3-Day Mekong Delta Itinerary for Backpackers

You want to get the freshest air and take a break from hard working, right? The 3-day Mekong Delta itinerary for backpackers offers you a delicate mixture of adventurous speedboat trip through all of the waterways of the region. It’s a perfect option for those who desire to discover the delta or experience the true life of local people. It’s time to do it now, for a memorable trip on your holiday!

What to look for on day 1

The first destination from Ho Chi Minh City is My Tho, sitting on the greatest Mekong River and basically the home to Vietnam’s most exotic floating markets.


In My Tho, do not ever miss a visit at Vinh Trang pagoda with free entrance! This temple is wonderful with a spacious and clean space, not to mention its giant and beautiful Buddha statues. Just different from Thailand or Cambodia, here you’ve got to see different images of the Buddha and a real Chinese influence, which is worth visiting overally!


Along with that, it’s highly recommended to take a boat ride along the river, which is a great chance to contemplate many stilt houses, plantations and other fishing villages out there.


After that, head for Tortoise islet (about 22km of water way from Ben Tre City Center) which is one of the prettiest islands around My Tho, and staying here brings you a chance to make coconut candies over the open fire. They also include the banana nut wine with some great souvenirs, so if you’ve never tried it before, let’s do it now.

Relaxing on a rowing sampan is an interesting activity in the Mekong Delta.

Next, you can choose to go by a rowing boat and then move in the canal to a less touristy attraction in Ben Tre, An Khanh. This is where everyone can have fun cruising on a sampan under the shade of water coconut trees along the canals. Or you can choose to eat season fruits and drink honey tea while enjoying the beautiful sound of the “Southern Vietnamese folk music”.


Have lunch before getting back to the pier. From here, let’s drive to Can Tho town. You’ll have dinner and spend overnight at the hotel in Can Tho. So checking in the hotel is only the first option, and the second option for you is to spend a night in a homestay.


If you still have free time, go ahead to visit the bustling Can Tho market or explore the whole city on your own at night.

Most common things to do on Day 2


To make the most of your journey, it’s best to find a motor boat to reach a small village in an urban District of Can Tho – Cai Rang. This is where you’re allowed to check into the riverside cottage and join various activities to experience the rural lifestyle of the Mekong delta.


Some interesting activities not to miss here are cycling and trekking around the rural village. Or maybe some of you would love to cook dinner by yourself and enjoy it together with the local host.


Wait until the early morning, when you go by a boat trip to Cai Rang floating market. It usually takes 6km away from Can Tho City Center and 30 minutes away from Ninh Kieu Wharf by boat. So is it any different from other floating markets in the delta? Well, Cai Rang used to be created to satisfy every trading need of the locals while its traffic system remained in its infancy. But what makes us excited about it is that it has been existed for more than 100 years.

Cai Rang Floating Market - a cultural feature in the Mekong Delta.

It’s a wholesale market selling fruits and vegetable, and the main trading place of the Mekong Delta where locals come to sell and buy a wide range of products.


Aside from these commodities, this place is quite famous for offering the reasonably-priced fruits, which are all harvested from the farm. They’re often milk fruit, durian, grapefruit, mangosteen, and more. Simply visit here and worry nothing about what to bring back home.


However, according to some couples, if they only want a smaller and quieter market, then head to Phong Dien floating market. This could be further away, which maybe causes your whole journey to be longer. After taking a break for lunch, you can wander around the village and meet the friendly locals here, or simply experience how a Vietnamese goes across a “monkey bridge” which is built just by one piece of bamboo.


In the afternoon, feel free to move down to Tra Nien Canal in proximity to Phong Dien Floating Market to visit the orchards since the delta is definitely the place for that. A lot of orchards are open for visitors, so you just need to get an entrance ticket to try the feast as much as you want.


Spend overnight for rest and get ready to reach Chau Doc to keep your tour moving!

Mekong Delta Highlights on Day 3

Wait for the early morning to come, you will keep heading only 30 km Southwest of Chau Doc, you’ll see an abundant ecosystem of cajuput trees lining all dusty paths, the enchanted forest of Tra Su. It’s a big home to 140 types of flora, 11 bird species, 11 kinds of animals, 25 reptile species, and 23 types of fish.


Visit melaleuca forest in the seasonal flooding (July - December 11), which is the most suitable time for you to view the spectacular forests of the green ultramarine. This is naturally dotted by a lot of flower cork, and the fish swimming around under the sun. The beams of light do not stop dancing beautifully on the water surfaces.

Tra Su Forest in the Mekong Delta looks enchanting in the sun.


During the tour to visit the forest, you’ll be able to stop at the wild birds Sanctuary where it’s best to cruise peacefully on small boats, watch the storks, and other tropical birds deep into the forest. Right on your way back, let’s visit Sam Mountain and the Cave Pagoda.


Take a rowing boat to go across the floating village and stop by their fish farms to see how they raise fish right in their floating houses. Head to Cham Minority villages after that. As you know, most Cham villages own the mosque superficial and pretty sparkling in the sunlight or sunset. The houses there feature a style of unique architecture with pretty patterns. And you also see many young little girls who sit there to spin and weave the brocade for a few moments. Cham women have the best look as they wear traditional local clothes. Feel free to wear them if you want to take some great pictures.


Arriving at Cham villages, you can enjoy a special dish called beef sausage or ‘tung lo mo’ for lunch. Such a shredded beef is one of the most popular dishes that are made of the most delicious beef (thigh and lean beef taken from bone). It’s also minced together with the fat of beef and then mixed with some pepper, garlic, sugar, and a few more secretive spices. If not, try “bun ca” (rice vermicelli with fish), a not-to-miss specialty in this area.


In the evening, walk around Chau Doc market right near the center of the town. Here, you’ll find a lot of fruits and veggies sold at food vendors, representing the true life of people in the Mekong Delta.