DIY: From the Mekong Delta to Phnom Penh

There are Mekong Delta tours advertised all over Ho Chi Minh, but they're pretty pricy. If you're looking to get from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, can it cost around $75 USD for a three-day, two-night tour. That seemed pretty steep, so we opted to do it on our own because we prefer to go on our own timeline. Plus, we would rather choose our own accommodation and food. 

Before we start, you need to understand that there are a few cities in the Mekong Delta: My Tho, Vinh Long, Cao Lanh, Can Tho, Soc Trang and Chau Doc. You'll need to research and figure out which cities you want to visit, but if you need to make it across the Cambodian border, your last stop must be Chau Doc. From here, you can take the speedboat to Phnom Penh. 

Given our limited time, we decided our route would be Ho Chi Minh - Can Tho - Chau Doc - Phnom Penh. It took three days and two nights to make it to Phnom Penh. We spent one night in Can Tho and Chau Doc. 

How to get from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh to Can Tho

You have two options: book a bus ticket with a tour agency or buy it on your own. If you book with a tour agency, make sure that they arrange a taxi ride with the price of the ticket. Our friends got it for 160,000 VND. 

If you want to get there on your own, you have to go to Mien Tay bus station. At Mien Tay station, you'll find different bus companies offering tickets at various prices. Tickets will range from 72,000 dong - 150,000 VND. The two most reputable companies are Phuong Trang (Futa) and Mai Linh. I'd probably stick to a company selling tickets in the mid-range for around 100,000 VND.

Since we tried to travel near Lunar New Year, most buses were booked solid. So, we ended up having to buy an inflated ticket at a smaller company for twice the cost. 

The bus takes around 4-5 hours to get there with a rest stop for a food and washroom break. Once you get to Can Tho, you should get dropped off at the bus station. Unfortunately, we were dropped off at the side of the road near a mall. From here, you can grab a taxi to your accommodation.

We stayed at Mekong Delta Inn, which is a small family-run hostel. Dorms are $7 USD. We liked it since they take you out to dinner and give you a city tour. We got a hot pot dinner for 45,000 VND, but we didn't really enjoy it. Although, we heard they switch up the nights and the other restaurants were quite good. Since it was close to Lunar New Year, we ended up going to visit the flower and candy market, and then trying a soursop smoothie. You only pay for the taxi ride and dinner costs. 

Day 2: Floating Village Tour and Chau Doc

To see the floating villages, we ended up booking a 6-7 hour tour with our hostel for $10 USD/person. You can also try to go to the dock at Hai Ba Trung and bargain a price for the boat, but we heard that it would be pricier that way. Our hostel also offers 3 hour tours for $15/boat. Both tours leave at 5 a.m., so get ready for an early morning.

We went to see Cai Rang Floating Village Market, which is the biggest one in the Delta. It takes around an hour on the boat to reach the market. The market opens early in the morning and closes mid-day. You'll see boats filled up with produce and buyers bargaining prices with the vendors. Some boats will sell drinks, food and snacks. It's amazing to be right in the middle of this chaotic market. 

After visiting this market, it'll be another hour boat ride to reach the second floating village. This one is much smaller and I cannot remember the name of it.  From here, you'll start to go through the canals before reaching a restaurant for a short break to grab some food or drinks and relax a bit. We had the chance the walk around the garden of the restaurant and see tropical fruit trees. 

After the break, you'll wind through more canals before reaching the main river. Your last stop will be a noodle factory where you'll see workers making Hu Tieu noodles. Just note that at the noodle factory, you're expected to give a small donation.

Once your reach the dock, where you'll need to arrange your own way back. You might need to ask someone to call a taxi, because there aren't many around. 

Once you get back, you need to take the 2:30 p.m. bus to Chau Doc. It takes around four hours to get there with a break in-between. We booked from our hostel which cost us 140,000 VND including the shuttle to the bus station. In Chau Doc, you'll get dropped off at the bus station. We lucked out, and got a shuttle to our hotel. 

We stayed at Trung Nguyen Hotel which was 13 USD for a double room. It's right in the centre of town, so there's tons of places to eat. Try Bun Ca at a local stall for 15,000 VND! 

Day 3: Chau Doc to Phnom Penh

Here's to another early morning. We booked our speedboat with Hang Chau Tourist for $25 USD. It leaves every morning at 7:30 a.m. They'll pick you up at 7:00 a.m. in a rickshaw from your accommodation. Just note that they expect a small tip. 

On the boat, they'll give you forms to fill out your visa information. You'll hand over your passport as well as $34 USD for the visa to the employees and they'll take care of the process. It takes about half an hour to reach the Vietnam border. Since they have your passport, you can take the time for a washroom break, grab food and exchange your VND to US dollars. 

