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Vietnam - The Mekong Delta


The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is a maze of rivers and canals with cities and towns all along the riverbanks. For most travelers, Ho Chi Minh city is the entrance port to the delta. The other option is an overland route from Cambodia.

A magnificent view of the Mekong River near Chau Doc

A magnificent sunset view of the Mekong River near Chau Doc

The Mekong Delta is almost all flatlands. Major cities to visit are My Tho, Vinh Long, Can Tho and Chau Doc. Because of the Mekong, much of the land is used for rice production, Vietnam is one of the main rice producers in the world.

 

On the Mekong river
Much of the daily life in the Mekong Delta is in the boats

Ferry at the Mekong River
The ferry to Vinh Long

Many people live either from the rice (and vegetables/fruit) and/or the fish industry. Not surprisingly the Mekong, or more specific, the many arms of the mighty river, give life to many Vietnamese.

Not many travelers go all the way to the far south or visit although it is certainly possible. Getting out of Saigon, your most likely first stop will be My Tho. It's a sizeable city at the Ham Luong arm of the Mekong. It is a widespread city with few tall buildings laid out along the riverbank.

My Tho is the regional capital and has a huge market. Having a huge fishing fleet, it's not surprising you will find plenty of fresh delivered fish here. Much of the fish is also dried and sold worldwide. Many farmers from the region sell here their rice, vegetables and fruits which are delivered by boats. It's a great little trip by boat to explore the river.

Your next stop is most likely Vinh Long. The city is similar to My Tho. In the area there are some Khmer temples to visit.

production and sales of joss sticks

The main attractions in Vinh Long however are again the markets and the river life. However, the most impressive market in the Mekong Delta is the floating market in Can Tho, just south of Vinh Long.

Can Tho is a more interesting city for that reason to visit. It is also a main transport entry point for exploring the further south of the Mekong Delta.

A very nice road to travel from here is to follow directions to Long Xuyen and Chau Doc, the border crossing to Cambodia. Along the way you will pass plenty of small factories where joss sticks are produced.

Joss sticks factory on the way to Chau Doc
Joss sticks factory on the way to Chau Doc

Tourist buses usually make a quick stop along the road. You can visit the joss stick factories. The factories are usually run by families. It's a long and intensive process.

Traditional river fishing in one of the Mekong Delta arms
Traditional river fishing in one of the Mekong Delta arms

Life in the Mekong DeltaChau Doc, as said is the border crossing point to Cambodia. However, you can go back to Ho Chi Minh city using a different road. Just outside Chau Doc lies Tan Chau. You can  be able to cross the river and follow the road to Cao Lanh and back to My Tho.

If you decide to go on bicycle (some cyclist decide to go into the delta on an organized tour in Saigon), prepare about a week to 10 days.

Accommodation

Accommodation in the Mekong Delta is not too difficult.

  • Can Tho

Can Tho is a sizable city with many hotels including several low budget at the Mekong river. A good example of such a hotel is the Hung Homestay. Rooms are maybe a bit basic but it's clean and a good overnight stay. Otherwise check either Tripadvisor or Agoda.com for more tips.

  • Chau Doc

Chau Doc lies further south in the delta. There's some proper accommodations available too. Check Tripadvisor or Agoda.com

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