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Mekong Delta: The heart of true Vietnam you will never forget

Terrence T. White ▼ | July 11, 2020
Mekong Delta is among the rare places we could call 'the perfect spot' for tourists without any reservations. An amazing delta, a place without millions of busy tourists, is a perfect place to rest your body and soul from everyday problems.
Mekong Delta
An amazing delta   Mekong Delta is a pride of Vietnam's tourist workers
Mekong DeltaJust a little bit of geography for the start. The Mekong river, with its rapids and beautiful cascading waterfalls, starts in the Himalayas and passes through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia before reaching Vietnam. The Mekong Delta is a network of waterways in the south of the country, between Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia. More than half of Vietnam’s rice and fish comes from this region and life is organized around water, floating markets and rice fields that mean life for millions.

Mekong DeltaMekong Delta is a pride of Vietnam's tourist workers and with a reason: The region is like no other in the country. Beautiful winding rivers, brilliant wildlife, historical places, water homes, and incredible landscapes is a good description but in this case the old one "Words can't describe the beauty" are appropriate. Life is moving slowly in Mekong Delta, focused on water and life around it, with deep roots in history with great pagodas and statues.

Cái RăngIf you ever saw a floating market on TV, you most probably saw Cái Răng, the most famous floating market in the Mekong. It is the attraction of Can Tho, the region's largest city, a slow riverside town with numerous cultural sights that include a great example of French colonial architecture reflected in Bình Thuỷ Ancient House. Islands around the town are full of interesting sights, from fruit orchards to coconut candy factories.

Mekong Delta foodThere's no surprise that one of the best Asian floating markets is here in Vietnam because they play a great role in life. Banh cong, a kind of savoury doughnut made from mung beans, taro and rice flour, is a great afternoon snack. Elephant Ear Fish is a classic Mekong delicacy, served to travellers who enjoy a perfectly fried fish served upright withpickles, cucumber and herbs in rice paper. Small rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves are full of flavor and sweetened with coconut. Perfection.

Tra Su forest bird sanctuaryCan Tho city is the perfect start for exploring Mekong Delta. Are you a nature lover or not, you will be fascinated with the Delta's collection of wildlife sanctuaries. Tràm Chim National Park, for example, is home to a quarter of all bird species found in Vietnam. If you don't know what's sarus crane, you will recognize one when you see it. Spoiler: That's the world's tallest flying bird. Very near from the Cambodian border, Tra Su Bird Sanctuary is another place you should visit. If you are a bird fan you'll be fascinated, if not you will become one.

Mekong bike rideNow, how do you move through somewhat this Vietnam's mysterious destination? Take a trip from Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the nature around on a sampan. The Delta is also a good place to enjoy a slow bike ride through the countryside, crossing narrow bridges and stopping whenever you want, the experience is just perfect and My Rides Vietnam offers a travel following your own pace. You can also enjoy luxury river cruise but this place is not a place for that, the Delta should be enjoyed in more down to nature ways.

Mekong tourismBut you can do better: A truly local experience is to spend some time with a local family and participate in their way of life. Excursions together, helping the fishing, working in a rice field, all that creates a unique experience. If you choose that you'll be invited to cook with them and that's the true spirit of Vietnam's hospitality. Contrary to some other countries and tourist destinations, local people here enjoy life and your presence is not just a cold business for them, so for some time you will be a part of their family.

Chau DocDown the way toward Cambodia, two cities are a must. Chau Doc is known for its religious and ethnic diversity, which includes Khmer, Chinese, Cham and Vietnamese people. You will see endless rice fields and spectacular rural scenes. Down toward south, Rach Gia is your destination. That's a perfect point to visit Phu Quoc Island which you really really should visit but that's another story. Until then, enjoy unique nature in the Mekong Delta, something that you won't find anywhere else in the world. Chào mừng bạn!