By the time the Mekong reaches Vietnam, it has travelled from its source high in the Tibetan Plateau, through China, alongside Myanmar, flowed through Laos and then along the Lao-Thai border and cut through Cambodia. The mighty body of water splits into nine tributaries, crisscrossing over the fertile plain and supplying the delta with alluvial rich sediment. Known as the Rice Bowl of Asia, the delta provides about 40 percent of the country's annual food crop.
Life in Vietnam's agrarian heartland continues today as it has for centuries, giving visitors authentic insights into Vietnamese communities and rural life. As you explore the area, you will catch glimpses into everyday customs, from the conical-hatted farmers cultivating their paddy fields to the fruit farmers tending to their tropical orchards. Make sure to sample these exotic fruits as you pass and take a scenic stroll through the riverside dwellings, winding through shady narrow village roads lined by bamboo hedges.
Gliding along the river to witness a traditional floating market in action is sure to be a highlight of your stay in this area. Join the hundreds of boats laden with colourful fresh fruit, vegetables and fish and witness the lively jostle for trade. You will be welcomed by the cries of the sellers advertising their wares, which hang gracefully among other produce from long poles at the front of their boats. From aboard your traditional wooden boat, you will also have the chance to admire the timeless floating villages and precarious bridges which link the opposite banks of tributaries.
The Mekong Delta with its calm yet vibrant waterways offers a picturesque and fascinating contrast to the urban sprawl of Ho Chi Minh City, and is very easily accessible from the city. We would recommend spending at least two days in the delta, which will make it possible to become fully immersed in Mekong Delta life.
Furthermore, if you are combining Vietnam with Cambodia, one of the most enjoyable ways to travel onto Cambodia is to travel along the Mekong. This is possible by staying over in a couple of Mekong Delta towns, from which it is possible to take trips out to experience the area, or if looking for more time on the water, by luxury river-cruise. We would highly recommend taking the charming Jayavarman or Jahan vessels. These stunning boats offer dedicated itineraries for travel between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.
There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.
Robert Louis Stevenson
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