Get ready for a nine-day adventure in southern Vietnam, a region with its own culture, history, and identity. You'll discover all the highlights, starting in the famous Mekong Delta with visits to floating markets, traditional villages, and rides down tranquil canals lined with green palms. Then enjoy some relaxing downtime on Phu Quoc, a tropical island boasting some of the best beaches and snorkeling/dive sites in the country.
- Cycle along rice paddies and villages in southern Vietnam
- Visit coconut farms and floating markets on the Me Kong River
- Ride a sampan along the waterways of the Mekong Delta
- Go swimming and snorkeling on tropical Phu Quoc
|Day 1||Arrive in Vietnam, Transfer to Mekong Delta & Vinh Long||Vinh Long|
|Day 2||Coconut & Rice Workshops, Sampan Ride||Vinh Long|
|Day 3||Transfer to Can Tho||Can Tho|
|Day 4||Visit Cai Rang Floating Market, City Tour||Can Tho|
|Day 5||Transfer to Phu Quoc||Phu Quoc|
|Days 6-8||Phu Quoc Free Days||Phu Quoc|
|Day 9||Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Vietnam, Transfer to Mekong Delta & Vinh LongWelcome to Vietnam! You'll arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest metropolis in the nation. Known as Saigon before the end of the American War, today there is no longer a distinction between south and north. Still, southern Vietnam is unique from the rest of Vietnam. Case in point: the Mekong Delta. Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up for the two-hour ride southwest to Vinh Long, a regional capital located in the heart of the delta on the Co Chien River. When you arrive, a travel representative will lead you down a county path to the river lodge where a refreshing welcome drink awaits.
After checking in to the lodge, you'll head right back out and stretch your legs on a cycling trip around the stunning delta countryside. On this brisk excursion, you'll pass flourishing rice paddies, local farms, and traditional villages. The region is also known for its fruit orchards, which you'll see as you pass by rows of orange groves. You'll even get to sample some of the exotic produce here, which includes dragonfruit, mangoes, star apples, and more. Later in the afternoon, stop to enjoy the sunset over the delta before cycling back to the lodge.
For a bit of perspective and culture, you'll then stop in at a neighbor's home to chat with the host family, who fought during the American War. After listening to stories and some traditional Vietnamese music, you'll walk the short way back to the lodge. If you like, before dinner you can participate in a cooking class during which you'll learn to make traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Afterward, dinner will be served in the lodge's restaurant.
Day 2: Coconut & Rice Workshops, Sampan RideAfter breakfast on the waterfront, you'll head out to see firsthand the central role coconut farming plays in the economy of the region. The riverbanks here are lined with coconut-processing factories, and on a tour, you'll see the myriad ways these trees and their fruit are used. One example is coconut rugs. Once the coconut has been shelled, the fibers are removed from the husk and used to make rope, which is then woven into rugs. You'll even get to see this process in action. Following the coconut tour, you'll return to the lodge for lunch.
Spend some time relaxing, then meet your guide for a hike down country paths to the home of Mr. Cong, who is renowned for the delicious "pop rice" he makes. As the "rice bowl of Vietnam," the Mekong Delta region produces much of this crop, and one of many ways it's utilized is in this tasty puffed rice snack. Mr. Cong will demonstrate the traditional methods he uses to make this dietary staple, and of course, you'll get to taste some yourself. Your guide will also show you how locals raise animals and convert agricultural waste to renewable energy used in sustainable cooking.
Later in the afternoon, you'll board a sampan (flat-bottomed boat) for a leisurely ride down the canals to a village where you'll visit another local home. Here, you'll participate in an informal workshop as you watch your host skillfully prepares traditional Vietnamese pancakes. Afterward, you'll return to the lodge and dinner will be served in the evening.
Plan your trip to Vietnam
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Transfer to Can ThoTake the morning to enjoy one last breakfast at your lodge. Feel free to stroll around the garden, chat with locals, do some fishing, or even harvest coconut leaves to help out with the local industry. Locals will happily show you the many uses of these plants, which range from roofing homes to making torches.
At the appropriate time, your driver will pick you up for the one-hour ride south to Can Tho. This city on the banks of the Hau River is famous for its floating markets, during which hundreds of boats and junks of all sizes ply the waters selling fresh fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products. Upon arrival here, you'll check in to your hotel and will have the rest of the day free.
Day 4: Visit Cai Rang Floating Market, City TourLeave around 7:30 on a boat ride to visit the Cai Rang Floating Market, which is one of the largest and liveliest in the region. While it's open all day, it's best to get an early start as the market is busiest before 9 am. During these hours, your guide will lead you through the throng of tiny wooden boats piled high with flowers, coconuts, and fresh produce. You'll also learn how to barter with traders as you mingle with locals and experience the infectious energy of market life. Later, you'll have breakfast on the waterfront during which you can try hu tieu (a pork noodle dish).
After lunch, you'll take a guided tour of Can Tho. This place is unusual in that, despite being the biggest city in the region, it retains a traditional culture and country vibe. This is evident in its floating markets, but you'll also visit other city highlights and landmarks. These include Ninh Kieu Wharf, a waterfront tourist center; the Can Tho Museum, which houses more than 5,000 historic artifacts; Ong Pagoda, a temple dating back over 100 years; and Binh Thuy Ancient House, one of the last French-colonial houses in Can Tho. Later in the evening, you can visit one of the city's exciting night markets.
Day 5: Transfer to Phu QuocToday you'll trade river living for island life. In the morning, a driver will pick you up for the three-hour ride north back to Ho Chi Minh City and the airport. Then you'll catch a one-hour flight to the island of Phu Quoc, located off the southwestern coast of Vietnam. Regarded as having some of Vietnam's best beaches (especially on the west side), this is the place to come for watersports, snorkeling, and generally getting away from it all. Upon arrival at the airport, you'll transfer to your beachfront resort hotel and will have the rest of the day free.
Days 6-8: Phu Quoc Free DaysYou'll have the next couple of days free to put your feet up, relax, and soak in the sun. For snorkeling or diving, you can head to some great beaches and islets surrounded by coral reefs. Boat tours will take you to great dive spots at Gham Gi, Buom, and May Rut Trong islands. Good snorkeling beaches include Dai, Ong Lang, Cua Can, and others. While conditions are good throughout the year, the best time for snorkeling/diving is November-April when the waters are most calm.
For a nature adventure, take a hike on one of the trails in the famous Phu Quoc National Park. Located in the northeast of the island, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve protects more than 79,000 acres (32,000 ha) of evergreen forest and coral reefs. It's home to 470 plant species and 48 types of mammals including silvered langurs, macaques, otters, and fruit bats. Of course, other popular ways to spend your time in Phu Quoc are simply relaxing on the beach, enjoying fresh seafood, and marveling at those golden sunsets.
Day 9: Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City & DepartUnfortunately, your grand adventure in southern Vietnam has come to an end. In the morning, you'll transfer to the airport for the one-hour flight from Phu Quoc to Ho Chi Minh City, where you'll catch your connecting flight home. Safe travels!
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