Best 10+ things to do in Can Tho & Tips to avoid tourist crowd

A trip to the south of Vietnam can’t be completed without Mekong Delta tours. It is a miss if you don’t visit Can Tho – one of the most popular destinations in this region. Though best known for its vibrant floating markets, this city offers a wide variety of authentic experiences that will leave you enchanted. In this blog, I’ll guide you through a list of top things to do in Can Tho that you should take advantage of.

Best things to do in Can Tho

Get up early for the floating market

It’s a pity if you miss the Cai Rang floating market and Phong Dien floating market on the list of things to do in Can Tho.

Cai Rang floating market

Cai Rang floating market is located just 6 kilometers from the center of Can Tho city. This proximity makes it a popular choice for you to experience the vibrant atmosphere of a bustling Mekong Delta floating market.

Floating markets in Can Tho
Immerse yourself in the authentic trading culture at floating markets

The best time to enjoy the Cai Rang floating market is from 4:00 AM or 5:00 AM. Each boat sells a different item. For example, you can find the Western Vietnam fresh fruits or the necessities for daily life. Boat owners will hang the item on a pole so you can easily identify it. Moreover, local delicious dishes are also served on boats. You can’t forget the feeling of sitting on a small boat on the river and enjoying “bun rieu” – an excellent local cuisine at the same time.

During a captivating episode of his TV show, Gordon Ramsay explored the bustling Cai Rang Floating Market. In a lighthearted twist, the renowned chef stepped into the shoes of a local vendor, skillfully preparing and serving breakfast dishes from her boat, much to the amusement of viewers. Ramsay couldn’t help but acknowledge that the vendor’s hu tieu and bun rieu, delightful Vietnamese rice vermicelli soups, ranked among the most exceptional dishes he had ever encountered. The delectable creation even became a challenge for Master Chef US contestants, showcasing the widespread acclaim and culinary prowess of Vietnamese cuisine.

Phong Dien floating market

Phong Dien floating market is a bit further away from the center of Can Tho city, approximately 17 kilometers. While it requires a slightly longer journey, it is worth the trip. The market is still known for its authentic and less touristy feel, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture and witness the daily activities of the market traders.

Although they have many similarities, each market has some distinctive points. Compared to the Cai Rang floating market, the Phong Dien floating market lasts longer. It’s from the morning until the afternoon. The reason is that the Phong Dien floating market not only sells agricultural products but also daily living items and production tools.

Helpful tips: To escape the peak tourist hours, you should aim to arrive at the floating market in the early morning. By getting there early, you can witness the market at its liveliest and interact with the local vendors before the crowds arrive.

Take a private sampan tour

For a more intimate exploration of the Mekong Delta, you can embark on a private sampan tour. Sampan is one of the authentic and traditional boats that the Mekong people used to have for the markets, floating markets, traveling around, loading goods, and even for weddings.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Can Tho by cruising along the intricate network of canals, witnessing the picturesque rural landscapes, and visiting local villages. Your knowledgeable guide will share local insights into the region’s history, culture, and daily life, making this an unforgettable journey into the heart of the Mekong Delta.

Take a private sampan tour in Can Thoi
Enjoy scenic landscapes and explore riverside towns on sampan

Suggested Can Tho tours

Visit Binh Thuy ancient house

Visiting Binh Thuy Ancient House is also one of the most interesting things to do in Can Tho. Binh Thuy ancient house has existed for about 150 years. Above all, it is one of the rare intact ancient architectural works in Can Tho. Different from other ancient houses, this house is a mixture of Oriental culture and Western culture. It has also been affected slightly by the architecture of French ancient villas.

As you wander through the house’s well-preserved rooms, you’ll discover a treasure trove of artifacts and family heirlooms that offer glimpses into the lives of the former inhabitants.

 Binh Thuy Ancient House
Immerse yourself in history by visiting the charming Binh Thuy Ancient House. Source: Tripadvisor

Visiting the Binh Thuy Ancient House is a journey back in time, allowing you to witness the meticulous craftsmanship and cultural heritage that define Can Tho and the Mekong Delta. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history lover, or simply seeking a glimpse into the region’s past, this enchanting house promises an unforgettable experience.

Tip to escape the tourist crowd: Arriving early in the morning or towards the end of the day can help you avoid the rush of tourists. This way, you can have more space and time to appreciate the unique architecture and historical significance of the house. Additionally, you should avoid weekends and holidays as they tend to attract more visitors. So if possible, plan your visit on a regular weekday to minimize the number of tourists.

