My Tho district is the closest area to explore the Mekong delta from Ho Chi Minh. Some tourists choose visit the Mekong booking a day trip from Ho Chi Minh but we recommend you spend a couple of days there to get the most of it and observe the busy Mekong River. You can do that on a bicycle, a boat or simply by sitting at the pool of a nice hotel. To set the expectations right, there is no major monument or landscape to visit or admire there. The trip is more about watching local life on and around the Mekong river.
How accessible is it from Singapore?
My Tho is an easy getaway destination for at least a 2 and a half day weekend.
If you fly direct from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh, the total door-to-door journey from (your home/office in) Singapore to your hotel in My Tho will take you just below 6 hours. The trip includes a flight and taxi transfers.
How much is this going to cost us?
Transportation there (flights + car transfers) will cost you around SGD 510 for 2 pax for the return trip.
Vietnam is a cheap destination in terms of food, accommodation and activities. It’s actually great value in most places. And even more since there is no more visa fees for some nationalities. However, once you factor in the cost of the (nice) hotel we recommend and excursions the bill can go up rapidly.
How remote and risky is it?
It’s a safe destination. Medical infrastructure is limited but you will be able to go to a decent hospital in Ho Chi Minh in case of serious problems.
What about the kids?
My Tho and Thoi Son island is very child friendly. Bike rides (The Island Lodge can provide bike with child seats), the boat tours and visits such as crocodile or snake farms will make your little ones happy. There are very few cars on Thoi Son the islands on the main road. If you stay at the Island Lodge and travel with toddlers, you will need to be careful with the little ponds and streams going through the garden and may want to pick a garden room. Rooms overlooking the river are great but the balcony may be a challenge for toddlers.
When should we go?
Did you know?
The Mekong river is subject to tides even 40 km from the sea. The flow of the Mekong inverts with the tides throughout its stretch in Vietnam and up to Phnom Penh (Cambodia). If you come during the equinox tides you will see fields and roads covered by water. Most houses have small bridges from the main road or path to their door to access the house when the garden is covered by water. Can you believe that the Mekong starts in Tibet and crosses China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and reaches the sea in Vietnam?
Connections from My Tho
Getting from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh Airport
There are many flights and options to fly from Singapore Changi airport to Ho Chi Minh City Tân S?n Nhat International Airport airport (SGN)
Getting there: Jetstar – Singapore to HCMC: 7:35 PM – 8.35PM (2h flight)
Coming back: Jetstar – HCMC to Singapore = 9.15PM- 0.15 AM
Return ticket from SGD 145.
Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares.
Ho Chi Minh City airport is pretty modern and large. You’ll find the usual facilities of a big airport. (Many) money changers and restaurants are available at the airport.
Getting to Mekong Delta My Tho from the airport
The airport is 75km from the city of My Tho. The best would be to arrange the transfer with your hotel. It will cost you around VND 1,300,000 – SGD 80. and takes about 2 hours.
There are 2 main options depending on your budget and preferences.
Backpackers can find accommodation in the city of My Tho from 20SGD.
We have chosen to stay at the peaceful Island Lodge Resort Thoi Son located on an island opposite of My Tho City. The Island Lodge is the unique boutique style hotel in the area. The hotel staff and owners are very friendly. Food is great! (both French and Vietnamese menus were great). There is a nice pool. Rooms are relatively large. The hotel is very isolated and you will need to arrange your excursions and tours with the hotel (which they offer with a great boat captain (who was great with our kids!)
or, if you prefer, use .
To see & to do in the Mekong Delta – My Tho
The My Tho district is a good base to explore the Mekong Delta. It’s the closest base to Ho Chi Minh. The Mekong river is huge and you will always see boats carrying sand, shrimps, containers but also smaller fishermen ships.
Wake up early to have breakfast in a small local market
The tour will start from the hotel by a motor boat tour (the hotel is right on the Mekong river with its private jetty), then you’ll bike on small paths to get to the village market and enjoy a authentic Vietnamese breakfast (and if it’s too local for your taste buds you can always enjoy the breakfast back at the hotel when you get back)
Hop onto a boat and step on 3 different islands
The tour comprises of a motor boat tour to 3 islands: Dragon island, Phoenix island and Turtle Island. You will also go on a small rowing boat to discover the Arroyos (small canals), stop at some touristic cafés and shops where they will offer fruits, to test coconut candies,… The earlier you get there the less tourists you will come across. It’s a very popular tour with large groups. If you go early you will see less tourists but some of the activities may be closed (coconut crafting, candy making, music, etc). To be honest, the rowing boat was great but lasted only a few minutes. The rest felt really touristy with huge groups of tourists moving from one shop or activity to the next. So go for it but don’t expect great things beside the rowing boats part (or maybe try to customize the tour?). About 500,000 VND per pax (less if you travel as a group, children below a certain age are free)
Ride a bike across Thoi Son Island
Enjoy the peacefulness of Thoi Son island and go for a bicycle tour. You can go on your own and the hotel staff will give you a small map. Exploring the island will take you a couple of hours depending the time you’ll spend watching (or listening) local live scenario such as the flooded gardens (the Mekong is subject to tides), families singing karaoke (the whole hamlet has no choice but to enjoy!), the kids going to school and shouting “Hello”, the wooden motorized barge leaving the island shore for My Tho shores full of motorbikes and goods. Of course, you could always do the same on foot. Around SGD 6 per bicycle.
Book a spa
Pick one on the spa menu and….relax.
More info to prepare your trip
Wifi is available in all hotels and guesthouses.
What to pack for Mekong Delta – My Tho
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
Depending on your nationality you may need to get a Tourist Visa to enter Vietnam. ASEAN passport holders and nationals from a few European countries (including France) are exempt of Visa.Getting a visa to Vietnam is quite simple and easy now. There are 2 options:
- On Arrival Visa at the airport immigration checkpoint. You’ll need an Approval letter BEFORE you travel; you can either ask a Travel agent or apply online on Vietnamvisa. There will be fees for processing to the Approval letter and then for the visa itself check the rates here. The “on arrival visa” is only possible at International Airports (Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi), Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) and Danang Airport (Danang)). If you are travelling by land the Approval letter will not be accepted, then you need to contact the Embassy. At the airport immigration counter you need to pay cash 45 USD for single entry (95 USD for multiple-entry) and bring along 2 photos + your passport + the Approval letter. To save time, you can print the form that you will need to fill in and give to the counter when you arrive. You can download it here
- Or, Before flying to Vietnam. You can contact the Vietnamese Embassy and apply for a visa. In Singapore, 10 Leedon Park 10, 267887. Visa Hours: Mon-Fri (9AM – 12PM noon)
National Public Holidays in Vietnam
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|February 17-22||Tet Nguyen Dan (Chinese New Year)|
|April 28||Hung Kings Commemoration|
|April 30||Victory/Independence Day|
|May 1||Labour Day|
|September 2||National Day|
* check the exact date on this website as it varies from one year to another.