Can Tho, the heart of the Mekong Delta, is located on the south bank of the Hau river – a large branch of the Mekong river. The name “Can Tho” comes from “Cam Thi Giang”, which means “the river of poems”. It is also called “Tay Do” meaning “Western capital”. This buzzing river city has a reputation for its authentic retained charm as well as idyllic rural life scenes. Visitors would find themselves lost in miles of canals and rivers, or feeling the real beauty of Vietnam through unique lifestyle and various specialties of this great place. If you’re still wondering about what are worth visiting places or get confused because of fragmented pieces of information, this is what you need.
In order to help you have the best experience in this beautiful city, this article will fully analyze things you need to know about visiting Can Tho city, from how to get to and around, where to stay, to what to do in this stunning city. So let’s pack your bags and read this informative article!
I. WHEN TO VISIT CAN THO
1. The weather in Can Tho
Since belonging to Mekong river region, Can Tho has a tropical and monsoon climate, which helps this city become the rice basket of Vietnam and cultivate various kinds of exotic and tropical fruits. The temperature in Can Tho changes seasonally; however, the temperature gap among the months is not large(about 2.0 degrees Celsius). The annual average temperature is 26.6 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature here is 34.4 degrees Celsius while the lowest one is 19.7 degrees Celsius. There are two main seasons in Can Tho: rainy season which lasts from May to November with the highest rainfall amounts (from 92% to 97% of the annual rainfall) and dry one from December to April which has the total rainfall of 100mm (from 3% to 7% of the annual rainfall). Rain occurs mostly in September and October.
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2. Best time to visit Can Tho
You can visit Can Tho city anytime in the year because its weather is always comfortable and temperate. However, the most perfect time to visit Can Tho is the beginning of the rainy season, which means April, May and June. This time of the year has the most comfortable atmosphere when there is light rain making the weather much cooler. If you come to the city in the rainy season, you can observe this city at its most fertile and experience the lively scenes of nature. Also, you will find yourself surrounded by various kinds of tropical fruit. In fact, the rainy season is the harvest season in Can Tho. What is more, during the full moon day of April, there are two most important festivals held in Can Tho, Thuong Dien and Ha Dien. Local people here will have different types of religious rituals so as to express their sincerity and gratefulness to the Gods of the land.
II. HOW TO GET TO/AROUND CAN THO
1. Getting to Can Tho from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city
Being Mekong regional hub and a bustling city, there are various ways to travel to Can Tho; however, almost means of transportation depart from 2 biggest cities in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi.
A. Getting to Can Tho by airplane
Can Tho National Airport now has a vast international terminal with convenient facilities. From 2011, the airport serves flights to Hanoi, Phu Quoc and Con Dao from Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet
Vietnam Airlines is the flag carrier and the first aviation firm in Vietnam. The prices range from VND 2,400,000 to VND 4,500,000 for a pair of round-trip tickets. Additionally, the airline also operates flights from Can Tho to Phu Quoc, Con Dao
Vietjet Air is another aviation firm that is also very well known and has a reputation for its economical price. It operates Hanoi – Can Tho flights with between VND 1,800,000 and VND 2,700,000 a pair of round-trip tickets.
B. Getting to Can Tho by private car
It is possible to rent a private car for a 4 hour trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho with the price of VND 350,000- VND 500,000. A driver is included in the price.(Note: The price here is for a one way trip or return trip in the same day). If you want to drive the car by yourself, you must check well the conditions in advance. Rent a car at vnrentacar.com
C. Getting to Can Tho by shuttle bus
There are three main express bus lines departing from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho. With a reasonable price, about VND 110,000 – VND 150,000, you can have a 4 – hour trip to Can Tho from Ho Chi Minh city.
Phuong Trang Express bus: The largest intercity bus service to Can Tho. Coaches are fully air-conditioned and offer free Wi-Fi.
Tel: (+84) 283 8375 570
Price: VND 110,000
Departs every 30 minutes from Ho Chi Minh city
Duration: 4 – 4.5 hours
Thanh Buoi Express bus: Provides nimble service to Can Tho because the bus only stops for a 10-minute break during the trip to Ho Chi Minh city.
Tel: (+84)1900 6079
Price: VND 110,000
Departs every 30-45 minutes from Ho Chi Minh city
Duration: 3.5 – 4 hours
Mai Linh Express bus: Another famous firm providing safe drive to Can Tho with a reasonable price.
