All of the tour agents provide extensive services to Can Tho. There is no airport in Can Tho, so travel is by road only. From Ho Chi Minh City, you will travel on Hwy. 1 to Vinh Long. The highway was recently widened and speed limits were increased, so travel time is a mere 3 1/2 hours, without bathroom breaks. Local buses -- should you be so brave and patient -- arrive and depart from Can Tho's roadside bus station about 1km (half a mile) north of the town center (take a motorcycle taxi to or from the riverside for 10,000 VND). Can Tho is 3 1/2 hours by bus from Ho Chi Minh City by road (and about 3 hr. to/from Chau Doc, which is in the other direction). Mai Linh Express (tel. 0710/357-3999) runs regular connections on reliable shuttle buses to Ho Chi Minh City (70,000 VND) and Chau Doc (50,000 VND). They also offer free pickup and transport from your hotel to their office and departure area in the busy Can Tho bus station.
The busiest part of sprawling Can Tho is along the riverside area, all of which, including taking in the town's museums and shopping, can be done on foot. You can also hop on motorbike taxis.
Visitor Information & Tours
Most travelers come to Can Tho on group or private tours out of Saigon. If you've got plenty of time and need a break from the 3 1/2- to 4-hour ride to Can Tho, I recommend stopping at Vinh Long for a bike ride through the orchards and gardens on Anh Bin Island. Most outfitters can arrange for bike rentals and lunch along the way.
If you're on your own and hoping to set up trips to Can Tho's nearby floating markets and mangrove swamps, contact Can Tho Tourist Company (20 Hai Ba Trung, along the riverside at the center of town; tel. 0710/382-1852; www.canthotourist.com.vn). They can help you arrange boat trips to the markets, as well as unique homestays. Prices are a bit higher than the tourist cafes, but the service is better. And if you need help with your onward travel, these folks can help with that, too. All tours take you to Ninh Kieu or Cai Rang floating markets. The nearest market to town, if you're short on time, is little Phong Dien.
Private boat tours gather at the riverside and approach you like they're trying to sell you something illegal -- and they are. The government, in collusion with Can Tho Tourist, has put the kibosh on local independent tour operators, claiming that they were getting bad reports from tourists and need to standardize programs to minimize tourist impact (good reasons, of course, but the truth is more about government monopoly). Private boat hire starts at around $15 for half-day trips, and these guys are eager for work and very accommodating. If you have your own group, this is a good choice; and don't listen to anyone telling you that you'll be arrested -- it's the boat driver who'll have trouble with police, not you.
Banks & Currency Exchange -- Look for the Vietcombank branch, where you'll find international ATM service, at 7 Hoa Binh (tel. 0710/382-0445; daily 8-11am and 1:30-4pm).
Internet Service -- Try Duong Truyen, at 36 Hai Ba Trung, which has decent service and is generally less crowded than Internet cafes near the riverside area (daily 7:30am-10pm).
Post Office -- The large central post office is near the bank and museum area, just a few hundred meters from riverside, at 2 Hoa Binh St.