You'll get back into the boat for another 10 minutes before you reach the Cambodian border. This process takes longer. You'll get your passport back and then wait in line to get stamped into Cambodia. Since we had to wait for everyone, we got delayed an hour here. This is your last break, so use the washroom if you need to. 

From here, it's a few hours to Phnom Penh. The speedboat gets pretty warm since the windows need to be closed or you'll get splashed. Otherwise, the journey is fine. You'll dock near the centre of town, where tuk tuks will ambush you to take you to your accommodation. 

Happy Travelling! 

Travel Guide and Tips: Mui Ne

Mui Ne is a small town on the coast of Southeast Vietnam known for its long stretch of beaches, sand dunes and water sports. It's a perfect getaway for locals and tourists looking for a place to relax and catch some sun. 

Things to do

Fairy Stream, Fishing Village, White Sand Dunes, Red Sand Dunes

These are the top attractions to see for Mui Ne, which can be done in a tour or on your own. The Fairy Stream takes you down a small stream to beautiful geological rock formations and red clay cliffs. The Fishing Village is filled with colour boats and tubs. It's interesting to see how the fishermen use the tubs. The white and red sand dunes are a fun visit. You can rent an ATV or Jeep to ride the dunes. 

Kite Surfing

Kite surfing is all the rage in Mui Ne. You can take kite surfing lessons and make your way out into the sea. If you're not interested in trying the sport, just heading down to the beach to watch is quite entertaining. It's crazy to see how hard it is to get up. Yet, these kit surfers make it look so easy. 

Hang out at the beach

There's a long stretch of beach near the city centre, but you'll need to walk through a resort or restaurant to get to it. The waves can be quite strong, so be careful if you're not a strong swimmer. It's better to go in the morning while the tide is low. By evening, the waves are quite rough. 

Where to Eat

Lam Tong Quan Family Restaurant

We ate here everyday. It's an affordable restaurant that serves a mix of western and local foods as well as seafood. They have western breakfast options as well. They're right by the beach, so you can eat with a beautiful view. Try the squid spring rolls and the fish with lemongrass and chilies. 

Banh Mi

There are a few Banh Mi stands within the city centre. We tried the one near the ATMs, but we didn't really like it. Apparently if you walk further, there's one stand that offers chicken Banh Mi that's really good. 


If you walk around the city centre, you'll come across a few gelato places. They usually sell a small scoop for 25,000 dong with a waffle cone. It's pretty good if you're craving sugar. 

Where to Stay

Mui Ne Backpacker Village

For budget accommodation, staying here is actually quite nice. They have about six different mixed or female dorm rooms as well as private rooms. The dorms are good since they're not bunk beds plus they give you a towel. They also have an outdoor pool to cool off in. The bar offers Happy Hour from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. where you can get 2-for-1 on certain drinks. The washrooms are always pretty clean.

They also offer a breakfast for 35,000 dong, but we heard it wasn't that great. They also offer the Sand Dunes tour for $5 USD as long as there are 6 people going. 

Happy Travelling! 

Mui Ne Sand Dunes Jeep Tour

The sand dunes in Mui Ne are one of its biggest attractions. Most tours will offer the ride to the Fairy Stream, Fishing Village, White Sand Dunes and Red Sand Dunes at sunrise (4-5 a.m. start) or sunset (1-2 p.m. start). We booked ours with our hostel for 5 USD as long as six people signed up. It comes with a small water bottle and Saigon beer.

We opted for the sunset tour because we didn't want to wake up early. Our tour started at 1:20 p.m. and lasted until sunset. When we went, it was quite busy. Our jeep was overpacked since it can only hold six people, but we had nine people that day. 

If your accommodation doesn't offer the tour, many tour agencies will offer this package for around 7 USD. 

Fairy Stream (1 hour)

At first, you'll be extremely confused when they drop you off here. You'll need to head down the stairs and you'll see a stream. Walk down the muddy stream for about a kilometre, and you'll understand why it's a worthwhile visit. 

Along the way, you'll see a an ostrich ride farm (which I don't condone) and a restaurant. Keep going and you'll start to see beautiful red and white cliffs. The contrast is quite beautiful, especially on a clear day with the blue sky. 

If you keep going, you'll end up at a small waterfall. We never saw it, but we heard it was underwhelming. 

Fishing Village (10 minutes)

The fishing village is the next stop, and it's quite a short one. You don't really need more than a few minutes there. You'll see the village from the top of the stairs, which offers the best view. If you head down the stairs to the shore, you won't be able to see as much. 

The boats are quite colourful and it's interesting to see the tubs that the fisherman use. 

White Sand Dunes (40 minutes)

The white sand dunes are about 30 minutes from the city. Once you get there, you'll need to pay an entrance fee of 10,000 dong. You'll have the option of renting a jeep or quad. The jeep costs 500,000-600,000 for the whole jeep which can fit 5-6 people. The quad costs 300,000 total, which fits two people. 

