Can Tho (Vietnamese Can Tho), the name comes from “cầm thi giang” – river of poems, is a city in Vietnam The city, regarded as “Western capital”, with an estimated population of 1,121,000 as of 2004, is the biggest city in the Mekong Delta.
By road, allow about 1.5 hours from Sóc Trăng, about 3 hours from Châu Đốc, about 3.5 hours from Rạch Giá, about 5 hours from Ho Chi Minh City (85,000 dong), about 6 hours from Cà Mau and about 1.5 hours from Long Xuyen.
It is possible to rent a car for US$110-130 for a return trip for 2-3 passengers from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho; or move by local minibus, which offer better and better services; for about US$5-8, and departing every hour or so from the Ho Chi Minh City western bus station (Bến Xe Miền Tây, Xa Cảng).
The only boats traveling to Can Tho (or Chau Doc) from Ho Chi Minh are the Victoria Hotel speedboats, restricted to guests of the Victoria Hotel chain, and other multi-day tour options. All other companies have closed these routes. (Please check this information as Victoria Hotel does not run boats on his own but using third party companies services –Cà Phê Ðá 04:22, 26 September 2008 (EDT)).
Thanh Nhan Express also runs between Ho Chi Minh and Ninh Kieu pier-Can Tho (250,000 dong as of december 2008) and will take you 3.5 hours. ( 1pm leaves at Can Tho and 8:00am leaves at HCM city almost daily, possibly two trips each way on high season).
Ticketing Booth: Can Tho: 2 Hai Ba Trung Street 0710 817817 Ho Chi Minh: 2 Ton Duc Thang Street 08 914 7979
Trà Nóc Airport (IATA: VCA|ICAO: VVCT) is currently being expanded and upgraded to international status, with completion for international flights due in 2010.
As of 2009, the airport is connected only to Hanoi, with daily flights on Vietnam Airlines and four times weekly service on Jetstar/Pacific.
Can Tho is a regional hub, so it is rather easy to get to and from all the surrounding provinces.
- By bus or minibus, from the bus station, now located at the crossroads of Nguyen Trai (Nguyễn Trãi) and CMT8 (Cách Mạng Tháng 8), but soon to be relocated to 91B 3/2 (Chín mươi mốt B Ba tháng hai)
- By boat, there are rather affordable services of speedboat
- By xe lôi
- On foot (đi bộ)
The main market of Can Tho used to be located on Ninh Kiều pier, and be mostly an open market. Today, the only original building left is the beautiful old market hall, now surrounded with a garden along the river.
New markets have been built to host the increasing activity, on Cái Khế peninsula and further upstream the Can Tho river.
The canal system around Can Tho is a fascinating travel network, much more relaxed than the bustling roads. Hire a small row boat (probably with a small diesel motor as well) that can take you through the small canals that the larger tour boats can’t. Tours from 6am to 2pm, including two floating markets and various sites along the canals, can be found for under 250,000 dong per person.
There are many supermarkets in Can Tho such as : Coopmart (Hoa Binh Street), Metro Hung Loi (91B)[you need a special registration card to shop here], Citymark, Maximark, Vinatex Plaza…
Can Tho main market at Cái Khế is a really typical and colored place where you will find a true Vietnamese market.
Can Tho is famous for delicate cuisine and extra-fresh fruit and vegetables, and a good place to try and eat the fruit you would not usually like: you may well find they are very tasty and enjoyable.
Among the local produce, you may like to try mangoes, oranges, jackfruit, pomeloes, grapefruit, but also custard apple, corossol, longans or even durian.
- Nam Bo (Nam Bộ) is seated in an old French-era building of the Comptoirs d’Indochine, and serves very tasty Vietnamese as well as some Western cuisine such as pizza and spaghetti. The service is nice and efficient, and a surprising variety of languages is spoken there, from English to French to Dutch and even some Japanese.
- Sao Hom (Sao Hôm) is located in the central market’s hall, facing the Can Tho river, and serves a large palette of Vietnamese cuisine, as well as some western food, too. The ambiance at night is unique.
- Golf Hotel is now offering a lunch buffet for 30.000VND. The place is not really pleasant but quiet and air conditionned. More important, quality and choice for the meals are ok.
- In Cái Khế ward, Phở Cali (Trần Văn Kéo street, close to the central market in front of the Exhibition Center) and the Citimart supermarket Fast Food (Nguyễn Trãi street, at the crossing with Trần Văn Kéo street) offers good vietnamese and western meals in clean and air conditionned places for reasonnable prices.
Vietnamese people are used to enjoy drinking coffee (in fact sugar, strong coffee and a lot of ice), fresh coconut juice, or other drinks (lemon juice, orange juice) in one of the many small bars along the streets or the markets.
If you want to spend some hours just as Vietnamese would do, the best places certainly are on the river side. The most famous ones could be near the Ninh Kiều peer. Just in front of the three stars Ninh Kiều hotel, there is a popular and really affordable place but it is sometime crowded, especially when students have free time.
A bit more difficult to reach, but really typical, the Bãi Cát pier (former beach on the Mekong) is a really good spot to have an eye on the boats cruising on the main river.
- The Phuong Dong Hotel is situated in the centre of Can Tho with easy access to the business and financial areas. The Hua and Can Tho Rivers are a few minutes drive away. It is 4 hours drive from Tan Son Nhat International Airport. This small hotel offers cozy, comfortable rooms and has facilities suitable for both leisure and business travellers. Address:No. 62, 30-4 Street – Can Tho city – Vietnam
- Saigon Can Tho Hotel, your safe and clean home is a combination of Vietnamese hospitality and international standard. The Saigon Can Tho Hotel provides large, plainly decorated rooms and has good standard facilities and services. The Saigon Can Hotel is located in the heart of the city centre, within walking distance of Can Tho Market and Ninh Kieu Quay. It also offers easy access to the financial, shopping and entertainment areas. Address: 55 Phan Dinh Phung Street – Can Tho city – Vietnam
From Can Tho you can easily reach other peaceful cities of the Mekong Delta such as Sóc Trăng, Châu Đốc, Sa Đéc Rạch Giá and Cà Mau.