South Vietnam

My journey started at Ho Chi Minh City  (aka Saigon) and from there I explored the south of this diverse country. To visit Vietnam you need to apply to your Visa beforehand, there is no possibility to get a Visa once you are at the border or the airport.

Ho Chi Minh City has a pulsate and chaotic energy. The traffic is something beyond explanation, but despite that, it’s full of life and the best way to explore the city is losing yourself in the street.

This is what I recommend to visit:

  • Jade Emperor Pagoda
  • Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda
  • Binh Tay Market
  • Ben Thanh Market
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Cho Lon area

Once in HCMC don’t miss the coffee, it’s a true delight.


Mekong Delta has many places to explore, and it’s incredible beautiful and exotic with its water floating world. You need time to explore all its beauty and it’s innumerable rivers, canals and, streams that cross the landscape.

I need to say that’s possible to visit the Mekong Delta without a tour and is actually quite easy. You just need to ask around and combine different ways of transport, bus, ferry and motorbikes.


You have so many options to choose from, that taking a decision is pretty difficult mostly when you don’t have much time, so I will leave a small list of the best places I visit:

  • Ben Tre it’s very picturesque and less tourist than My Tho. This area is famous for its keo dua (coconut candy)
  • Ha Tien – it’s beautiful, has a nice riverside market, lots of caves to visit some of which have been turned into temples. Thach dong cave pagoda deserves a visit.
  • Tra Vinh – for me is one of the charming  towns in the Mekong Delta
  • Minh Long – has the Cai Be floating market that is always busy, carrying all the characteristics of the locals’ life.
  • Sam Mountain– has a strong Chinese influence and its full of pagodas and temple the Cavern Pagoda it’s a nice one to visit.
  • Can Tho – is the largest city in the region you can visit the floating markets, Phong Dien, Cai Rang  and take a boat along the  canals.  Phung Hiep is the biggest and busiest floating market in the Mekong Delta it opens at 4.00 am closes at 11.00 am.

Asian Markets are always my first choice to eat, and Vietnam wasn’t an exception, I especially enjoyed the rice paper wrapped spring rolls, fruit and, smoothies.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

18 thoughts on “South Vietnam

  1. Leah

    I’ve had several friends suggest Vietnam, and I look forward to getting there sooner rather than later. Good advice about the visa application. As a Canadian, I count myself extremely lucky; I almost never have to worry about visas.

    I’ll have to revisit this post for suggestions whenever I do get around to going.

  2. Ron Hillmar

    Great article and so agree on traveling through Mekong without tours, it´s so easy to skip the crowds, we ended up in Sa Dec, only one hotel and no tourists around and a floating market where we were the sight and not the other way around 😉
    Loved Ha Tien and the amazing seafood market as well, some of the best seafood I´ve had in SE Asia! Cheers and safe travels, Ron.

  3. Evangelina

    When you say “lose yourself in the streets of Ho Chi Minh city” – did you feel safe, was safety an issue at all while in Vietnam? What month did you go?

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