The Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam is home to a variety of fascinating locations and distinctive ecosystems that deserve more than a day’s journey from Ho Chi Minh City.
The fertile Delta we see today was created when the River Mekong divides into nine rivers. In the delta, daily life varies with the floods; rice fields are cultivated as the water recedes, and fisheries thrive during the annual flood. The Mekong Delta River, known as Vietnam’s “Rice Bowl,” has a certain allure that draws visitors from all over the world.
The Mekong Delta is entirely focused on the water, which is why traveling through this area requires a boat. The banks of the river are lined with family homes, floating markets, fruit orchards, and Buddhist temples.
What is the Mekong Delta?
Between Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia, in southwest Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is a network of tributaries. The reason the waters are so murky is somewhat explained by the fact that the river itself originates in the Himalayas and travels through China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia before reaching Vietnam.
You can see how important the delta region is to the Vietnamese economy and cuisine because more than half of the country’s rice and seafood are produced there. From the well-known floating markets to the vast agricultural industries, the area’s way of life is centered around the water. A wide range of fruits, flowers, and livestock are raised there.
What to see and to do in the Mekong Delta?
Explore the Cai Rang Floating Market
“The rice bowl of Vietnam” is the Mekong Delta. It produces a lot of fresh produce for the country. You will see flourishing agricultural trade during your visit to Cai Rang, one of the most well-known floating markets. Tourists with cameras are attracted to this floating market.
One of the largest floating markets in Vietnam is located in Cai Rang, which is roughly 6 kilometers from Can Tho. Fresh watermelons are stacked high in boats, piglets are transported in little dugouts, and pineapples are overflowing from barges. The neighborhood hawkers, who wear conical caps, shout out their rates as they pack greasy foil packets. The appearance of a Cai Rang in front of tourists is real.
You’ll get the opportunity to view the best of the market by being here first thing in the morning. Using a traditional boat to navigate the market will provide you the ideal vantage point from which to observe locals trading produce with one another.
Discover Sam Mountain in Chau Doc Town
Chau Doc is a bustling Cambodian border town. Sam Mountain soaring up in the center of lush rice fields is the town’s distinguishing feature. Although it is only 182 meters tall, this tiny mountain still dominates a huge flat landscape. When you reach the mountain’s summit, you can see the entire delta all the way to Cambodia.
Buddhism is the majority religion, thus you will pass through temples and tombs that are brightly painted.
There is a trail of ceramic dinosaurs leading up to the mountain’s summit. The Vietnamese army keeps watch over the border with Cambodia from a tin post on the top.
You may be sure that it has been lit up along the way to make it easier for you to climb the mountain if you want to see Chau Doc sunrise on the mountain peak. After enjoying the sunrise, you can fill yourself with breakfast at one of the roadside eateries before going down the mountain.
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Visit Tan Lap Village
In the Mekong Delta, the Tan Lap floating village is a well-known ecotourism attraction. This area, which is hidden away in Dong Thap Muoi, is a forest that has been flooded. You can visit the floating village, which is surrounded by a lush, cool forest system, at any time of the year, but the floating season, which lasts from August to November, is the most picturesque. This period is marked by the robust growth of both fauna and flora, with blooming lotus ponds and beautiful flowers. Tourists can take a boat along the channel or wander on a raised road through the cajuput backwoods for an additional USD2.5.
Experience native life in Vinh Long with a local family
Vinh Long has various geographical advantages over other regions of the Mekong Delta since it is a significant transshipment location. This is the location that connects Vietnam’s mainland to its outlying islands. The families in Vinh Long can benefit from the flow by taking advantage of the rivers and canals that surround them. Visitors may now experience local life in Vinh Long in the most genuine way thanks to the welcoming nature of many local families.
The homes are situated next to the river and are surrounded by tropical fruit orchards. During your stay, you will have access to a simple but clean, private room that is separate from the rest of the house. When visiting Vietnam, it might be challenging for visitors to find experiences like eating meals prepared by the locals, watching them go about their everyday lives, and hearing them talk about their culture and food.
Going around Sa Dec Port
Long cruises used to stop at Sa Dec port, which also served as a US patrol base. Sa Dec port is a thriving commercial port today, but because it is designed to retain a local feel, it only gets a moderate quantity of visitors.
It has streets lined with trees and homes with pastel-colored facades and French-style terraced architecture. The Huynh Thuy Le Old house, formerly the home of a wealthy Chinese family, is one of the most spectacular homes. The family’s son, Huynh Thuy Le, fell in love with Marguerite Duras and gave her the inspiration to pen the well-known autobiography The Lover.
This place offers locals and visitors a choice of lush vegetables and fruits despite being simply situated next to the busy river.
Go to the Tra Su Mangrove Forest
Tra Su Mangrove Forest, a forest area distinguished by practically year-round dryness, is situated in An Giang territory in the Mekong Delta. The end of the year, during the sunny season, is the best time to appreciate the beauty of the forest since the water level rises and the area turns into overgrown woodlands, making it very convenient for visitors to take in the landscape from a boat. September through November are the most picturesque months of the year.
Admire the Mekong Delta from renovated rice barges
Tourists are now transported on barges that were originally used to convey rice. The Bassac fleet is a prime example; it has been transformed into a cruise for tourists to spend one or more nights traveling through the Mekong Delta. This barge makes it possible to view local residents’ lives as they pass by in a very realistic manner.
There are numerous intricately carved handmade vessels on the barge. Unique regional fabrics are used to decorate the cozy cabins. You will witness local communities and floating marketplaces as the cruise moves along the river, and your on-board guide will also go through the background of the rice barges that commonly appeared along the route.
Experience Ok Om Bok Festival
On the full moon day at the end of November, the Khmer ethnic group celebrates the Ok Om Bok celebration. At this celebration, villagers dance, perform folk games, express gratitude to God for their blessings, and celebrate bountiful harvests. Each town will hold a small festival and people will gather around the local temple.
When to visit the Mekong Delta?
The Mekong Delta is best visited between October and March, when river levels are at their highest and are suitable for boat markets and sailing excursions. Moreover, this is the busiest time of day on the river. Despite prices being fairly high and restaurants being closed for a few days owing to the recent Lunar New Year, January to March in Vietnam has the greatest weather.
Late September is the greatest time to travel to the area if you want to get the best hotel prices because it is the end of the rainy season, the trees are lush, and the crop is ready for harvest.
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