Helpful information:

  • Ticket: 20,000VND
  • Spend-time: Half an hour (approx)
  • Hours: Daily 7 am to 12 pm & 2 pm to 6 pm
  • Address: 144 Bui Huu Nghia Street, Binh Thuy District, Can Tho City. About 6km from Can Tho city center.

Explore the city by taking a Can Tho bike tour

If you truly want to explore the vibrant city of Can Tho in a unique and immersive way, then a Can Tho bike tour is an absolute must.

As you navigate through colorful markets, hidden alleyways, and charming neighborhoods, you’ll witness the daily rhythm of life in Can Tho. You can have an opportunity to engage with friendly locals, who will greet you with warm smiles and share fascinating anecdotes about their city, feel the wind in your hair as you pass by architectural gems, and catch glimpses of the city’s rich cultural heritage. Pause at a local café for a refreshing cup of Vietnamese coffee, savoring the flavors while observing the lively scenes unfolding around you.

Take a Can Tho bike tour
Truly experience the vibrant pulse of Can Tho by taking a bike tour

A Can Tho bike tour provides an eco-friendly and authentic experience, allowing you to connect with the city deeply and create lasting memories.

Get around fruit gardens in Can Tho

Can Tho is famous for its abundant fruit gardens; exploring them is a must-do. Take a stroll or hire a bicycle to meander through orchards bursting with tropical delights.

As you wander amidst the swaying trees laden with pomelos, longans, and mangos, you’ll be enveloped by the sweet and aromatic scents of the ripe fruits. Engage with the friendly farmers, who will gladly share their knowledge and stories about the cultivation techniques that have been passed down through generations. The tranquil surroundings and the vibrant colors of the fruits create a picturesque backdrop for your exploration.

Fruit gardens in Can Tho
Exploring fruit gardens is a must-do

Getting around Can Tho’s fruit gardens offers an enchanting experience that not only awakens your senses but also deepens your appreciation for the agricultural traditions that thrive in this fertile region.

Helpful tips:

  • Venture off the beaten path: Explore fruit gardens located slightly away from the main tourist areas. By venturing off the beaten path, you are more likely to encounter local farmers and have authentic interactions with them.
  • Engage with local guides: Consider hiring a local guide or seeking the assistance of a farmer to show you around the fruit gardens. They can provide insider knowledge, introduce you to different fruits, and share information about cultivation techniques. This can enhance your experience and offer a deeper understanding of the local farming practices.

Discover the rich heritage of Phat Hoc Pagoda

Embark on a captivating journey through time as you discover the rich heritage of Phat Hoc Pagoda. A visit to Phat Hoc Pagoda promises a profound cultural experience, allowing you to connect with the spiritual heritage of Can Tho and gain a deeper understanding of its profound traditions. As you approach the pagoda’s ornate entrance, you’ll be greeted by exquisite architectural details, intricate carvings, and vibrant hues adorn the temple’s façade. Step inside and feel a sense of tranquility wash over you, as the soothing melodies of Buddhist chants fill the air. Engage with the resident monks, who are often eager to share their wisdom and insights into the teachings of Buddhism.

Phat Hoc Pagoda
Pay a visit to the magnificent Phat Hoc Pagoda, a symbol of spiritual tranquility Source: Tripadvisor

Helpful tips: Plan your visit to Phat Hoc Pagoda during non-peak hours or on weekdays. Mornings and early afternoons are generally quieter than evenings and weekends when more tourists tend to visit. This will allow you to explore the pagoda in a more peaceful atmosphere.

Wander around night markets in Can Tho

Indulge your senses in a vibrant tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavors as you wander around the enchanting night markets of Can Tho.

night markets in Can Tho
Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Can Tho’s night markets – Source: Tripadvisor

As the sun sets and the city comes alive, the bustling streets transform into a lively spectacle of colorful stalls and twinkling lights. Navigate through the maze of vendors offering an array of tantalizing street food, from steaming bowls of savory noodle soups to skewers of grilled seafood. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as locals and tourists alike haggle over prices and exchange laughter-filled conversations. Allow the melodies of live music and the rhythmic beats of traditional performances to serenade you as you soak up the vibrant energy of the night markets.

Wander around, sampling delectable treats and embracing the lively ambiance, and you’ll discover that the night markets of Can Tho are a true feast for the senses.

Helpful tips:

  • Follow the locals: Observe where the residents frequent within the night market. They often know the best stalls and hidden gems that may be off the beaten path. By following their lead, you can discover more authentic and less touristy experiences.
  • Try street food away from the main stalls: Instead of heading directly to the popular food stalls in the night market, wander further into the surrounding streets and look for local street food vendors. These smaller vendors often offer delicious and authentic dishes at lower prices, away from the tourist crowds.
  • Learn a few basic phrases in Vietnamese: Making an effort to communicate with the local vendors in their language can go a long way in creating a more genuine connection. Learn a few basic phrases in Vietnamese, such as greetings or expressions of gratitude. This will not only help you navigate the market but also make the locals more inclined to engage with you.

