The mighty Mekong is Southeast Asia’s longest river and cruising around the canals, waterways, and floating markets of the Mekong Delta—often called the “rice bowl” of Vietnam—offers a startling contrast to the busy urban center of Ho Chi Minh City. Here are your options for Mekong Delta tours.
Ho Chi Minh City Cruise Ports
The gateway to the Vietnamese city once known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City Cruise Ports sit along the Saigon River and serve as jumping-off points for exploring the nation's largest and most dynamic city. Ocean cruises normally dock at Phu My and sometimes Cai Mep, both about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of the city, while river cruises typically dock at My Tho, about 47 miles (75 kilometers) to the south.
Regardless of where you dock, make the most of your time in Ho Chi Minh City by prebooking a shore excursion. Top city attractions include the Jade Emperor Pagoda, Central Post Office, Independence Palace, and Notre-Dame Cathedral, as well as the War Remnants Museum, dedicated to the Vietnam War. Many travelers opt to take a street food tour, while some head farther afield to the Vietnam War–era Cu Chi Tunnels or floating markets such as Cai Rang.
Things to Know Before You Go
Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City by river is spectacular, particularly at night when the skyscrapers are illuminated.
Larger Mekong River cruise ships dock at My Tho; smaller vessels often drop anchor at Nha Rong, Tan Thuan 2, or Lotus Port.
Some of Ho Chi Minh City’s best food is found in simple eateries with small plastic chairs, and food tours often frequent this style of restaurant.
Haggling is part of the Vietnamese travel experience, so prebooking a tour can save time, stress, and money.
Ho Chi Minh City is not a walkable city; it’s worth booking a shore excursion that includes transportation.
If you’re taking a cyclo (rickshaw) ride, be sure to negotiate the price beforehand—clarify the number in writing.
How to Get to Ho Chi Minh City From the Ho Chi Minh City Cruise Ports
If your ship docks at Phu My, Cai Mep, or My Tho, a tour or a private driver is your only effective option for reaching Ho Chi Minh City in a timely manner, as the bus system from these docks only operates in Vietnamese. Most shore excursions include round-trip transportation, however.
Vietnamese is the official language in Vietnam, and English is not widely spoken even in Ho Chi Minh City. The local currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND) and locals prefer this to US dollars. There are plenty of ATMs in Ho Chi Minh City and some in Phu My town and My Tho city.
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- Bitexco Financial Tower
- Saigon Skydeck
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Dong Khoi Street (Duong Dong Khoi)
- Saigon Opera House (Opéra de Saïgon)
- Ben Thanh Market (Cho Ben Thanh)
- Vietnam Cookery Center
- Pham Ngu Lao Street
- Paris Square (Cong Truong Cong Xa Paris)
- Saigon Central Post Office
- Reunification Palace (Independence Palace)
- Tao Dan Park
- War Remnants Museum (Bao Tang Chung Tich Chien Tranh)
- Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve
- Jade Emperor Pagoda