Welcome to Ca Mau, Vietnam's southernmost province and a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its untouched wilderness, stunning coastline, and rich cultural heritage, Ca Mau offers a unique travel experience for those seeking an authentic adventure off the beaten path. Additionally, you also have a chance to try many delicious local dishes that bear the hallmark of Ca Mau's unique flavors. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will take you on a journey to uncover the wonders of Ca Mau and provide you with all the information you need to plan your perfect trip.
The Ca Mau Cape, located at the southernmost point of Vietnam, is the only place in the country where visitors can watch both the sunrise and sunset over the sea
Ca Mau is known for its vast mangrove forests, which are home to a diverse range of unique flora and fauna, ranking second in the world after the Amazon rainforest in South America
The name "Ca Mau" was derived from the Khmer language, meaning “Black Water”, due to the dark color of water caused by fallen mangrove leaves in the U Minh area. The name has been passed down through generations and is still used today.
The Dark Color Of Water Caused By Fallen Mangrove Leaves In The U Minh Forest
Best time to visit Ca Mau
Ca Mau has a relatively mild and pleasant climate throughout the year. However, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. This period is considered the ideal time for tourism due to the favorable weather conditions for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The rainy season lasts from May to November, so it's best to avoid traveling during this time. If you plan to visit Ca Mau in July or August, you will have the opportunity to savor many delicious local dishes and specialties.
Getting to Ca Mau: Transportation Options
From Hanoi Or Other North Provinces
The easiest and most convenient way is to take a flight to Can Tho, which is the nearest airport to Ca Mau. You can choose from Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, or Bamboo Airlines for a direct flight to Can Tho. The flight duration is approximately 2 hours, and ticket prices range from 1,500,000 VND to 2,000,000 VND. (US $64 - 86)
Once you arrive at Can Tho airport, you can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to the Can Tho bus station. From there, you can catch a sleeper bus to Ca Mau. The journey takes around 4-5 hours, covering a distance of approximately 150 km. The ticket price for a sleeper bus ranges from 125,000 VND to 150,000 VND (about US $5.5 - 6.5)
Travel To Ca Mau By Airplane
From Ho Chi Minh City
If you are planning to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Ca Mau, taking a coach is a convenient option. Ca Mau is located more than 300 km away from Ho Chi Minh City, and the journey usually takes around 7-8 hours. Coaches typically depart in the evening and arrive at the city center of Ca Mau the next morning. The ticket price for this route ranges from 190,000 to 200,000 VND per one-way trip (about US $9). There are several reputable coach companies that operate on this route, you can easily book your tickets by calling their hotline numbers:
Phuong Trang – hotline: 1900 6067
Mai Linh – hotline: (028) 39 39 39 39
Tuan Hung – hotline: (028) 39 63 63 63
Coach Is A Convenient Option If You Travel To Ca Mau From Ho Chi Minh City
Getting around Ca Mau
When it comes to getting around Ca Mau, the best mode of transportation is a motorbike. It allows you to easily navigate through the city's narrow streets and explore its many attractions. If you plan to travel long distances, taking a taxi is a good option. Another popular way to get around is by boat. Ca Mau has an extensive network of rivers, canals, and waterways, making boats, ferries, and motorized sampans a common sight. This mode of transportation is not only practical but also provides a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings.
Motorbike Is The Most Popular Means Of Transportation To Get Around Ca Mau
Accommodation in Ca Mau
You should stay in the city center for easy access to the local restaurants, shops, and other services in Ca Mau. However, the variety of hotels in Ca Mau is limited on online booking platforms. It is best to contact the hotel directly when making a reservation. The price ranges from 300,000 to 1,500,000 VND per night (US $12.8 - 64), depending on the quality of the hotel.
For those looking for a luxurious stay, there are four-star hotels such as Muong Thanh Luxury or Phu Cuong Hotel with a price of around 1,300,000 VND per night (US $56), and three-star hotels like Anh Nguyet or International Hotel with a price of around 900,000 VND per night (US $39).
If you prefer to stay amidst nature in Ca Mau, there are many eco-tourism sites and homestays to choose from, such as Huong Dat Mui, Khanh An Ca Mau, Rung Duoc, Dong Anh Homestay, Phu Cuong Homestay, Tu Ty Homestay, Ba Su Homestay, etc. The price starts from around 70,000 VND per person per night (US $3).
