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Getting around

Getting around

Bus

Travel by bus in southern Vietnam is quite convenient. There are extensive connections between most cities and towns, just go to any town's bus station and you should be able to find bus connections to where you want to go, or at least pretty close to it.

The fastest means of bus travel is by express bus. There are a few companies that run express buses, but the most popular and reliable is Mai Linh. They operate green minibuses that leave promptly at the scheduled time and arrive at the destination the fastest. They have air conditioning, though it's not always strong enough to keep the cabin cool. While the buses go the fastest, they also have a reputation for driving the most dangerously. Though accidents with buses are rare, the ride on an express bus will likely be more stressful than on a local bus.

Local buses will be large and old and will belch exhaust. They will be slightly cheaper than express buses, but may be a more interesting experience if you enjoy the grittier aspects of local culture. The buses usually won't have air conditioning, but they'll keep the windows down so sometimes they can end up being cooler than the express buses. They will make frequent stops along the road to pick up travelers. If you want to get off somewhere between the main cities, you should take a local bus. Express buses will only stop at bus stations.

Bicyle and Motorbike

The Mekong Delta is a great place to explore by bicycle and motorbike. The terrain is flat and the roads are well-maintained. Traffic isn't too heavy, especially on back roads off Highway 1A. The road between Chau Doc through Long Xuyen to Can Tho is easily the most dangerous in the delta, with quite a lot of big trucks and buses rumbling along a narrow road. Be careful when riding along this stretch and hug the edges of the road.

You'll never have to worry about finding a place to sleep. You'll never be more than 30-40 kilometres from a town with a guest house(nha nghi) or hotel (khach san). If the biking gets too tiring, you'll also find cafes at least every 4-5 kilometres where you can rest and have a drink. There are also mechanic shops every few kilometres where you can get flat tires and other mechanical problems repaired.

A lot of local life happens just next to the road in the delta, so exploring on two wheels can be a great way to get closer to it. You'll see farmers working their fields and walking their buffalos home in the evening. People dry rice, coconut husks, lemongrass and other spices on the side of the road. There will be plenty to see!

You can rent a motorbike in most of the bigger cities in the delta. Renting a bike for a longer trip around the delta might be difficult to work out, but you can also buy a cheap bike for just over $100. There's no need to buy a fancy bike, you can ride comfortably on a cheap bike as the rides aren't too challenging. You can also usually rent bikes in each town for day trips, or maybe even for a few days at a time.

Most of the interest of the place resides in its floating markets, and the life around the rivers criss-crossing the area; also the national parks and nature reserves.

It is possible to take tours on small boats around My Tho (Mỹ Tho) and the islands north of Ben Tre (Bến Tre); around Cai Be (Cái Bè) and the An Binh peninsula; and around Can Tho (Cần Thơ). Both Cai Be and Can Tho feature floating markets.

Delta Adventures run 2 & 3 day tours. The 3 day misses much of the Cai Be (Cái Bè) and the An Binh peninsula. It is a long trip home on day 3, and avoid it if you can. 2 day appears to be a little better, although again the trip home is 7 hours by boat, followed by 3 on a bus. I'd try for a land based return, around 6 hours.

It is also common for the guide to offer upgrades during the trip, at cheaper than the tour asking price, so avoid buying the expensive version,as an upgrade is waiting in the wings.

It is also possible to get away from the main road and into the more remote rivers on board larger river cruisers for discovery cruises of the area in comfort.

Mt. Cam is a notable but not very advertised attraction worth seeing. It is a mountain in the An Giang province where you can either hike or take a motorbike tour to the top to see a lake, a very large buddha statue and a temple with a few pagodas.

How to get there - Vinh Long

Vinh Long is 70km from Mytho, 34km from Can Tho and 136km from Ho Chi Minh City. The inter-province bus station is 5km from the centre of Vinh Long. There are buses between Vinh Long and Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Mytho, Long Xuyen, Sa Dec, Rach Gia, and other Mekong Delta destinations. National Highway No.1A and No.53 also runs through the province.

How to get there - Can tho

Cantho is 34km from Vinh Long, 62km from Long Xuyen, 63km from Soc Trang, 104km from Mytho, 116km from Rach Gia, 117km from Chau Doc, 169km from Ho Chi Minh City and 179km from Camau.

Road: Cantho has National Highway No.1A, 91, 80 linking to An Giang, Kien Giang provinces. Waterway: Cantho has Cai Cui international seaport. The city is the centre of waterway network of Mekong Delta. There are no longer any daily hydrofoils between Ho Chi Minh City and Cantho City. Airline: There is Tra Noc Airport.

How to get there - Soc trang

Soc Trang is 231km from Ho Chi Minh City, 60km from Can Tho. National Highways No.1A links the province and Can Tho, Bac Lieu.