The Mekong Delta is a stunning destination that is perfect as a weekend getaway for travellers in the south of the country, such as those staying in the bustling Ho Chi Minh City.
Here are a few of the favourite things to see and do in the Mekong Delta:
One of the finest ways to explore the Mekong Delta on the Vietnam tours is on board a traditional boat such as a sampan. Taking a sampan ride through the maze of river canals lined with palm trees is a very relaxing and fun method of getting around. Many residents use their small wooden boats as taxis to transport the many visiting tourists around.
If travelling from Ho Chi Minh City, a great place to visit for the river cruise is the Ham Luong River in Ben Tre. This part of the river gives easy access to plenty of boat hire opportunities and the option to travel the wide-ranging tributaries in the region. A private cruise is typically relaxed, which makes it possible to stop at plenty of different sites on your travels. A few of the things of interest include the river cafes/restaurants, speciality houses, fruit orchards and rice paddies.
A magical time to be on the Mekong Delta is the early morning to fully appreciate the sunrise. If you aren't able to appreciate a decent sunset due the cloudy, dusky skies later in the day, you will want to rise early to see a stunning sunrise. Also, the early morning is a very peaceful time and makes it possible to witness the beauty of the Mekong before the river comes fully to life with the many noises of boat motors.
Any visit to the Mekong Delta wouldn't be complete without exploring one or more of the floating markets. A tour of the markets gives a first-hand view of the local life in this unique environment. You get to see the locals shopping, earning money, eating, working and living their daily lives on the water.
Many of the floating markets in this part of Vietnam have existed for 100+ years and originally created to help the locals while the infrastructure of the land was still in development.
The Mekong Delta has six major floating markets: Nga Bay, Phong Dien, Tran On, Cai Rang, Nga Nam and Cai Be. They are located in different provinces with Cai Rang the most easily accessed, most popular, and all-round biggest. This floating market is found in the Can Tho province. To fully appreciate the markets, it is best to arrive very early in the morning. They may open as early as 3AM, but you will likely find they start to get lively at about 5AM. Also, an early arrival means there is a lot less tourist traffic around. The markets have a crowded and active trading atmosphere with plenty of boats selling regional fruits and vegetables. Also, the boats display a sample of what is for sale by erecting a large pole and attaching the relevant item.
Sample local food
The Mekong Delta has plenty of local specialities for tourists to try on the Vietnam luxury tours. Nearly 70% of the fruits grown and consumed in Vietnam originate from this part of the country. A few of the popular fruits to taste include durian, Mangosteen, jackfruit, rambutan, mango, coconut, pomelo, and dragon fruit. There are plenty of nearby orchards to visit such as My Khanh, Phong Dien and Cai Be Orchard. Also, the organised tours of the fruit garden are a very effective way to give support to the local farmers and livelihoods.
Beyond the varied range of fruits, there are also many different local fresh dishes to taste while on your travels. A popular dish is bun ca (fish noodle soup) which is among the most liked in this part of the country. Other favourites to the region include grilled gourami fish, mud roasted chicken, lau mam (salted fish hotpot), banh xeo (pancake), and hu tieu sa dec (pork-noodle soup).
Also, there is plenty of great street food to taste while travelling through the local villages. While passing through the villages it isn't uncommon to see locals barbecuing one or two appetising dishes such as quail that certainly fills the air with wonderful smells. Also, while travelling around there will be a few sweets and desserts to taste, such as cubes made using tapioca flour and coconut cream and flavoured with pandan. Many of the desserts are savoury instead of sweet, but worth trying on the package holidays to Vietnam simply for the experience.
Visit a coconut candy business
There are plenty of regional industries that are worth a visit on the tour of the Mekong Delta. A popular business to visit is the one making coconut candy. This type of coconut candy is made with the help of manual machinery with the candy flavoured using a variety of ingredients such as pandan, cacao and ginger. The process of making the coconut candy starts with shredding this fruit which is crushed to extract its cream and milk. This is boiled to create a firm caramel that is made into candy.
Cycling through a rural village
A cycling tour of the Mekong Delta gives a further dimension to your travels in this part of the country. A two day trip makes it possible to get the most all-inclusive feel of the region and combines cycling through the local villages alongside the river which can include plenty of stops to see the local attractions, such as trying to locate different types of fruit, a short cooking course, and other photo stops. Also, for the multi-day trip, a night in an idyllic homestay is certain to help create the more memorable trip. There are plenty of places to hire a very decent quality bike and travelling and a local guide will ensure you get to stop at the most interesting places.