Tel: (+84)7103 739.333
Price: VND 90,000 – VND 100,000
Departs every 2 hours from Ho Chi Minh city
Duration: 4 hours
2. Getting around Can Tho
a. Getting around Can Tho by taxi
Unlike Ho Chi Minh city, different taxi company drivers are quite the same in the quality(or honesty). The average taxi price here is from VND 13.000 to VND 17.000 per kilometer. Almost taxis are from Mai Linh and Happy taxi company; however, they are both more expensive than other firms. Besides, wherever you go, don’t forget that taxis in Can Tho are not always available like in Saigon. Therefore, remember to keep a taxi company number on hand and call for a pickup rather than wait for a random one. Additionally, this will have to be done in Vietnamese because Can Tho taxi drivers being able to speak English are rare and not very common. You can ask the hotel receptionist for help.
Here are some taxi telephone numbers you may need when traveling to Can Tho:
- Taxi Green: +84 7103 739 739
- Mai Linh taxi: +84 710 382 882
- Taxi Happy: +84 710 377 777
- Taxi VIP: +84 7103 814 814
- Hoang Long Taxi: +84 7103 688 688
b. Getting around Can Tho by motorbike/bicycle
You can also rent a motorbike or a bike to get around Can Tho city. The rental prices can be a little bit higher than in Ho Chi Minh city as there are not as many international tourists in Can Tho as in Saigon. It will cost about VND 200,000 to rent a motorbike in 24 hours, and maybe cheaper if it is the older manual motorbike.
Address: 127 Vo Van Kiet Street (Near Can Tho International Airport)
Tel: (+84)919 362 004
Tran Trang Nhat
Address: 1C Nguyen Van Linh Street, Ninh Kieu District
Tel: (+84) 129 986 8899
Address: 42 Tran Viet Chau Street. Ninh Kieu District
Tel: (+84)944 355 582; (+84) 977 952 224
c. Getting around Can Tho by bike
Bicycles are always available in Can Tho. Some hotels and homestays even provide you with bicycles. However, those bicycles are produced for the locals here who are mostly smaller and lighter than Western tourists. Therefore, before renting a bike, make sure that bike is suitable for you or you will have to pay a compensation bill if it is broken down.
III. WHERE TO STAY IN CAN THO, VIETNAM
Visiting Can Tho, tourists have many ways to stay for a short period of time to explore the charming city. Depending on what level of comfort and service you are looking for, the hotel prices vary greatly.You can choose a hotel with full service, or experience the different and interesting feeling when staying in a homestay. Here are some most-loved hotels and homestays you can try when visiting Can Tho.
1. Resort in Can Tho, Vietnam
a. Victoria Can Tho Resort
This 4-star resort is ideally situated on the bank of Hau River, Can Tho city. Victoria Can Tho Resort provides an ideal venue for both business and leisure guests. The hotel has an excellent restaurant, a modern bar, and a riverside spa.
- Address: Cai Khe Ward, Ninh Kieu District
- Phone: +84 292 381 0111
- Price: VND 3,450,000 – VND 6,100,000
2. Hotel in Can Tho
a. Iris Hotel Can Tho – Elegant but modern hotel for tourists
The 4-star hotel, with elegant architecture, polite and warm staffs, located right in the heart of Can Tho. Hotel guests will enjoy an appetizing and comfortable experience at its sky bar and restaurant as well as an open-air swimming pool. Besides, Can Tho International Airport is an only 20-minute drive from the hotel. The reception is always available to help you book your guided tours, or to rent a car.
- Address: 224 30/4 Street, Xuan Khanh Ward, Ninh Kieu District
- Phone: +84 710 3686 969
- Price: VND 900,000 – VND 2,500,000
b. Vinpearl Can Tho Hotel – A brand new breeze
This hotel is only 2,8 km away from Ninh Kieu Quay, which is easy for tourists get there and join a boat trip. Beside amazing restaurant with various kinds of local food, Vinpearl Can Tho Hotel also provides guests with a fitness center, club and swimming pool. Bilingual staffs are available to assist guests with arranging shuttle services, laundry services, currency exchange and other inquiries.
- Address: 209 30/4 street, Xuan Khanh Ward, Ninh Kieu District
- Phone: +84 710 376 188
- Price: VND 1,250,000 – VND 1,500,000
c. Anh Dao Mekong Hotel – A comfortable and well-serviced hotel
A relatively good 3-star hotel located in the center of the city. All the staff is friendly and helpful. Every room has full facilities like air conditioner, flat-screen cable TV, and hot water. With a reasonable and saving price, you can choose this hotel to stay while you’re in Can Tho.
