Can Tho is in the south of Vietnam on the Mekong and this location quickly became a highlight of our trip. The pace is slower after spending time in Saigon and the vibe is very chilled. The Nguyen Shack Homestay where we stayed made our trip so memorable and it felt like home.
We caught a bus with the Futa bus company from Ho Chi Minh City, which took 3 hours. The tickets cost about $5 a person and we purchased them the morning of the trip about two hours before we wanted to leave. Once the tickets were purchased, the bus company shuttled us to a bigger bus station. The bus trip was broken up with a stop half way for about 10 mins where you could use the facilities and grab a quick bite to eat. The bus ride was easy, clean and a super cheap way to get from Saigon to Can Tho. There are plenty of taxis waiting at the Can Tho bus station to take you to your accommodation.
There is a large variety of places to stay in the city of Can Tho but we opted to stay at the amazing Nguyen Shack Can Tho. This accommodation was the highlight of Can Tho for our family. The staff members immediately felt like long lost friends and the attention to detail was outstanding. We were given a welcome drink of refreshing lime juice on arrival and then helped to our room. We had to cross the long bridge over the river and then a short walk to our very own shack. The wooden shack was very rustic and very modern at the same time. Big beds, balconies overlooking the water and a bathroom without a roof that was very private yet had an awesome view. The room had Wi-Fi, a fridge, hammocks on the deck and a small lounge. Water and snacks were complimentary and restocked each day when the room was serviced.
The Nguyen Shack has a restaurant and bar on site and includes a huge delicious breakfast each morning. We had a few dinners here also and each dish was yummy. And not to forget the great cocktails they make which can be taken to your room to enjoy while the kids are asleep.
Activities in Can Tho
The Nguyen Shack is a great base to be as they have many activities for you to choose from. The excursions are reasonably priced and our children were only charged half the adult price.
We took a sunset cruise, which was with 10 people in a long low boat that went around the river system. We were given a bottle of water and there was a stop for pineapple where we watched a lady peel pineapples and then we were all given a quarter to eat. This was all included in the price of the tour. The boat then went along the Mekong Delta as we watched the sunset. A lovely trip that we all enjoyed and gave us a great introduction to the river system.
A huge bucket list item for me in Vietnam was to visit a morning floating market. We joined the Nguyen Shack tour at 5.30am to then head to the floating market. At the floating market, we let our lovely guide know what we wanted to eat. We had pork rolls, noodle bowls and of course coffee! After we had spent time cruising around the market in our long boat we stopped at a land market. Our guide walked us through the market as she purchased Vietnamese treats for us to try. We tried different breads, cakes and fruit. We went to the rice noodle factory and shop to have a look and then returned to the Shack for breakfast at about 9am.
The Bike Tour was the other activity that we chose to participate in at the Shack. There were 10 people on our tour and our bikes were well serviced and easy to ride. The kids found the ride very easy as it was mainly flat and we were only on the bikes for 10-15mins at a time. We spent 3 hours riding around the local village. We had many stops including a family that makes clay pots, rice factory, local doctor, rice wine factory, a local school and the pagoda that the Nguyen Shack supports. The pagoda is a monk temple that housed an orphanage and it is where we had a lovely lunch.
The is also a food tour and cooking classes that you can do when staying at the Nguyen Shack. We chose to catch a taxi into town and try the food ourselves in Can Tho city.
Heading in Can Tho City
The Nguyen Shack accommodation is 6km out of town and the Shack will call you a taxi if you want to head into town. We had a great evening in the town. We headed in for lunch and then stayed until we had dinner at the night markets. There is a great restaurant that you can roll your own spring rolls with all the local ingredients. Head to Nem Nuong Thanh Van for a delicious meal and great experience.
We walked along the riverfront of Can Tho and explored the streets and laneways. The city is so much calmer after being in Saigon and it has a lovely feel to it. We stayed for the Night Food Markets. All the street food vendors are in a large circle and you can try so many different types of Can Tho food. We also headed up to the SkyBar for a drink and a wonderful view of the river and city.
We spent three night at the Shack which was the perfect amount of time. After being in busy Saigon it was lovely to relax and feel the calm of the river. The staff at The Shack made our stay so memorable and they made us feel so very valued.
We used VietJet Airlines at Can Tho airport to fly to Hanoi. The airport is about 45mins from The Nguyen Shack.
You can read about how we prepared for our Vietnam holiday here.