The Mekong Delta forms the far southern region of Vietnam and is the rice bowl of the country. This is the massive area where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a dizzying network of tributaries, highlighted by lush orchards overflowing with tropical fruit, low-lying paddies, dense mangroves and palms, floating markets and villages built on stilts, offering a magical and leisurely Mekong River honeymoon. Whether you explore on your own or take a luxury cruise – Mekong Delta will enchant you.
The epicenter of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho is the largest city in the region and feels like a metropolis after a few days of exploring the backwaters. As the political, economic, cultural, and transportation center of the Mekong Delta, it’s a vibrant town with a buzzy waterfront lined with manicured gardens and a pleasing mix of narrow back streets and wide boulevards.
Can Tho is the perfect base for visiting the nearby floating markets, the biggest of which is Cai Rang. The market can be seen from the road but getting here is far more interesting by boat, a journey that takes about 45 minutes from the market area in Can Tho. There’s a bridge here that serves as a great spot for taking photographs. The market is best around 6am – 7am. This is a wholesale market, so look at what’s tied to the long pole above each of the boats to ascertain what they’re selling.
If you’d like to visit a more intimate floating market, Phong Dien has more stand-up rowing boats than motorized craft, with local vendors shopping and exchanging gossip. This market is 12 miles southwest of Can Tho and you can get there by road, or sign up for a six-hour combined Cai Rang–Phong Dien tour, returning to Can Tho through quiet backwaters.
Capped with terracotta tiles edged with ceramic decorations, this atmospheric French-era market building sits at the center of Can Tho’s lovely riverfront tourist district. Here you’ll find upmarket, tourist-orientated stalls selling lacquerware, clothes, cushion covers, and more.
Characterized by a series of soaring thatched roofs, this is the most sophisticated Vietnamese dining experience in Can Tho, set on a private headland jutting into the river. Dishes focus on fresh fish and seafood, but the menu is extensive and includes a good vegetarian selection.
With a mere seven suites in a colonial-era building, this gorgeous riverfront hotel revels in traditional presentation and contemporary elegance. The Nam Bo suite is the loveliest, perfect for honeymooners, or you could choose corner suite No 8, which has epic views across to the riverfront. There are excellent restaurants at both the ground level – Nam Bo – and the rooftop – L’Escale. With its tantalizing river views and subdued romantic lighting, this is definitely the place to canoodle with your lover over a sunset cocktail and beautifully presented dishes.
Set on a private island in the middle of the Hau River, Azerai offers the Mekong Delta’s most luxurious lodgings. Rooms are set in stunning contemporary pavilions, many looking out on the river, complete with a designer touch. There’s an idyllic lotus pond and some iconic banyan trees on the grounds – both favorite places to pose for some memorable honeymoon portraits. You will arrive by private boat from a welcome lounge near the Victoria Can Tho Resort, and the boat runs 24 hours on-demand for guests.
Ho Chi Minh City, still unofficially using the former name of Saigon, is Vietnam at its most exciting. A chaotic whirl of commerce and culture, the city breathes life and vitality and has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy. Here you can wander through timeless alleys to incense-infused temples before shopping in chic designer malls beneath glossy 21st-century skyscrapers. Find food from all over the world while exploring some fine dining options or find your favorite snack at street food stalls. Visit fine-art galleries or explore China town’s traditional medicine shops. Things to do in Saigon are endless.
Choose between an Asian, Western, or vegetarian set menu, which focuses on texture, aroma, and flavor to give your palate a wonderful experience while you spend your time in the pitch-black dining room trying to figure out what the ingredients actually are. This is surprisingly difficult because deprived of your dominant sense, you must rely on your other senses to steer you through this stimulating challenge. Dishes are revealed in the lounge after you’ve finished.
This stylish and colorful cafe is the home base for the artisan chocolate producer, Marou. Watch the skilled team tempering and molding chocolate crafted from local fair-trade cacao, and enjoy drinks and snacks, which also incorporate top-quality ingredients.
Eat as the locals do in Ho Chi Minh City on a walking tour with an in-the-know guide. Vietnamese street food is known worldwide for a good reason! There are many food tour options − some of which can even be done by bicycle, cyclo (rickshaw), or a vintage Vespa− so pick the one that entices you the most. Sample culinary delights that have made Southern Vietnamese cuisine famous, from ‘banh mi’ sandwiches to popular rice dishes — enough for dinner and dessert. Taste Saigonese coffee, beer, and street food from local vendors as you explore markets and cafés while the sun goes down.
Vinh Long is the capital of Vinh Long province and is situated about midway between My Tho and Can Tho. This is a major transit hub and a gateway to rural life, Cai Be floating market, and abundant orchards. Also, explore the magical Khmer pagodas and see the tallest stupa in Vietnam. You are not far from Sa Dec – a place you might know from the famous novel “The Lover”. You should visit the house described in the book!
Experience local life first-hand by bicycle, either independently or as part of a tour as you visit the famous floating markets of this region and enjoy the exotic landscapes and vegetation. See the locals go about their lives or sleep in the hammocks, stop by at the local home-based grocery store for a soda and receive dozens of smiles from the kids around you.
Fringed with white-sand beaches and with large tracts still cloaked in a dense tropical jungle, Phu Quoc offers a deliciously romantic honeymoon experience with direct flight connections to and from Ho Chi Minh City. Here you can enjoy ultimate privacy in the most peaceful natural setting imaginable and pretend like you’re the only two people on Earth.
Modern and elegant with a charming fairytale-like feel, this retro-themed hotel features bright candy-colored facades and a French colonial architectural style. A fictitious former 19th-century French university campus, the resort has been reimagined as an eclectically themed, lavish beachfront playground. A characterful spa facility has a mischievous Alice in Wonderland theme and there is also a small but well-equipped gym, three large outdoor pools, and free classes such as the Vietnamese coffee-making class.
The hotel’s 244 rooms each feature a private balcony and beautiful interiors with European-style furnishings and Asian touches with four-poster beds. Restaurants include the open-air beachside Red Rum showcasing fresh local seafood dishes, while French & Co cafe offers French pastries and drinks. A bar offers live music in an atmospheric beachfront setting with comfy daybeds looking out to the sea.
Last but not least is the most opulent of ways – a river cruise in a luxury cabin (with your own private jacuzzi?) The Mekong Cruises slowly along the river banks, taking you on some wonderful adventures, bringing you to the villages and towns otherwise not easily accessible by road, and let you see the life of the Mekong Delta from the river perspective. While learning about the history and culture, you can be spoiling yourselves with gourmet meals and a glass of sparkling at sunset.
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