Settled in one of the most popular areas of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Region, My Tho is the busy capital of the Tiên Giang Province. Just a short drive from other destinations like Cao Lanh, Vinh Long, and connected by bridge to Bên Tre, My Tho is frequented by travelers from Ho Chi Minh City.
Used as a weekend getaway for big-city dwellers, My Tho is famous for its rice fields, floating markets, and river islands.
Capital of the Tien Giang Province
Part of the Southern Key Economic Zone, My Tho was built and named after the My Tho River, which flows through the city. The abundance of water in the area has turned My Tho into an agricultural powerhouse where crops like rice, flowers, and fruit are grown throughout the year. Additionally, the city’s economy relies on tourism, education, and technology.
Many visitors will stop in the city during their tour of the region. Within a 2 hours’ drive from My Tho, tourists can also see the cities of Cao Lanh and Vinh Long. The closest city to My Tho that has also become a popular destination is Bên Tre. Connected by the Rach Miêu Bridge, My Tho and Bên Tre are just 23 minutes apart.
My Tho also happens to be relatively close to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Only a 1.5-hour drive, travelers can easily cover the distance between Vietnam’s famous Southern city and My Tho. Private cars, taxis, and buses are the most direct way for travelers to get to My Tho from HCMC.
Once a part of Cambodia’s Khmer Empire, My Tho was founded by Chinese refugees in the 1680s. A colony of the Qing Empire, the Chinese settled in the area and built a small community. In the 18th century, My Tho was given to Vietnam and it was during this time that the settlement began to grow into one of Southern Vietnam’s largest commercial hubs.
The name for the city was taken from the My Tho River and depending on translations, it means either “Beautiful Tree” or “Beautiful Reed”.
By the 1860s, the French set their eyes on My Tho, and by 1862, they had captured the city. For almost 100 years, the French remained dominant throughout the area. Under French occupation, My Tho only became more popular with immigrants, which helped the city’s economy grow. Previously, the city was also named the “Gateway to Saigon”.
At one point, a train route established a direct connection between HCMC and My Tho. Opened in 1885, the route was the first railway established in Vietnam. Unfortunately, during the 1960s, the railway was destroyed and never reestablished.
Years after the French left and the Vietnam War ended, My Tho was classified as a Grade II, Class-1 City in 2005. Today, My Tho has multiple administrative divisions including 11 wards and 6 communes. The city has become a famous destination in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Region, and it attracts numerous national and international tourists every year.
- There are 270,700 people living in My Tho as of 2019.
- Longan fruit, similar to lychee, is grown throughout My Tho.
- The city covers an area of 81.55 sq km (31.49 sq mi) along the bank of the My Tho River.
My Tho City has such a variety of attractions for every kind of traveler. From cultural places around the city to natural areas in the rural outskirts, My Tho is a destination worthy of more than just one day trip. The most popular tourist sites are the Vinh Tràng Pagoda, Thói Son Island, Côn Phung, the Mekong River, and the Dong Tam Snake Farm.
Vinh Trang Pagoda
Opulent and extravagant, the white and gold Vinh Tràng Pagoda is one of the Mekong Delta Region’s most famous Buddhist temples. Located near My Tho City on 4.9 acres and home to some of the area’s best fruit trees, the large sets of glass windows let in abundant light. A large Budai statue in the gardens also garners attention as visitors explore the grounds.
Thoi Son Island
Situated on the Mekong River, Thói Son Island is famous for its beautiful canals, fruit trees, and honeybees. Visitors can book a private boat tour to access the island. On the island, there are a few small restaurants the service guests and there are multiple gardens where visitors can take a walk to enjoy the view. In Thói Son, tourists must try the longan, sapodea, and coconut fruit.
Con Phung Island
Busier than Thói Son, Côn Phung Island is another on the river and is visited by tourists from both My Tho and Bên Tre, especially since both cities offer tours daily. Visitors will have to take a boat to access the island and its gardens. On Côn Phung, the tourist infrastructure has been more developed, so visitors can enjoy the restaurants, gardens, and pagodas.
The Mekong River is famous in Southern Vietnam and My Tho is an excellent spot where tourists can hop on a boat to explore the water. Used not only as transportation but also for boat tours of the Mekong River, tourists can learn more about the city’s lifestyle and local wildlife. Boats are abundant on the river and tours are offered daily by local guides.
Dong Tam Snake Farm
One of the largest producers of snake venom for local and exported use, Dong Tam Snake Farm has become a popular tourist destination just outside of My Tho. Housing over 50 species of snakes, an on-site museum teaches visitors about venom. One-day tours are offered by local agencies in My Tho and visitors should plan to spend about half the day at the farm.
