Cần Giờ is a coastal district of Ho Chi Minh city, 50 km (32 miles) form the city center. Can Gio tourism is famous for its intact mangroves and pristine beaches without many rather-touristy services. Also, the seafood here is cheaper than in Vung Tau (a more popular beach near Ho Chi Minh city). Though the sea is not crystal blue due to the water outflux from mangrove but not too bad to jump in. Ideal for a one-day getaway weekend!
How to get to Can Gio.
Can Gio is about 90 km away from Sai Gon, not too far for a motorbike trip. Don’t worry about getting lost because there seems to have only one route available. You can also get to Can Gio by public bus No. 75. Tell the bus driver or assistant to drop you at Can Thanh Bus Station (in Can Gio).
Top things to do in Can Gio
Along Sai Gon-Can Gio route
1. Vam Sat (Vàm Sát) is a eco-tourism zone of the mangrove where you will enter by boat or canoe. It has Dam Doi zone (khu Đầm Dơi) with many kinds of storks and bats, wildlife protected areas and Tam Bong tower, 26m (85ft) high for an panoramic overall view of the mangrove.
2. Đảo Khỉ literally means Monkey island, but is not geographically an island itself. This is a very interesting place but you have to be careful with the monkeys. They ‘misbehave”, often rob foods and items of tourists. Consider holding a stick just to scare them away. Be careful not to hit them, otherwise they will call their flock.
3. Lăng Cá Ông (Ca Ong mausoleum). Ca Ông is a general term for huge fish such as whale and shark. A common ritual practice among local Vietnamese is to worship the giant and the powerful. Lang Ca Ong is located in Can Gio market and displays a 17m (56ft) long whale skeleton.
4. Thánh Thất Cao Đài, a sacred temple in the center of Can Thanh town. The temple is quite beautiful.
5. Can Thanh is a small and peace town in the center of Can Gio district. From here, you can clearly see Vung Tau city and its 2 big mountains. At night, you can even see the sparkling lights of Ha Long road – the most beautiful road of Vietnam (in Vung Tau ).
6. 30/4 beach is beautiful and very pristine beach 8 km (5 miles) from Can Thanh town. Nearby is Hang Duong market (just 50m or 160 ft from the beach) where you can buy seafood, request processing them right away at a low price and enjoy them on the beach.
Hotels in Can Gio
People often spend only one day in Can Gio, so they don’t need accomodation. However, in the event you combine Can Gio and Vung Tau on your trip, stay overnight in Can Gio and get to Vung Tau the next day.
If you travel in big group, you should rent hotels nearby 30/4 beach (rate is from $15, more expensive than hotels in town) to play on the beach in the evening. You can try out:
1. Tam Ngoc hotel in Dong Hoa – Can Gio, tel: +84 8 3874 4200
2. Hon Ngoc Phuong Nam resort near Tam Ngoc hotel, tel +84 8 3874 3404
If you travel in small group, you should stay in town.
3. Thai Duong hotel on highway 1.A, tel +848.3874.3985. Comfortable rooms, (2-star) balcony overlooking rice field, very nice. Rate is $13/day.
4. Tam Tam hotel on highway 1.A, Tel +848.2214.4899. Similar price to Thai Duong hotel.
5. Bao Hung motel on highway 1.A, tel: +848.3874.4122
What to do in Can Gio island on a one-day trip?
7am: depart to Can Gio,
8am: arrive at Vam Sat eco-tourism zone, rent a boat or canoe for about $20/boat. There’re 8 seats / boat, you will be grouped with other tourists (if you have less than 8 people).
10am: leave for Monkey island.
12am: lunch and rest in Monkey island for about 2 hours.
2pm: go to 30/4 beach. The beach is quite close to Monkey island. You can come to Hang Duong market to eat seafood, then play on the beach. Note that the parking lot is open only till 5.30pm.
About 5pm: back to Ho Chi Minh city.
Combine Can Gio and Vung Tau
You can combine Can Gio and Vung Tau for a 2 day trip, one for each. Vung Tau can be easily reached by boat from Can Gio. The boat will leave at 6 a.m and 10 a.m at Tac Suat dock (bến Tắc Suất) and takes 1 hour to get to Ben Dinh dock (bến Đình – in Vung Tau).
Ticket: $1.3/ticket. You can carry motorbike on boat but will be charged (about $3.5/motorbike).