- Address: 85 Chau Van Liem, Ninh Kieu District
- Phone: +84 292 3819 501
- Price: From VND 590,000
3. Homestay in Can Tho
a. Mekong Rustic Homestay – A rural life experience
If you want to experience the lively and rustic scene of a rural village, Mekong Rustic Homestay is one of the best choices for you. Surrounded by Vam Xang lush orchards, the homestay is 9 km from Cai Rang floating market and only 3 km from Phong Dien floating market. Every 12 private bungalows are well designed to create a rural but relaxing atmosphere. Moreover, visitors may have a chance to become the real locals by joining in some idyllic activities with the host family like cooking, gardening, etc.
- Address: 2 Nhon Loc 1 Hamlet, Phong Dien District
- Phone: +84 978 581 143
- Price: VND 850,000 – VND 1,350,000
b. Nguyen Shack Homestay – A great homestay with primitive charm
Fairy Land Homestay offers an idyllic accommodation for tourists. A balcony with lake view is offered in every room. Guests can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere in the garden at the property or discover the surroundings by cycling with free use of a bicycle. Ninh Kieu Pier is about 2 km from the homestay, which is very convenient to join a tour to Cai Rang floating market.
- Address: 185C, Ong Tim Bridge, Thanh My Area, Thuong Thanh Ward, Cai Rang District
- Phone: +84 292 6288 688
- Price: VND 550,000 – VND 1,300,000
IV. WHAT TO EAT IN CAN THO, VIETNAM
Can Tho has a diverse cuisine with fresh ingredients from a tropical area like shrimp paste, fish sauce, rice, herbs…Each dish has their own unique flavor, but they all have one thing in common which is the elegant and rustic charm of Mekong cuisine culture. Here is the list of top 6 must-eat dishes you cannot miss when visiting Can Tho city
1. Banh beo – A unique specialty in Can Tho
Banh beo is one of the most popular dishes in Can Tho. It is basically made from rice flour and tapioca starch, topped with a mixture of pork, shrimp, and green onion. A simple, elegant, and cheap dish will give you a strong impression.
- 3 Le Lai Street, Ninh Kieu District
- 13 Truong Dinh Street, Ninh Kieu District
Price: Around VND 20,000
2. Banh cong – Favorite dish of the locals
Banh Cong is a traditional dish with the locals. It consists of little shrimp, green beans, and minced pork, then steamed and deep fried in a flour dough. Try it with some fresh vegetables and a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, garlic and fresh chili peppers, you will be surprised by the brand new taste of Vietnam cuisine.
- Co Ut: 86/38 Ly Tu Trong Street, Tan An Ward, Ninh Kieu District
- 134/1A Tran Phu Street, Ninh Kieu District
- 18 Tran Van Hoai Street, Ninh Kieu District
Price: VND 10,000 – VND 30,000
3. Banh xeo – Crispy Vietnamese pancake
The name bánh xèo, which means sizzling pancake, comes from the sound it makes when the batter hits a searing hot wok. Unlike other regions, the version of bánh xèo here is large, fairly crispy and filled with shrimp, bean sprouts, pork and green chopped onions. The special thing about the dish is that it must be wrapped in a fresh lettuce and herbs before being dipped in a fish sauce. It’s really worth trying!
- Cai Son Hang Bang street, Cai Rang District
- Hue Vien, 34 De Tham street, Ninh Kieu District
- Muoi Xiem, 13/3 Nguyen Chi Thanh street, Binh Thuy District
Price: VND 20,000 – VND 50,000
4. Nem nuong – Special version of grilled pork
Nem nuong, or grilled pork rolls, is a savory food of Vietnamese cuisine. In Can Tho, locals are proud to say that they have their own version of the dish. The ground pork is seasoned properly with special spice and rolled into small balls and then skewered to grill on charcoal. The best way to enjoy the food is to combine it with Banh hoi, herbs, and vegetables, then dip in a special soy-based sauce.
- Thanh Vân: 17 Hoa Binh Boulevard, Ninh Kieu District
- Anh Mập: 9 Nguyen Viet Hong street, Ninh Kieu District
- Nem Nuong 91: 91 De Tham street, Ninh Kieu District
Price: VND 50,000 -VND 100,000
5. Banh hoi – A brand new taste
Bánh hoi, a favorite snack in Can Tho, is fried dough made from beans and rice flour. The batter is poured into muffin tin, topped with a shrimp, and then deep-fried. Dipping it into the sauce with some slices of pickles, you can feel the hearty flavor melt inside your tongue.
