Travelling to South Vietnam, discovering its nature, people, and culinary arts are the desire of travel lovers. How to prepare for such a trip to this bustling area of the country must be one of your first concerns. What is awaiting you on the trip? Don’t wait any more time, read this article and find out interesting insights about South Vietnam cities!
1. Ho Chi Minh City – The most bustling city of Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, which was also known as Sai Gon, has been a hub in the south of Vietnam in terms of politics, economy and culture. The city has a lot of interesting destinations to visit like Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, Tan Dinh Church, Bui Vien Street in the downtown and relic sites like Cu Chi Tunnels in the outskirts.
You should try local delicacies like steamed broken rice with grilled pork chops; bread with pork, cucumber, pickled carrot, daikon radish, scallion and cilantro; noodle soup with broth made from pork bones and topped with pork thighs slices, minced pork, pieces of pork ribs, dried shrimp, quail eggs, and chopped green onions.
2. Kien Giang – A famous place with many beautiful islands
Kien Giang province is the second largest province in the southwestern region and in the Mekong Delta. The province is home to Phu Quoc Island, also known as the “Pearl Island”, a magnet to both domestic and foreign tourists. Phu Quoc’s allure lies in its pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs, making it a paradise for sun-seekers and snorkeling enthusiasts alike. Beyond its natural beauty, the island offers a range of activities including water sports, hiking in lush forests, and exploring local night markets.
You should pay visit to Phu Quoc Night Market, Long Beach, Ham Ninh Fishing Village, VinWonders Phu Quoc, Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc, Grand World Phu Quoc, Vinpearl Golf Phu Quoc, Corona Casino to experience local traditional culture and many fun activities. Visitors should try various local delicacies like salad made from herring, steamed crab, sea cucumber soup, grilled sea urchin, crab blood pudding, fish and pork noodle and grilled mackerel.
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3. Can Tho – A good destination to explore floating markets
Can Tho is situated on the southern bank of Hau River and a distributary of Mekong River. Can Tho is the largest city in the Mekong Delta region. Named as the metropolis of the Southwestern region, Can Tho has played the role of a major political, commercial, cultural and transportation centre of the region. The city has many interesting places to explore like Binh Thuy Ancient House, Can Tho Bridge, Ninh Kieu Wharf and Cai Rang Floating Market.
Here, the local food is also famous with dishes like fish sauce hot pot, grilled snakehead fish, fried shrimp cake, and Can Tho pancake.
4. Tay Ninh – An excellent choice for those who love tranquility
Tay Ninh is in the southeastern region of Vietnam, some 100 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh City. It shares a 240-kilometer-long border with Cambodia to the west and has been acting as an important connection point between Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh city. Tay Ninh has many best places to visit in South Vietnam like Ba Den Mountain, Tay Ninh Holy See, Ma Thien Lanh Valley, Dau Tieng Lake, and Lo Go Xa Mat National Park. Most of these places have a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere.
The locality has various special dishes including Trang Bang banh banh noodle, Ba Den mountain lizard and Tay Ninh dew-soaked rice paper.
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5. Vung Tau – A well-known destination for beach lovers
Vung Tau city is a coastal city of Ba Ria – Vung Tau province. Being one of the most bustling South Vietnam cities, it is a hub for economy, culture, tourism, traffic and education in the southeastern region. The city has two main beaches, namely Bai Sau and Bai Truoc, and various South Vietnam highlights like a giant Jesus statue, a Buddha statue, the White Palace, Vung Tau Sea Light and Robert Taylor’s Weapon Museum.
Local delicacies like Khot Cake, stingray hot pot and various seafood are highly recommended to visitors.
6. Dong Thap – One of the best places to visit in South Vietnam
Dong Thap is one among 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta region and the only one that has both the banks of Tien River. The province borders Long An and Tien Giang in the east, An Giang in the west, Vinh Long and Can Tho in the south and Long An and Cambodia in the north. This positioning has led to a dynamic exchange of traditions and commerce, resulting in a vibrant tapestry of local customs and flavors. The province’s close proximity to Cambodia further enhances its cross-border interactions, fostering connections that have shaped its identity over time.