Visit Can Tho rice noodles factory

After a few fantastic days touring Can Tho, you may look for something different and local, and this ticked the box. The rhythmic sounds of machinery and the fragrant aroma of freshly cooked noodles fill the air, inviting you to embark on the essence of this time-honored craft.

You can have a chance to engage with the friendly workers, who will gladly share their expertise and stories about the art of rice noodle production, take a moment to taste the finished product, savoring the smooth texture and distinctive flavor that sets Can Tho’s rice noodles apart.

Rice noodles factory in Can Tho
Delve into the culinary heritage of Can Tho by visiting a rice noodle factory

A visit to a rice noodle factory in Can Tho offers a unique opportunity to witness the dedication and skill that goes into creating this culinary delight, leaving you with a deeper appreciation for the region’s gastronomic heritage.

Learn to make banh hoi at Ut Dzach

Embarking on the journey of learning to make Banh Hoi at Ut Dzach is not just a culinary experience to remember, but also a hands-on adventure that promises an enriching understanding of Can Tho’s gastronomic legacy. If you choose to bring children along, this captivating experience will not only pique their interest but also serve as an engaging opportunity for them to delve deeper into the world of cuisine.

Under the guidance of skilled chefs, engage in the traditional techniques and secrets of crafting these delicate rice vermicelli sheets.

Learn to make banh hoi at Ut Dzach
For a hands-on culinary experience, head to Ut Dzach, a local restaurant that offers Banh Hoi-making classes – Source: Tripadvisor

From the moment you step into the cozy kitchen, you’ll be greeted by the warm aromas of freshly steamed rice and fragrant herbs. With patient guidance, you’ll learn to grind the rice, mix the batter, and skillfully spread it onto intricately woven bamboo mats. As you watch the rice sheets steam to perfection, you’ll witness the transformation of simple ingredients into a mouthwatering delicacy. Engage in the process, refining your skills in shaping and rolling the Banh Hoi, creating a beautiful tapestry of translucent strands. Finally, indulge in the fruits of your labor, savoring the soft texture and delicate flavors of your own handmade Banh Hoi.

Witness the spectacular wildlife at Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature Reserve

Nestled amidst the pristine beauty of Can Tho, this protected sanctuary offers a haven for a diverse array of flora and fauna.

As you venture into the lush greenery, keep your eyes peeled for elusive bird species, graceful deer, and playful monkeys that call this reserve home. Marvel at the vibrant colors of tropical flowers and listen to the symphony of bird songs that fill the air. Explore winding trails that lead you deeper into the heart of the reserve and the serenity of untouched landscapes.

Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature Reserve
Escape the city’s hustle and bustle by visiting the Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature Reserve

Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful escape, witnessing the spectacular wildlife at Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature Reserve promises an unforgettable experience that reconnects you with the natural wonders of Can Tho.

Must-try local food in Can Tho

Indulge in the Delightful Banh Cong of Can Tho

This beloved local delicacy is a true culinary gem that will tantalize your taste buds. Created from a mixture of rice flour, mung beans, shrimp, and aromatic herbs, Banh Cong is deep-fried to a perfect golden crispness. The fragrant herbs are refreshing, while the crispy exterior offers a satisfying crunch. Whether enjoyed as a snack or a full meal, indulging in the delightful Banh Cong of Can Tho is an experience that will leave you craving more of this local delight.

banh cong of Can Tho
Banh Cong is a must-try delicacy that showcases the rich culinary heritage of Can Tho

Enjoy banh tam bi for breakfast

Banh tam bi is a perfect way to kickstart your morning with its comforting flavors and textures. This dish consists of tender rice noodles with succulent slices of braised pork, aromatic herbs, shredded coconut, and a drizzle of rich coconut milk sauce. Each bite is a harmonious blend of savory and sweet, with the tender pork complementing the creamy coconut sauce. Additionally, the fresh herbs and shredded coconut add a burst of freshness and texture. Enjoyed with a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee, Banh Tam Bi is a breakfast that will fuel your day and leave you with a taste of Can Tho’s culinary delights.