- Nhon Ai, Phong Dien District
- Bánh hoi Phong Dien, Truong Ninh – Truong Long street, Phong Dien District
Price: VND 50,000 – VND 100,000
6. Hu tieu mi Hong Phat
It is a noodle soup dish with an amazing taste. The dish includes soft rice noodle, slightly sweet bone broth, topped with some pork slices, a quail egg, liver, intestines, and finally a shrimp, all sprinkled with a touch of pepper and some chopped green onions.
Address: 6 De Tham street, An Cu Ward, Ninh Kieu District
Price: VND 60,000 – VND 100,000
V. WHERE TO GO IN CAN THO
1. Cai Rang floating market
Cai Rang Floating Market is the main wholesale and most frequently visited floating market in Can Tho. It takes place before and around dawn everyday. From early in the morning, hundreds of boats gather to sell fruits and agricultural products of the whole region. To advertise what they sell, traders hang their product samples on the top of a long bamboo (called Cay Beo) in front of the boats. Observing water commerce as well as life on the boat of the locals while enjoying specialties of this place like banh mi, bun rieu, coffee, coconut water would be unforgettable experiences for tourists.
- Address: Cai Rang river, 6 km away from the center of Can Tho
- How to get there: Rent a boat from local tour agents in Ninh Kieu Pier – prices begin at 100 000 VND. Another way is to go to An Binh Market, a small local riverside market near Cai Rang Floating Market and join a motorboat tour for 50 000 VND per person
- Opening hours: From 5 am til noon, although the market is most crowded and busiest from 6 am to 7 am
Some tips for traveling Cai Rang floating market:
- The best time to visit this market is the early morning when the weather is still cool and the sun is not too harsh. Therefore, try to get there before 7 A.M. because you may not want to miss the time when it is at its best – when the market is busiest.
- Also, remember to take on your cap and sunblock because the temperature will rise very quickly.
2. Bang Lang stork garden
Another should-not-miss place when visiting Can Tho is Bang Lang Stork Garden. This magnificent 2-hectare garden is home to thousands of storks as well as many other kinds of bird, and it is the largest sanctuary in Mekong Delta. It is an appealing and unique attraction of ecotourism. Bang Lang Stork Garden was established naturally in 1983. By 1994, there were more storks inhabiting there. At first, Nguyen Ngoc Thuyen, who is also referred as Mr. Bay Co, the owner of Bang Lang Stork Garden, just wanted to save some storks stuck in fishing traps but more and more storks chose to make their home at this place and the garden kept spread with the current area of about 2 hectares and the number of storks ranging from 100,000 to 150,000 of more than 20 species.
On the way to the sanctuary, visitors will pass grassy green rice paddies and interlacing canals. They will be amazed by the lively and gorgeous scenes of nature when watching storks hovering in the sky, twitter together and land gracefully on bamboo branches everywhere.
- Address: Thot Not District, about 52km away from the center of Can Tho City.
- How to get there: You have to travel by boats in the rainy season, while in the dry season you can get there by motorcycles, or on foot.
- Price: Locals VND 10,000; foreigners VND 20,000 .
- Opening hours: 5am – 6pm
3. Binh Thuy Ancient House
The family home of the Duong family, Binh Thuy ancient house in Can Tho has long been acclaimed for its antique beauty along with its exclusive Western and Eastern architecture. Antiques and traditional cultural features have been still deliberately preserved and protected by the descendants. With French influence and elements, as well as a distinct East Asian charm, the house is a wonderful destination for any architecture lover who wants to explore the unique architecture.