We didn't bother with either of these options and just decided to walk up the sand dunes. It doesn't take too long to walk up and you still get the view! 

However, if you're up for it, we heard the quad was quite fun. Just be careful, since it sometimes flips over. 

Red Sand Dunes (Until sunset)

The red sand dunes are closer to town, so it's more popular. The moment we arrived, we were bombarded by children asking if we want to rent a thin, plastic toboggan from them. The toboggans aren't that great, since it's hard to slide down if you're not super light. We watched a few people only get halfway down the dune. 

The dunes aren't exactly red in colouring like the Fairy Stream. It's more of a light orange colour. The red dunes are also more crowded, since there's tons of locals walking around the dunes trying to get you to rent a toboggan. 


  • You don't get too much time at each attraction, but I personally found it to be enough. We read reviews where people wanted more time to explore. So if you do like to take your time at the attractions, it might be better to rent a taxi, a private tour or ride a motorbike there. 
  • Purchasing the tour with a hostel is actually quite nice since you'll get to meet people you're staying with. Even if you're not staying at a hostel, it's a great way to meet like-minded people. 
  • We got our water bottle and beer at the end of the tour, which seemed a little weird. It definitely seemed better to get the water before you leave, since it's hot on the dunes. 

Happy Adventuring!

Travel Guide and Tips: Da Lat

Located in southern Vietnam, Da Lat is a city surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and lakes. The city has moderate temperatures all-year round, which makes it a great place to escape the heat. 

Things to Do

Pongour Falls

This cascade waterfall is located away from the city, so it's less travelled by tourists. You can get there by motorbike or taking the Bao Loc local bus for 20,000 dong. There's an entrance fee of 10,000 dong. 

Elephant Falls

This powerful waterfall is about 30 kilometres away from the city centre. It's a little tricky to get down to see the falls, because the path is quite rocky, slippery and challenging. However, if you have average fitness, you should be fine. Once you reach the bottom, there are boulders you can climb for a better view. There's an entrance fee of 10,000 dong. 

Crazy House

It's more like a huge maze with pathways that lead all over the place. This unique attraction is actually quite fun to spend an hour or two. There's an entrance fee of 40,000 dong. 

Liang Biang Mountain

If you want to get a full view of the city and surrounding areas, you can make your way up to Liang Biang Mountain. You have two options: you can hike up or take a jeep to the top. The hike takes 4-5 hours round trip. The jeep costs 50,000 dong per person. 

Datanla/Prenn Falls

This is the smallest, but closest waterfall to the city centre at 6 kilometres. It's a pretty waterfall, but not as impressive as the other two. There's an entrance fee of 10,000 dong. 

Da Lat Market

This market is located within the city centre. From clothing, produce to trinkets and plants, this market is often visited by travellers and locals. We heard that you shouldn't eat at the market because food is overpriced. 

Swan Boat Ride around the lake

If you're feeling romantic or just want to entertain your kids, you can go for a swan boat ride at the lake in the city centre. It costs 60,000 dong/hour for the swan boat, which can fit two people. 

What to Eat

Everything, really. The food here has a lot of flavour and tastes delicious. Here are some of the things we ate:

Banh Xeo

Savoury fried crepe with bean spouts, green onions and meat (pork, chicken or shrimp). It eaten by cutting it up into slices. You're given a bunch of greens and rice paper. Wrap it up like a spring roll and dip it in nuoc mam (sauce).

Banh Cuon

It's rice batter with ground pork and mushrooms with a side of bean sprouts. Sometimes it comes with cha (processed pork sausage) and thit nuong (grilled pork).  

Banh Mi

Stands usually sell these for 10,000 dong. These are the types of meat that stands usually offer:

  • Cha (Processed Pork Sausage)
  • Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork)
  • Xiu Mai (Meatballs)
  • Op-La (Fried Egg)

Banh Beo and Banh Bot Loc

Small rice pancakes with dried shrimp as well as clear dumplings with shrimp. It's eaten with nuoc mam (sauce). 

Banh Trang Nuong

This reminds me of a pizza. It's rice paper with cheese, egg, green onions, dried shrimp and other seasonings. They cook it over a grill and serve it with tamarind sauce and hot sauce. 

Hu Tieu

This is a rice noodle dish. You can eat this either "kho" (dry) or with the broth. If you eat it dry, it's just like eating noodles. You'll get the broth on the side. If you get it with the broth, then it's like eating a noodle soup. Both ways are quite tasty. 

Where to Stay

Hai Long Vuong

This budget hotel is located away from the city centre, but at a walkable distance. It's quite affordable at 11 USD for a cozy double private room. There's quite a few restaurants and food stands located a short walking distance away. They also have dorms here as well, which were empty most of our stay. 

Da Lat Backpackers Hostel

We didn't stay here, but it has a lot of good reviews. It offers mixed and female dorms for 5 USD. It also come with free breakfast and water refills. 

Happy Travelling