Muong Thanh 4 Star Hotel
Things To Do & Where To Visit At Ca Mau
Cape Ca Mau
Cape Ca Mau, also known as Mũi Cà Mau, is a land of great significance as it is the southernmost point of Vietnam and the location of the GPS coordinate marker 0001 (number zero). This marker takes the shape of a ship with sails billowing in the wind, reaching out to the sea. Cape Ca Mau is also a place where visitors can observe the sunrise over the sea in the east and the sunset over the sea in the west.
To reach this destination, visitors must take a 3-hour high-speed boat ride from the coastal pier. Once they arrive, you can explore the National Coordinate Marker, admire the stunning natural scenery of the sea and forest, visit the simulated resistance village, and marvel at the symbol of Cape Ca Mau.
Cape Ca Mau
When visiting Ca Mau, make sure to explore the unique floating market, which is a characteristic cultural feature of the Mekong Delta region. This market takes place on the Ganh Hao River in Ward 8 of the city center, where the Tien, Hau, and Trem Rivers meet, making it an ideal location for river trading activities. The main items sold at this market are agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables.
While at the floating market, you can experience the thrilling feeling of sitting on a swaying boat as it floats along the canals. You will have the opportunity to witness and participate in the trading of goods between boats and rafts. Don't miss the chance to sit on a boat, enjoy breakfast, drink coffee, and watch people go by at this one-of-a-kind market.
Immerse In The Vibrant Floating Market Of Ca Mau
Da Bac Island
Da Bac Island is a renowned and pristine island with stunning natural beauty, featuring rocks that are estimated to have formed 180 million years ago. It is a beautiful cluster of three islands located close to each other, including Hon Ong Ngo, Hon Da Le, and Hon Da Bac. This place is considered the most beautiful landscape in the region. Da Bac Island owns some incredibly fascinating works of nature, with rocks stacked on top of each other. Additionally, there is a whale skeleton frame that is worshipped here to commemorate the Whale God who saved fishermen in distress.
Da Bac is Considered The Most Beautiful Island of The Region
Hon Khoai Island
Hon Khoai Island is a true gem, surrounded by majestic rock formations, rolling hills, and green forests. Its pristine ecosystem boasts over 1,400 plant species, some of which have high economic value. In the spring, the Hon Khai transforms into an island of golden yellow flowers, creating a breathtaking sight for visitors. You can also climb up to the 100-year-old lighthouse, which offers a stunning panoramic view of the blue sea and surrounding islands, with a telescope available for observing nearby islands or the sacred land of Cape Ca Mau from afar.
The Panoramic View of the Island
U Minh Ha National Park
U Minh Ha National Park is located in the biosphere reserve of Mui Ca Mau. You'll get to explore the unique ecosystem of the flooded land with its diverse flora and fauna. Take a boat to travel across the mangrove forest, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air with thousands of lush green cajuput trees around.
One experience that you should not miss is enjoying the special Southern cuisine or trying honey harvesting with local people while listening to their interesting anecdotes.
Take A Boat Trip To Explore The Diverse Ecosystem Of U Minh Ha Forest
Ngoc Hien Bird Sanctuary
Ngoc Hien Bird Sanctuary is one of the largest natural bird sanctuaries in Vietnam, covering an area of 130 hectares. It is home to a diverse range of rare bird species and abundant vegetation. You can come early in the morning to witness thousands of birds searching for food or watch them fly across the sky during sunset. Other destinations to observe wild birds include Tu Su, Ca Mau, Cha La, and Dam Doi Bird Sanctuary.
There Is A Wide Range Of Bird Species In Ngoc Hien Bird Sanctuary
Thi Tuong Lagoon
If you're looking for a peaceful and beautiful destination, Thi Tuong Lagoon is a great option. Located about 2 hours away from Ca Mau city by boat, it's the largest lagoon in the Mekong Delta with a length of 12 km. The lagoon is divided into three main parts - Upper Lagoon, Middle Lagoon, and Lower Lagoon - and the Middle Lagoon is the largest of them all.
While riding a motorboat on the lagoon, you can enjoy the stunning natural scenery and observe the daily life of local fishermen. You can also try your hand at fishing activities such as netting, catching fish, and crabbing. Additionally, don't forget to savor fresh and delicious seafood like fish, clams, shrimp, and crabs here.
Discover The Beauty Of The River Life At Thi Tuong Lagoon
Forestry and Fishery 184 (Lam Ngu Truong 184)
Forestry and Fishery 184 is situated in the heart of the Nam Can mangrove forest, Nam Can district. This vast and diverse biological area serves as a sanctuary for the conservation and protection of various species, which is why it is home to many rare plants and animals. The garden boasts a picturesque landscape that brings peace to visitors. You can even paddle deep into the mangrove forest and observe monkeys playing on trees.