From large resorts to small hotels, there are quite a few options for tourists looking to stay the night in My Tho. Most hotels have very affordable rates, so travelers on a budget will have no issue finding a place that suits their needs. On the other hand, there are a few hotels that are more expensive and luxurious for travelers who want to indulge in their vacation.
The best hotels in My Tho are the My Tho Mekong Hotel, Cuu Long Hotel, and The Island Lodge.
My Tho Mekong Hotel – Boasting multiple restaurants, bars, an outdoor pool, and a spa, the My Tho Mekong Hotel is the most popular resort in the city. Conveniently located close to nearby attractions, the hotel is highly rated for its service and cleanliness. Rooms at the hotel have a private bathroom, Wi-Fi, TV, and AC.
On-site services include housekeeping, taxi service, ticket service, a 24-hour front desk, and complimentary breakfast.
Cuu Long Hotel – Another option nestled in the heart of My Tho is Cuu Long Hotel. A 3-star hotel, Cuu Long is conveniently located close to must-see tourist destinations. On-site facilities include a top-floor bar, lounge, and restaurant. Spread throughout 10 floors, there are 65 rooms at the hotel, and each provides the comfort of a private bathroom, linens, and complimentary tea.
The Island Lodge – Just outside of My Tho, the Island Lodge is a stunning property that brings luxury to the Mekong River. At the hotel, there is an outdoor pool, spa, groomed gardens, a snack bar, and dining options. Each room is equipped with AC, a TV, free Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom. Hotel staff can assist tourists with arranging tours and transportation around the area.
Dining in My Tho is a thrilling experience due to the plethora of local dishes. From noodle soups to seafood specialties, My Tho has a diverse culinary scene. While many travelers may want to taste Vietnamese food, there are a few restaurants that have Western cuisine. The best restaurants in My Tho are Chuong Dong Restaurant, Hu Tieu 44, and Hu Tieu Chay Cay Bo De.
Night Market – The Night Market is the place to go if you want to try a little bit of everything. There are multiple stalls and vendors at the Night Market, and each has its own specialty dish. Popular meals include fried fish or hotpots. The Night Market is open daily in My Tho and it has some of the most affordable prices, making it a great place for backpackers to go.
Chuong Dong Restaurant – Featuring mostly seafood dishes and a few western meals, Chuong Dong Restaurant has a delicious array of local dishes including fried fish, spicy sea snails, shrimp cakes, and ginger clams. Located on the riverfront, diners can enjoy the view as they dine. A popular spot among locals, during weekends the restaurant can be quite busy.
Hu Tieu 44 – Serving a meat version of My Tho’s hu tieu noodle soup, the Hu Tieu 44 Restaurant is the place to go if you’re looking for a good meal. The soup is frequently made with seafood, chicken, or pork and fresh herbs with offal are packed on. Meal options include having the ingredients mixed dry or steeped in a delicious broth.
Hu Tieu Chay Cay Bo De – Another restaurant that serves My Tho’s hu tieu vermicelli-noodle soup is Hu Tieu Chay Cay Bo De. Using local produce and a meat-free stock, the soup is a tasty way to refuel after a long journey. Meat is not served at this restaurant, so vegetarian travelers won’t have to worry about any orders getting mixed up.
In tune with My Tho’s immense agriculture industry, the biggest city-specific celebration is the 6-day Fruit Festival. During the month of April, My Tho City hosts the festival to honor the local farmers and showcase the year’s crops. Producing 950,000 tons of fruit annually, My Tho City and Tien Giang Province grow more fruit than any other destination in Vietnam.
At the festival, visitors can tour the booths to taste up to 30 varieties of fruit. Seminars are held in addition to the celebrations and tourists may also book tours of the local fruit orchards.
For locals, the most used modes of transportation are bus, boat, and motorbikes. There are many highways and canals throughout the city, so everything is easy to navigate and interconnected. Tourists can also walk around the city or hire a cab. Some hotels also offer shuttle service to their guests, or they can help arrange for other means of transport around the city.
My Tho’s southern location and placement in the Mekong Delta often brings a lot of rain during the wet season. Travelers should avoid visiting during the hot summer months and instead should visit from November to May, which is the dry season. This is the time of year that the heat and humidity are at their lowest and there is also less rain.
However, travelers should keep in mind that My Tho can get very busy during the winter holidays, so booking accommodation early will be necessary.
Acting as a gateway to the Mekong River Delta, My Tho is a dynamic destination where tourists can learn more about life in Southern Vietnam. A popular day-trip destination for HCMC dwellers, travelers should consider spending more time in the city. With so many tourist attractions and activities, it is impossible to see everything in one day.
Plus, with an overnight vacation, tourists will have more time to taste and enjoy the local delicacies in My Tho too.
Activities near My Tho