In a nutshell
Can Tho is the heartthrob and provincial capital of the Mekong Delta and is the biggest city in the region with over a million residents.
Why go to Can Tho
We went to explore this hugely buzzing place, which has a great unique of blends from the exciting waterfront to the narrow alleyways and to the gorgeous open gardens to the busy boulevards.
The name comes from “Cam thi giang” and this means “river of poems” and the biggest draw for tourists is the famous floating markets along the river. The markets offer amazing experiences and you will find a huge number of boats and ships meandering their way past shops and restaurants.
Can Tho is also known as Vietnam’s rice basket and this is because of the many rice fields that surround the city as well as home to lots of farms and orchards.
Also, there are interesting historical parts including pagodas, temples, museums and the Hai Ba Trung area and there are good places to see the outstanding views as well as a variety of boat cruises on offer. We even went on a countryside motorbike tour and after all that we had a sublime choice of cuisines available to try. You won’t have much trouble in finding accommodation either, as there are many choices to select from and there is something for everyone.
When to go to Can Tho
Can Tho has 2 seasons which are dry and wet season and we recommend to go during the dry season unsurprisingly as you are more likely to get sunny days.
The dry season is from December to April and due to the average temperature of 27 0C all year round as well as the high humidity, we were absolutely fine in light clothes like t-shirts, shorts and summery dresses. If you decide to go in the wet season then best to pack wet clothes like raincoats and even ponchos would be a good idea.
Where to stay in Can Tho
The wide range of places to stay means that something will be right for you and it could be one of the local and cheap hostels and guesthouses or one of the midrange options or even the hotels that target international business travellers.
The majority of the places are found either close to the riverfront or at the southern part of the city and our one piece of advice is to dodge the Chinese-style hotels with the huge neon lights outside as these places usually have pounding karaoke late at night.
Where to eat in Can Tho
The city is well known for its amazing supply of fresh fruit and vegetables as they are grown just down the road and they are all worth a try and can be bought at any of the day or night markets.
One place we definitely advise to go for cheap and authentic food is Hem 1 Ly Tu Trong and has been nicknamed as “Hot Pot Alley”. It is frequently visited by locals and is still a bit of a secret as there weren’t many tourists when we went and the dozen or so restaurants there offer quality local hot pots that include fish and poultry. Other places we suggest include the riverside and the southern end of the city.
Getting around in Can Tho
The main centre of the city is easy to get around on foot otherwise your next cheapest option is renting a bicycle, which is a great alternative as it’s a relaxing way to get around.
Bike prices differ but are generally around VND50,000 a day with motorbikes costing around VND200,000 per day.
There are taxis as well and just make sure that they set the meter straight away as some like to just ask a random price at the end of the journey. There are also water taxis that can you take you down the river and you can book yours at Ninh Kieu quay or at your hotel.
Getting in and out
Can Tho is the main transportation hub in the region and therefore it is easy to get in and out of the city.
The bus station is only a km out of town and serves a fair few destinations including Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), which takes 3-4 hours and costs VND120,000 and My Tho takes 2-3 hours and costs roughly VND50,000.
Other destinations include Ben Tre (3 hrs, VND75,000), Ca Mau (3-4hrs, VND70-150,000), Chau Doc (3.5hrs, VND100-240,000) and Phnom Penh (7hrs, VND380,000).
Other modes of transport include going there by car and is a good option if there are 4 or 5 of you as this keeps the price down with most car rentals starting from around $100 or you can get your own driver for a bit more.
Motorbike will be slightly faster and probably cheaper, though some places may ask for a Vietnamese driving license and you may have to take an additional test. You can also get a taxi from neighbouring places like HCMC and the prices will be similar to that of the car rental costs.
Safety in Can Tho
We felt very safe in Can Tho and you will feel the same with its relaxed way of life. We spoke to a fair few tourists who had heard nothing or experienced nothing. As long as you use common sense like not flashing any valuable items around, then you will be absolutely fine.