Forestry And Fishery 184 Is Conserving And Protecting Various Species Of Plants And Animals
Khai Long Beach
Khai Long Beach is a beautiful eco-tourism destination in Ca Mau, Vietnam. The beach boasts a long stretch of white sand with calm waters and a surrounding mangrove forest ecosystem that creates a cool and relaxing atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities beyond swimming, such as catching shrimp and crabs along the seashore at low tide or paddling through the dense mangrove forest like a fisherman.
Additionally, you can find a variety of fresh seafood at one of the small roadside stalls, enjoying a plate of boiled crab or steamed shrimp while listening to the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore.
The Pristine Beauty of Khai Long Beach
Cai Tau Yellow Fruit Garden
Cai Tau Yellow Fruit Garden is located in Nguyen Phich commune, about 30 km west of the city center of Ca Mau. This garden has existed and developed for hundreds of years and still preserves many ancient “yellow strawberry” trees. The yellow “strawberry” here is a special fruit tree that only grows in the Mekong Delta region, where Cai Tau has the largest area.
Every year, from April to the end of June, the garden is open to welcome visitors to come and take photos. Here, tourists can pick fresh and ripe fruit to enjoy and bring back as gifts for family and friends. Visitors can also take a ride on the three-leaf boats, weaving through small canals to enjoy the peaceful scenery while trying this special fruit.
Try The Special Fruit At Cai Tau Garden
Eco-Tourism Area - Trem River
If you're looking for a unique eco-tourism experience, consider visiting the Trem River. This 42-kilometer river winds through the mysterious U Minh forest, creating a beautiful and unusual landscape. One of the most striking features of the Trem River is the way its water changes color throughout the year. During the dry season, the water is clear enough to see the riverbed, but during the rainy season, the water becomes darker due to runoff from nearby canals and mangrove forests.
You can take a boat tour to explore the diverse and stunning ecosystem of the Trem River. Along the way, there are many dreamy and picturesque scenery for you to take photos. And don't forget to try some of the specialties at this area.
Explore The Natural Scenery Of Trem River
Ca Mau Crab
Ca Mau Crab is famous for its delicious taste, as it lives in a diverse ecosystem with a rich source of food. You can easily find fresh, sweet and firm meat crabs that are also safe for your health because they are raised in a completely natural environment. With an affordable price range of about 450,000 - 550,000 VND (US $19.2 - 23.5), you can buy a kilogram of fresh crabs. In addition, you can also visit local restaurants to try various crab dishes, from simple boiled, steamed, grilled to more elaborate dishes such as tamarind stir-fry, hotpot, and crab noodle soup.
Ca Mau Crab Is One Of The Must Try Dishes in Ca Mau
Vop is a species that has a shell similar to clams, but it is larger in size and usually found in mudflats, estuaries, and mangrove forests. The Vop in Ca Mau is often much firmer and sweeter than those found in other regions. To fully enjoy the freshness and sweetness of Vop, you should try the famous grilled Vop dish in Ca Mau. After being thoroughly cleaned, Vop is grilled with oil, roasted peanuts, scallions, and served with a dipping sauce made of salt, pepper, and lime juice. Additionally, locals also prepare Vop in various other dishes such as sour soup, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, or served with tamarind sauce.
Don't Forget To Try Grilled Vop
Cerithidea Obtusa (Oc Len)
Cerithidea Obtusa, also known as The Obtuse Horn Shell or Mud Creeper (Vietnamese name: Oc Len), is commonly found in mangrove forests or tidal flats along the coast. Due to its natural growth and development, it is known as clean seafood. This sea snail has a spiral-shaped body, a hard shell, and a distinctive dark brown color. Fresh Oc Len can be easily found at local markets or seafood specialty stores. Currently, the price of Oc Len ranges from 210,000 - 300,000 VND/kg (US $9 - 12.8).
One of the must-try dishes is Stir-fried Oc Len with Coconut. The firm and sweet meat of the snail, combined with hot coconut milk, will surely leave an unforgettable impression on your taste buds. Additionally, you can also visit local restaurants to enjoy other dishes such as Spicy stir-fried Oc Len or Steamed Oc Len.