Located in a fertile land of the western region, the province has many interesting places to discover like Huynh Thuy Le Ancient House, Xeo Quyt Tourism Site, Thap Muoi Lotus Pond Ecological Site, Phuoc Kien Pagoda, Sa Dec Flower Village and Phuong Nam Ecological Tourism Site.
The province is considered as a land of lotus, so locals have created various delicious and nutritious dishes from lotus like lotus root salad, steamed rice in wrapped lotus leaves, baked snakehead fish wrapped in young lotus leaves, and sweet lotus seed gruel.
7. Soc Trang – A great choice for spiritual tourism
Soc Trang is located in the lower section of Hau River in the Mekong Delta. It has the typical culture of the western region, where three ethnic groups reside, namely Kinh, Khmer and Chinese. The land has various peaceful natural landscapes, pagodas and temples with unique architecture, vibrant cuisine, and especially warm-hearted local people.
You should not miss out on Nga Nam Floating Market, Bat Pagoda, Som Rong Pagoda, Chen Kieu Pagoda, Kh’leang Pagoda, Ong Bon Pagoda, Soc Trang Truc Lam Zen Monastery, My Phuong Islet, Mo O Sea and Tan Long Stork Garden.
The province is an unforgettable place with many delicacies like sweet Pia Cake with minced mung bean, durian, salted yolk and taro; noodle with fish, shrimp, and pork, which is a combination of the cuisine arts made by the three ethnic groups Kinh, Khmer and Chinese; Thanh Tri dried buffalo meat; shrimp cake; noodle with duck meat and pepper.
8. An Giang – One of the best places for backpacking
An Giang is a province in the southwestern region, in the Mekong River Delta. As a key economic zone of the delta, An Giang borders Cambodia in the north and northwest, Kien Giang province in the southwest, Can Tho province in the south and Dong Thap province in the east. Its border with Cambodia has fostered cross-border trade and cultural exchanges that have left an indelible mark on its identity. The province’s landscape is characterized by lush rice paddies, picturesque waterways, and charming floating markets that epitomize the delta’s vibrant way of life.
The province is famed for Tra Su Cajuput Forest which has unique sceneries and rich flora and fauna. Co To Mountain and Latina Lake are other notable natural landscapes in the province. Backpackers like to take photos with the heart-shaped cluster of Thot Not trees (Asian Palmyra palm tree) in Tri Ton district. The trees are in the middle of an immense field of rice. The province has various architectural masterpieces like Al-ehsan Mosque, Giong Thanh Pagoda, the remnants of Koh Kas Pagoda, which have attracted a lot of visitors.
An Giang has a diverse cuisine with highly recommended dishes like fish noodle; Sau Dau salad; fish sauce hot pot; Long Xuyen steamed broken rice served with fried pork chops, stew eggs and pickles; seven dishes of beef in Sam Mountain; fried sticky rice served with grilled chicken; O Thum chicken grilled over bamboo leaves.
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9. Ca Mau – Where to find the beauty of rivers
As the southernmost land of the country, Ca Mau has the typical geological features of a watery landscape with many gentle rivers. The whole province is situated in Ca Mau Peninsula, in the Mekong River Delta. The land faces the sea in three directions while it borders Bac Lieu and Kien Giang provinces in the north.
Watery landscape is popular in areas with tourist destinations like Ca Mau Floating Market, Ca Mau Mangrove Forest, Ca Mau Cape, and Bird Garden. Ca Mau is the only place in the country that has a bird sanctuary right inside the city with various kinds of birds, making it a suitable place for nature lovers. Hon Khoai Island, U Minh Ha National Park and Nam Can Arenga Forest are other highly recommended destinations for visitors.
As a coastal province, Ca Mau is nicknamed a “land of silverfish and gold shrimp”. It is famous for various seafoods like Ca Mau crab, oyster, Thoi Loi fish, Len snail, and mantis shrimp that can be processed in many ways.
10. Tien Giang – One of the large-scale fruit hubs of Vietnam
Tien Giang is a coastal province in the Mekong River Delta and a key economic zone in the south. Its capital city is My Tho. The province borders Ho Chi Minh City and the sea in the east, Dong Thap province in the west, Ben Tre and Vinh Long provinces in the south and Long An province in the north. Though it is a small province, Tien Giang is rich in beautiful landscapes which mark the history and culture of the southern people.
