We only spent one night in Cần Thơ, it was a good stopping point between Sihanoukville and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). For a unique experience, we spent the night in a rural homestay as part of our tour. The homestay was really designed for tour groups, but in a rural part of the town and in what felt very home-like (this is a city of 1.2 million, so it was quite a different experience than staying in the city center). When we first got to Cần Thơ, we stopped for lunch in the city, then spent the rest of the evening at the homestay.
What I ate
63 Thuong Dang Le Street, Chau Doc, Vietnam
We did not stay here, and reviews on the hotel didn’t look awesome. The server spoke English really well and so I was able to communicate gluten free easily. Lunch was great, although the Pho might (I mean probably) had a ton of MSG in it.
Unfortunately, I don’t have more info on where we actually stayed. But it was a great experience - although there were a lot of mosquitoes (they did provide mosquito nets above the beds), and we had opted not to do the malaria medication. But the people were great and we had a home-cooked meal that we helped prepare (granted, not everyone felt great after dinner). We made banh xeo (coconut flour and egg pancakes/crepes) with pork, tofu in sauce, green beans with garlic, squash soup, spring rolls. The explanation of the meal and getting to help make the pancakes was so much fun!
What We Did...
Even if you don’t visit this one on the Mekong delta, it really is a fun experience to visit at least one floating market! You can take a tour of the markets where you frequently find fruits and vegetables as well as crafts and full meals. How do you know what is being sold? When it’s an item (say, not a bowl of soup) it will be hung from the front of the boat on a long pole. I was also totally impressed by how people stood and steered with one foot!
We finished the tour at Pier 35, not the nicest market I have been to. If you want to eat meat again, or at least while in Vietnam – I recommend not checking out this market. Not only will you see every part of the animal (brain, hooves, intestines, etc.), but I can’t even begin to guess how long this meat was out in hot weather. If you think you can stomach it, don’t wear sandals – or shoes you care about. I totally get that this is how a lot of the world does meat – but – it was intense. Although we didn’t visit it, it sounds like most of the tours leave from the Ninh Kieu Pier, which appears to be quite a bit nicer. But if you want to see pig brains hanging out in the open air...then this is your place!
You might also be interested in my posts on Saigon, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay and Hanoi! For specifics on each city, check out each post! Or find basic information and tips for traveling gluten free in Vietnam HERE.