearby your tourism place
Went by bus to My Tho where you board a sampan which takes you to the island of Ben Tre. Here we went for a stroll through orchards. Our guide talked on bee keeping, then we were able to have our photo taken with the bees. There was also a python which we could have our photo taken with (included in tour price) For the adventerous, you could try some snake wine! We had morning tea of green tea, tried the honey and some sweets they made, they were yummy. Another stroll, a stop to hear traditional folk music being played and to try the different types of tropical fruit grown on the island. On a wooden boat for a short cruise through the palms to another island. Here we saw the production of coconut, from the start to the finished product. We got to sample some coconut lolly. We had lunch at a resort here (included in price) then had free time, bikes were available to ride (free) or a hammock to relax in. On another boat, then back to the port. Lots of different boats and ferries on the Mekong River. This tour cost $9us with Rainbow adventure tours. It was well run.
Well we'd heard so much about it from all your wonderful tips here on vt, that we just simply had to visit. Straight from the cruise, we hired a taxi for the day (only $40US), jumped in and headed off for the hilight of our cruise.....a trip to the Mekong Delta!!
A lot of people did the bus day trip to the Mekong and paid heaps more, but we got a real bargain and got to see 3 islands with 3 modes of transport and didn't have to travel so far to experience the same thing.
Only about an hour and half down the road our taxi arrived at Tien Gaing for a boat ride to our first island in the Ben Tre Province.