Stir-Fried Oc Len With Coconut
Snakehead (Ca Loc)
Snakehead (Vietnamese name: Ca Loc), is a popular fish due to its freshness, delicious taste, and many health benefits. It is not only used to prepare tasty dishes but also for medicinal purposes. The fish has a naturally sweet and fragrant taste, so it does not require any marinating. Therefore, people in Ca Mau have a unique way of cooking it to preserve its flavor. They use long skewers to pierce the fish along its body, stick the skewers into the ground, cover the fish with dry straw, and light a fire. This famous dish called "Cá Lóc Nướng Trui" (Smoking Snakehead). The Smoking Snakehead is often served with rice vermicelli, wrapped in rice paper with various herbs, starfruit, cucumber, and dipped in sweet and sour fish sauce.
Smoking Snakehead A Popular Dish In Ca Mau
Three-striped Crabs (Ba Khia)
Ba Khia (belonging to the Sesarmid Crabs family), are considered the most distinctive and famous in this region. Their dark brown shell has three stripes, so locals call them Ba Khia (Three-striped Crabs). The Three-striped Crabs in Ca Mau are usually firmer and more delicious than in other places thanks to the abundant nutrients from the mangrove forest.
Besides the famous Fermented Three-striped Crabs, these fresh crabs are also prepared in various ways such as salt-roasted, tamarind-roasted, steamed with beer, deep-fried, stir-fried with Vietnamese coriander, stir-fried with chili paste, and fried with fish sauce, etc.
Three Striped Crabs Is The Most Distinctive Dish In Mekong Area
Mudskipper (Ca Thoi Loi)
The Mudskipper (Vietnamese name: Thoi Loi Fish) belongs to the goby family, but looks quite strange and lives in swampy areas. Despite its odd appearance, it is considered a special seafood by local chefs as it does not have a fishy taste, and its meat is firm, sweet and even better than freshwater fish. It is often grilled with salt and chili, fried until crispy, or used in sour soup, braised in soy sauce and pepper.
Mudskipper A Strange Kind Of Fish But Taste Very Sweet
Bon Bon is a type of vegetable that often grows in flooded areas with fresh or brackish water. Its texture is crispy, similar to bamboo shoots or lotus stems, soft, and slightly sour. This vegetable is very popular in Ca Mau and can be prepared in many different dishes such as pickled vegetables, making salad, stir-fry, or soup.
Bon Bon A Mild Taste Vegetable
Banh Tam is a popular street food in Ca Mau. Banh Tam is often cooked with pork meatballs, grilled meat, curry or tofu. This dish is usually served with local herbs and bean sprouts. The spice of curry combined with the sweet, rich flavor of pork meatballs and rice noodles is a harmonious blend of flavors, showcasing the characteristics of South Vietnam cuisine. The seasoning itself includes many different flavors such as cinnamon, star anise, turmeric powder, cassia bark, dried coriander seeds, and dried chili. You can find this rustic dish in sidewalk eateries and vendors on the streets.
Banh Tam Is A Popular Street Food In Ca Mau
U Minh Wild Forest Honey
You probably already know about the many health benefits of honey, especially its high nutritional value. But to find honey with particularly good quality, you should look for U Minh Wild Forest Honey. The diverse ecosystem of the U Minh Ha forest is a huge source of raw materials for bees to make honey, especially from the melaleuca flower. Honey from U Minh Ha forest is clear and golden like the color of orange juice. It is thick and can be poured into a bottle without a funnel. The honey is not mixed, does not change color, does not spoil, and does not crystallize over time. This is an extremely valuable specialty that you should buy when visiting the land of Ca Mau.
U Minh Wild Forest Honey Is Famous For Its Special Quality
Tips for Visiting Ca Mau
Clothing: Wear long and bright-colored clothing to avoid insects. Light and breathable clothing is also recommended as the weather can be hot and humid.
Sunscreen, hat, and glasses: The sun can be strong in Ca Mau, so don't forget to bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
Mosquito repellent: Bring mosquito repellent to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are common in Ca Mau, especially during the rainy season.
Comfortable shoes: Wear comfortable shoes as you may need to walk on uneven terrain or through muddy areas.
Waterproof phone case: A waterproof phone case will also allow you to take photos and videos without worrying about damaging your phone. You may need it if you plan to take a boat ride or visit the beach in Ca Mau.
Ca Mau is a hidden gem in Vietnam that offers a unique and authentic travel experience. We hope that the information provided in this comprehensive travel guide will be useful for you in planning your trip to explore Ca Mau. If you need more travel tips or assistance in planning your itinerary, please visit our website or contact us - BestPrice Travel. Our team of local guides can help tailor-make an itinerary based on your preferences to ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip in Vietnam.