Banh tam bi
Banh tam bi provides a perfect balance of flavors and textures to kick-start your day – Source: Tripadvisor

Banh Xeo – Vietnamese pancake

Savor the flavors of Vietnam with a mouthwatering Banh Xeo, a Vietnamese pancake that is sure to delight your taste buds. This beloved dish features a crispy, golden-brown crepe made from rice flour and turmeric, filled with a medley of ingredients such as succulent shrimp, savory pork, bean sprouts, and fresh herbs. The pancake is traditionally served with lettuce leaves and a tangy dipping sauce, allowing you to create your delectable wraps bursting with flavors and textures. With each bite, you’ll experience a delightful combination of crunchy exterior, tender fillings, and also the refreshing crunch of fresh herbs.

banh xeo
Another must-try dish in Can Tho is Banh Xeo, a Vietnamese-style pancake – Source: Tripadvisor

Whether enjoyed as a snack or a main course, Banh Xeo is a culinary treasure that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Vietnam.

When is the ideal time to visit Can Tho?

Can Tho offer unique experiences throughout the year. While the dry season is often considered the ideal time to visit, the wet season from May to November has its own charms.

Best time to visit Can Tho
Can Tho’s natural beauty and cultural richness are present throughout the year

The dry season (from December to April) offers pleasant weather with lower humidity and less rainfall, creating comfortable conditions for exploring the city’s vibrant markets, indulging in delicious street food, and taking part in outdoor activities. Immerse yourself in the city’s charm by cruising the picturesque canals, exploring the vibrant atmosphere at floating markets, and cycling through the scenic countryside. It’s also a great time for you to observe agricultural activities as farmers diligently tend to their rice fields and fruit orchards.

When visiting Can Tho during the rainy season, you can have a chance to embrace the unique charm of the city as rain showers bring the lush landscapes to life. Take advantage of the occasional rain showers by savoring a bowl of hot, steaming Canh Chua (sour soup) or indulging in a cozy café while watching the raindrops fall. Additionally, consider taking a boat tour along the canals, where the rain-soaked foliage creates a serene and captivating ambiance.


How many ways are there to get to Can Tho?

Getting to Can Tho is convenient, with several transportation options available. To reach Can Tho, you can have several choices like flying, taking a bus, or even a boat.

How can I experience the Mekong Delta while in Can Tho?

If you’re eager to explore the Mekong Delta beyond Can Tho, consider taking a day trip to nearby destinations.

  • Visit Vinh Long: Plan a day trip from Can Tho to Vinh Long, a charming town in the heart of the Mekong Delta. Explore the town’s bustling market, visit local temples, and take a boat ride to An Binh Island, known for its scenic beauty and serene countryside. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the island’s narrow paths, passing through orchards and rice fields.
  • Visit Ben Tre: Located near Can Tho, Ben Tre is often referred to as the “Coconut Kingdom” due to its abundant coconut groves and thriving industry. You can embark on a boat tour through the picturesque coconut groves, learn about coconut cultivation, and witness traditional processing methods. Visit the local handicraft villages to see artisans crafting various coconut-based products like brooms and fiber mats.
  • Tra Vinh is renowned for its vibrant Khmer cultural heritage, so you can explore the town’s impressive Khmer temples, known for their splendid architecture, and intricate designs. Embark on the flavors of Khmer cuisine by sampling dishes like “Num Banh Chok” (Khmer noodles), “Lort Cha” (stir-fried noodles), and “Banh Tet” (sticky rice cake), which showcase a delightful blend of aromatic spices and fresh ingredients. Moreover, engage in cultural activities like traditional Khmer dance performances and workshops on Khmer handicrafts.

These excursions offer a deeper immersion into the rural landscapes, local lifestyles, and scenic beauty of the Mekong Delta.

Suggested Itinerary

The number of days to spend in Can Tho depends on your interests and the activities you plan to engage in. However, a suggested itinerary for Can Tho could be around 2 days to fully explore the highlights of the province. Here’s a recommended itinerary customized by a travel expert:

Are there any unique festivals or events in Can Tho?

Can Tho is known for hosting a variety of unique festivals and events throughout the year, offering you a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.

One of the most notable and eagerly awaited festivals in Can Tho is the Southern Folk Cake Festival. This vibrant celebration pays homage to the art of traditional Vietnamese cakes and is a delight for both locals and tourists alike. Typically held in April, the festival showcases a dazzling array of colorful displays, captivating performances, and tantalizing tastings of these delectable treats. Attending the Southern Folk Cake Festival in Can Tho is not only a chance to indulge in delicious treats but also a unique opportunity to celebrate the vibrant traditions and culinary heritage of the Mekong Delta region.

Can Tho offers a variety of exciting activities that reveal different aspects of its charm. Each experience allows you to discover something unique and captivating about the city. So, if you’re seeking a blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and heartfelt hospitality, Can Tho is the perfect destination for an unforgettable adventure filled with incredible things to do.

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