- Address: 142/144 Bui Huu Nghia Street, Binh Thuy District
- Price: Free
- Phone: +84 710 3826 395
4. Ong Pagoda
Located right in the center of Can Tho city, Ong Pagoda, also known as Quang Trieu (Guang Zhao), was formerly the spiritual gathering place for the Hoa ethnicity in Can Tho. Built in 1894, it has existed so far with the architecture remained almost intact from the appearance to sculpt features. Almost materials such as wood and stone pillars as plinths, parallel sentences, beams, copper bells, incensory… were taken from Guangdong, China. The pagoda overall is an outstanding architecture with the system of trusses elaborately carved, harmonizing well with numerous spectacular bas-reliefs whose diverse contents is derived from Chinese legendary and history, for instance, Records of the Three Kingdoms, Bat Tien,… or convention symbols, orchid, daisies, bamboo, 2 dragons flanking the moon, Phoenix… There is a space in the middle of the pagoda which is called “the sky well” courtyard
- Address: 32 Hai Ba Trung Street, Tan An Ward, Ninh Kieu District
5. Ninh Kieu Quay
Ninh Kieu Quay, one of the most famous places in Can Tho, located right on the bank of Hau river. With its glamour, the image of Ninh Kieu quay has gone into poetry and become an icon of the city. In the past, Ninh Kieu quay was a busy trading port of the city. Nowadays, it has become a 7000m2 park attracting numerous local people and visitors. In the morning, you can take a leisurely walk along the park to sightsee and enjoy the fresh air. Local people usually come here every morning to do exercise or play sports. Also, this is where you can join your trip to the Cai Rang floating market by renting a boat which can be found everywhere along the quay. In the evening, there is Ninh Kieu night market in the park where the food stalls are always ready with a lot of Vietnamese foods, which you cannot miss. The tables are put along the quay so you can enjoy Vietnam cuisine while watching the city by night. Every night, Can Tho bridge becomes more lively and charming with sparkling and colorful lights and tourists can easily contemplate it from the park.
- Address: On the right side of Hau River, Hai Ba Trưng Street, Tan An Ward, Ninh Kieu district
- Opening hour: 5 am – 10 pm every day
VI. WHAT TO DO IN CAN THO
To fully enjoy the charm of this city, beside those above destinations, you should join in some activities:
1. Try a local baguette sandwich – Banh Mi
Consisting of grilled pork, chili sauce, parsley and smoked sausage, the local sandwich called Banh Mi is a popular breakfast of the locals. It is sold almost everywhere in the morning for example at Banh mi Nguyet at 30/4 Street. And remember to enjoy it with a Vietnamese coffee – Cafe sua da, and I promise you it’ll make your day.
2. Visit Xuan Khanh market
Buy and eat some local fruits at and try to bargain with locals who do not speak English. Each season has their own kinds of fruits. Different varieties of tropical fruits and their taste will amaze you.
3. Be creative by painting ceramic figures
If you have children, show your creativeness by painting small ceramic figures in one of the bigger bookshops. Also, you can take them home afterwards as a small souvenir.
4. Walk along Ninh Kieu quay at night
You will certainly enjoy fresh air by the river and the whole gorgeous view of the city in the evening.
5. Some coffee shops you may want to visit:
- Cara Cafe, 10 Mau Than Street: An interesting movie cafe with best movies in town. The price is also reasonable.
- Missy Cakes & Cafe 233/4 Nguyen Van Linh Street: A classic cafe with retro design. Delicious cakes and drinks are made with passions.
- Café Hợp Phố 6 Ngo Gia Tu street: Have a quiet place in a green and natural atmosphere. Many drinks and food available at good prices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Gony Spa Cafe Lounge, 8-10-12 Nguyen An Ninh: Offers a variety of food from Western foods like pizza, pasta, beefsteak to local food. Also, there are various types of drink like coffee, juice, ice cream, etc.
- Cafe Eden, Le Loi Street: A romantic coffe shop, suitable for couples.
VII. What to buy in Can Tho
Perhaps the most exciting shopping experience tourists can enjoy in Can Tho is to join a boat and go along the river and canals to check out the floating markets. It is a perfect way to pick up some local products as a gift as below:
- Ruou man Sau Tia – unique local wine made of bell fruit, a kind of tropical fruit. It has long been a famous and one-of-a-kind wine in Can Tho
- Dried fish is also a popular product in Can Tho. Some kinds of fish such as anchovy, goby, puffer, etc are cleaned and then dried under sunshine for 1-2 months. Its taste is very unique and delicious
- If you want to buy some souvenirs for your friend and family, visit the Alum Decorative Art shop which sell handmade paper flowers, crafts, oil paintings and many other delightful gifts or Duc Mai pottery store to buy excellent ceramic products.
VIII. Can Tho Tourist information center
If you need any help or information about the city while traveling to Can Tho, come to Can Tho tourist information center. Helpful staff here can speak both English and French. Also, city maps, as well as general information about city attractions and bus information are available.
Address: 50 Hai Ba Trung, Ninh Kieu District
- Tel: +84 292 3821 852
- Website: http://www.canthotourist.com.vn
- 7am to 6pm on Monday to Friday
- 7am to 11am & 1 – 5pm on Saturday & Sunday
The above is the complete from A to Z Can Tho Travel guidebook for you. Moreover, along with these above activities, there are still many other wonderful things in Can Tho city are waiting for your exploration and footprints. Wish that you’ll have a memorable trip!