If you love the water, great food, strong history, and bright colors – Can Tho, Vietnam has got you covered. As Vietnam’s fourth-largest city, located in the south along the Hau River, Can Tho is certainly a tropical destination you don’t want to miss (unless it’s monsoon season; May to November; of course!).
Can Tho is famous for its amazing canals, floating markets, and extensive rice manufacturing. The city is authentic, well-preserved, and quite dynamic.
If you get a chance to visit this exquisite city, take advantage of the below 10 things:
Go to the Can Tho Museum
This educational experience teaches you about the history of Can Tho and the importance of preserving traditions into the future. The museum is rather large, as are some of the pieces that are truly brought to life in their depictions; namely, a pagoda (tiered place of worship) featured inside!
With thousands of objects and photographs, the museum is highly reflective in all aspects of Vietnamese life – war, agriculture, music, travel, trade, and more.
Address: 1 Hòa Bình, Tân An, Ninh Kiều, Cần Thơ, Vietnam
See the Can Tho Bridge
The Can Tho Bridge is a 6-lane, cable-stayed bridge over the Hau River.
During its construction in 2007, the bridge collapsed and killed over 50 people. It was not able to officially open until 2010.
The bridge now represents modern development in Vietnam and is the first of many important bridges to come in the area.
Address: Cầu Cần Thơ, Hưng Phú, Cái Răng, Cần Thơ, Vietnam
Visit a Floating Market
A floating market is a collection of boats on the water, each with vendors selling products (typically food). The floating markets are perfect for early risers – they open well before 5 and close by noon! These markets focus on locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, but you can also find fresh homemade breakfast noodles or other homemade goods.
For the best experience, opt for a small tour – ask the locals, ask your hotel staff, or just go down to the water and see what is available. The more authentic (the smaller the boat), the more you will enjoy this experience.
The two floating markets to visit are:
- Cai Rang: biggest floating market in Can Tho, popular among tourists
- Phong Dien: smaller floating market, more local, more diverse offerings, and open later
Take a ride on the Canals
Another reason to take a smaller boat to the floating market is that very often you will get to ride through the canals, as well. If your boat is too big, you’ll just have to get back on the water with another guide!
The canals in Can Tho are all-natural and ages old, and are still very much a main means of transportation across the city. Along the canals are many restaurants, homes, and other attractions. The canals themselves are spectacularly authentic; looping through the city and draped over with trees and plant-life.
Visit the Rice Paper-Making Village
Enjoy a glass of locally-made wine while learning about the intricate and delicious art of making rice-paper. From the simple ingredients of rice and coconut milk; plus some favorite local ingredients for variety; guests can even learn to make rice-paper themselves, and bring it home as a souvenir.
Address: Hẻm 476, An Bình, Ninh Kiều, Cần Thơ, Vietnam
Contact: +84 91 821 42 34
Go Bird Watching
Just under 50km from Can Tho, enjoy a day of bird watching at the Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary. Get there for sunrise or sunset for the storks’ feeding times and therefore the most action and photo opportunities.
Among the bamboo and stunning greenery, see thousands of storks and other birds, such as different types of herons.The viewing area, approachable by a spiral staircase, is set at the perfect 3-meter level for optimal sightseeing.
Visit the Sacred Heart Cathedral
This Roman Catholic Cathedral stands tall, although modestly, against the Song Can Tho River. The cathedral offers a light and lovely façade, surrounded by abundant greenery.
Walk through the Luu Huu Phuoc Park
Open 24-hours a day and located in the center of Can Tho, this park is perfect for sunbathing, exercising, or people-watching.
The park’s square often hosts shows and events – so be sure to check if something of interest will be going on during your visit!
Go inside the Binh Thuy Communal House
This house is an amazing blend of cultural influences; offering intricate design and a great taste of history. A member of the founding family; the Duong’s; still inhabits the house, ensuring that it is well protected and preserved since it was built in 1807.
Beyond the architectural beauty of this French-colonial, the house is adorned with plants and flowers both inside and in the courtyard.
The house features remarkable antiques; including chandeliers, keepsake furniture, and even an altar.
Eat like a local!
Food is one of the best ways to embrace a new city or culture. Here are some local favorites in Can Tho:
- Vietnamese Crepes; stuffed with vegetables or meat (or both)
- Grilled Banana, Wrapped in Sticky Rice
- Pickled River Fish
- Banh Cong Cakes: small, fried cakes often with shrimp
- Spicy Grilled Snails
- Vietnamese Spring Rolls