The Mekong Delta has a unique lifestyle and beautiful sights that make it one of the most visited Vietnam travel destinations. The entire area spans nearly 39,000 sq km and is seen as a biological treasure trove with thousands of species in the region.
Here are a few of the fun and interesting things to do in the Mekong Delta:
Cruise the rivers
The Mekong Delta is best explored by river on a traditional sampan or similar style of boat. Tourists get to navigate the countless rivers while also getting to see the floating markets, lines of coconut trees, stilts in quiet villages, lush orchards and yellow or green rice paddies. There are also plenty of options for shore-based excursions such as stopping to visit one of the coconut candy or brick factories.
A river cruise that zag zags through the network of canals that are lined with exotic fruit trees is certain to create the interesting sight for the tourists on the Vietnam holiday.
Visit the floating markets
One of the special things in the Mekong Delta is the lively and colourful floating markets that trade all types of goods. The market boats can sell anything from live animals to fresh fruits. Exploring the market is a great way to interact with the locals who are very friendly and helpful.
Cai Be (in Tien Giang) and Cai Rang (in Can Tho) are the easiest to reach and most popular with tourists. The floating market tours are really easy to organise via a Vietnam travel agent in Ho Chi Minh City. A single day tour is likely to include a visit to the Cai Be floating market, while the more relaxed two or three day tour can include visiting the Cai Rang floating market.
Other interesting floating markets in the Mekong Delta region include Chau Doc, Long Xuyen, Phong Dien and Tra On. Also, the markets attract plenty of other boat traders selling fresh food (rice and noodle dishes) and refreshments (juice, coffee and tea) to ensure the energy levels are kept up to fully enjoy the views.
Cycle around the quiet villages
A great way to further explore the Delta region is by hiring a bike for one or two days. A typical cycle tour can include passing through charming towns and villages, cross rivers on ferries with space for only 6-8 people, and travelling along paths lined with orchards. Cycling in the region not only makes it possible to see the wonderful sights, but also to get immersed in the local culture and way of life. Plus, a cycling tour can also be as much about tasting the local cuisine. There are plenty of places to taste the Delta’s delicious foods.
Visit islands around My Tho and Ben Tre
My Tho is the gateway to the Mekong Delta and has several river islands that are very interesting to visit by boat. The closest and densely populated is Con Long (Dragon Island), the largest with a tropical garden is Con Lan (Unicorn Island), and the smallest is Con Quy (Turtle Island). The islands are great stops on the one day tour of Ho Chi Minh City and very pretty, quiet and green for a peaceful break from the otherwise congested areas of the Delta. If you visit My Tho, don't forget to stop at Vinh Trang pagoda as this must be the best place to learn about Vietnamese Buddhism in Mekong Delta.
Ben Tre is not far away from My Tho and becoming a great destination for western tourists as it is not as touristy as My Tho. A boat trip on Ham Luong river and narrow canals is very interesting. For a day trip to get a glance of Mekong delta. Ben Tre is highly recommended.