A strong impression that visitors will have when they come to the province is the lush fruit gardens. Hence, Tien Giang is named as a large-scale fruit hub in the South of Vietnam. Visitors can enjoy the fruits in Thoi Son Islet, Vinh Kim Fruit Garden and Cai Be Garden Area. Tan Thanh Sea, Cai Be Floating Market, Dong Tam Snake Farm, Cai Be Church and Vinh Trang Pagoda are other popular destinations in the province.
The land attracts visitors with various delicacies like My Tho noodle; banana mixed with coconut and sugar; sour noodle with shrimp, pork and herbs; fried egg with minced pork in Gao Market; gruel with snakehead fish; shellfish in Go Cong Sea; star apple from Lo Ren Vinh Kim.
11. Bac Lieu – Where to enjoy plenty of rustic foods
Bac Lieu, nestled within the captivating Mekong River Delta, holds its own allure within the realm of South Vietnam tourism. Perched gracefully on the Ca Mau Peninsula, the province’s geographical diversity is a treasure trove for visitors seeking an authentic experience. Its borders, connecting with neighboring provinces like Hau Giang, Soc Trang, and Kien Giang, weave a rich tapestry of cultural exchanges and shared traditions that resonate throughout the delta.
The province has long been known as a fertile and prosperous area with various tourist attractions like Bac Lieu Rich Man’s House, Bac Lieu Offshore Wind Farm, Vinh Hung Ancient Tower, Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary, Bac Lieu Salt Field, Hung Thien Pagoda, Xiem Can Pagoda, and Tac Say Cathedral.
The province also has special dishes that can impress visitors including fish sauce hot pot; Bac Lieu pancake with shrimp, pork and herbs; spicy beef noodles; and noodles stirred in fat with thin slices of pork served with fried spring rolls.
12. Vinh Long – A not-to-be-missed place in South Vietnam travel
Vinh Long Province is located around two main branches of the Mekong River namely Tien and Hau rivers. On the map, it looks like a lozenge shape at the heart of the Mekong Delta. Vinh Long borders Ben Tre province in the east, Tra Vinh province in the southeast, Can Tho province in the west, Dong Thap province in the northwest, Tien Giang province in the northeast and Hau Giang and Soc Trang provinces in the southwest.
Being neither too modern like Ho Chi Minh City nor too ancient like An Giang, Vinh Long has its own way to attract visitors. Places like Tra On Floating Market, Vinh Long Ancient House Ecological Area, An Binh Islet, Long An Pagoda, Tien Chau Pagoda, Hung Loi Brick Field, and Long Thanh Communal House have become more and more popular among visitors.
Vinh Long has many special dishes like steamed snail with ginger leaves, sour fish soup, baked snakehead fish, crispy fried giant gourami, baked field mouse, Tra On stew fish, and pancake filled with mussels.
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13. Tra Vinh – An ideal destination to explore Khmer culture
Tra Vinh is another Mekong Delta province that has beautiful landscapes and a unique culture combination of Kinh, Khmer and Chinese ethnic groups.
In the east, Tra Vinh has a 65-kilometre-long coastline; in the west, it borders Vinh Long province; in the south, it has Hau River as a natural border with Soc Trang province while in the north, it has Co Chien River as a border with Ben Tre province.
The province has many famous destinations like Ba Om Pond which is near the Khmer Ethnic Traditional Museum; Khmer pagodas like Ang Pagoda and Vam Ray Pagoda. The latter is the largest of its kind in the western region with typical architecture created by Cambodian people. In addition, nature lovers can visit Ba Dong Sea, Tan Quy Islet and Long Tri Islet.
The three ethnic groups in the province have created a diverse cuisine with significant dishes like noodle with grilled pork and vegetables; local baked crab; sticky rice cake filled with mung bean and sugar; noodle with pork, offal, pig’s tongue, leg and ear; noodle with fried shrimp paste; and gruel with snakehead fish.
To sum up, South Vietnam is so diverse in terms of natural landscapes, ethnic groups, cuisines, lifestyles and cultures. The above-listed cities in South Vietnam will be helpful enough for you to prepare for a trip to this interesting region. Each province and city has its own attractions and mysteries to explore. You will not waste a single minute here, for sure! Come to experience, enjoy, relax and entertain yourself to understand the region so that you cannot wait to return whenever you have free time.