When is the Best Time to Visit Mekong Delta?

The dry season from December to April is ideal, offering easier travel conditions and vibrant local festivals.

mike swigunski z3cTN0mSNko unsplash 1 - Mekong Delta Travel Handbook
Sunset in Saigon. Photo by Tron Le – Unsplash

Transportation Tips

A. Getting to Vietnam

Flying is the most convenient way to reach Vietnam. The two main international airports are Hanoi (Noi Bai Airport) for adventures starting in the North and Saigon Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City) for trips starting in the South. For a budget adventure, you can also take an overland bus from Cambodia, Laos, or Thailand to Southeast Asia.

B. How to get to Mekong Delta

Flying into Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City is the most convenient option to reach the Mekong Delta. For a unique experience, consider a boat journey via the Mekong River from Cambodia. Once in Ho Chi Minh City, you can travel to the Delta by bus or private car, with the journey usually taking about 2-3 hours.

C. How to get around in Mekong Delta

Large cities in the Mekong Delta, like Can Tho or Rach Gia, have bus systems and taxis to get around. They’re less chaotic than huge cities like Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, so you can rent a bicycle or motorbike. Buses are also available to take you between cities.

The Mekong Delta region is much more spread out in rural areas, but it’s one of the most scenic parts of Vietnam and completely flat. For both those reasons, riding a bicycle around is a fantastic option. For long distances, hiring a taxi is the best option.

mike swigunski z3cTN0mSNko unsplash 1 - Mekong Delta Travel Handbook
A crowded Mekong River in Vietnam. Photo by Mike Swigunski – Unsplash

Before You Go: Visa, Currency, Timezone, Voltage, ATMs, Credit Cards, Internet, SIM Cards, Tips

  • Visa: Check visa requirements based on your nationality. Learn more about getting a Vietnam Visa before visiting the Mekong Delta. 
  • Timezone: Vietnam is in the Indochina Time Zone (ICT), UTC+7.
  • Voltage: The standard voltage is 220V, and the outlets usually accept three different plugs: A, C, and F. If you are from Europe, Japan, or the Americas, your plugs will work fine. Otherwise, you’ll need an adapter. Note that many Vietnamese outlets do not have a third hole for grounding, and so can only accept two-pronged plugs.
  • Internet: Most hotels, cafes, and even restaurants in the Mekong Delta offer free Wi-Fi; Wi-Fi plans are so cheap in Vietnam that almost all businesses have one. But it’s easy, inexpensive, and well worth buying a local SIM card with a data package at the airport upon arrival.
  • SIM Cards: You can easily purchase SIM cards for data and calls at the airport or local stores. Note that you’ll need to provide your passport to get a SIM. Viettel, Mobifone, and VinaPhone are the best mobile networks for the Mekong Delta and most parts of Vietnam.
  • Currency: Vietnam uses the Vietnamese Dong (VND). VND only comes in bills (no coins), and 1 USD equals about 24,000 VND (commonly abbreviated as 24k). Some shops catering to tourists may accept USD, but most only take VND.
  • Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted at large businesses like hotels, indoor restaurants, or upscale shopping venues in the Mekong Delta’s cities. However, smaller villages between cities usually only have a place accepting cards.
  • ATMs: The large cities of the Mekong Delta have some ATMs, most of which accept foreign cards. However, rural areas generally have no ATMs, so you should bring cash out of the urban centers on day trips. Make sure to notify your bank before you travel to Vietnam to avoid blocked ATM transactions.
  • Tipping: Vietnam is not a tipping culture, so a tip is not expected. A tip is a good way to bring a smile to someone’s face, though. Note that cab drivers and tour guides often rely on some tipping, so it’s a good idea to tip them.
mike swigunski z3cTN0mSNko unsplash 1 - Mekong Delta Travel Handbook
A crowded Mekong River in Vietnam. Photo by Mike Swigunski – Unsplash

Understanding Culture & Customs In Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta has the most cheerful and laid-back culture anywhere in Vietnam. Community, respect for nature, and a slower pace of life are valued. You’ll have trouble offending anyone if you keep a smile, a live-and-let-live attitude in your mind, and a genuine compassion for the people around you in your heart. Discover more about Vietnamese etiquette here.