Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Exploring the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Mekong Delta by boat
Mekong Delta by boat

“I think that thing is staring at me,” someone in our tour group remarked nervously.

No, it wasn’t a wild animal spotted while hiking through the wilds of Vietnam. It was the fish proudly displayed before us, about to be consumed by our group exploring the Mekong Delta.

Lush, relaxed and scenic, the Mekong Delta region is a welcome contrast to hectic Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon). It’s a worthwhile destination on any Vietnamese itinerary and can be visited on a day or multi-day trip from HCMC.

The drive south to Mỹ Tho, the gateway town to the Mekong Delta, takes about an hour from Ho Chi Minh City. Along the way, you can spot workers bending down in the rice fields, wearing the iconic cone-shaped straw hats commonly associated with Vietnam. Dotted among the fields are cemeteries where the locals keep their buried loved ones nearby.

From My Tho we boarded a riverboat to cruise down the Mekong River. Upon arriving at a little village, our small, international group sampled some coconut candy. We were shown the process of making the candy and admired a variety of items made from local coconuts. There are several traditional family-run businesses on the delta, including beekeeping and rice paper manufacturing. We learned about the local plant life used in regional cooking dishes – most notably lemongrass.

After boarding a songthaew (basically the back of a truck and often used as a taxi in Asia), we took a bumpy, yet gorgeously scenic ride through the lush countryside. We stopped to sample fruit from local orchards, including mango, papaya and jackfruit. It was easy to get a sense of the relaxed lifestyle of local inhabitants; many were lounging about in hammocks. The pace here is notably slower and more sedate than the hectic vibe of Ho Chi Minh City.

Our lunch was a staple of rice and fish from the local rice paddies and fish farms. The Mekong Delta area produces a huge amount of rice and, overall, about half of Vietnam’s agricultural output.

After lunch was the highlight of our visit – a boat ride through the labyrinthian passageways of the delta. We each had our own little boat to maneuver through the system of canals. Nearly everyone who lives in the Mekong Delta has a boat. They are a necessity to local inhabitants because of the flood-prone nature and layout of the region. We paddled alongside tropical foliage and several homes on stilts.

The Mekong Delta reminded me of the swamps in Louisiana. Its humidity, fecundity and swamp-like passages helped me understand why so many Vietnamese came to Louisiana after the war – the similar ecosystem of the bayous must have reminded them of home. The sugarcane and shrimp fishing along the Mekong are also reminiscent of Louisiana.

The two areas share similar environmental problems as well: Both locations are susceptible to floods resulting from climate change. In Vietnam, dams upriver prevent sediment from reaching the lower delta. This causes problems that can lead to flooding. Similarly, the levees along the Mississippi River in Louisiana have prevented sediment from being spread along the Mississippi Delta. Vietnam is also vulnerable to typhoons similar to Louisiana’s hurricanes.

As you travel further into the delta, there are floating markets and floating villages. The floating market at Cái Bè is particularly fascinating to investigate. Go early in the day to avoid the hordes of tourists. At the floating village near Châu Đốc, homes with aluminum walls cover fish farms encircled by nets.

If you plan to spend the night, Cần Thơ is a worthwhile spot. It’s the largest city in the Mekong area but retains a relaxed, small-town feel. If you’re adventurous, go to the snake market and sample the snake liquor. (I did not partake myself, thank you.)

Some popular annual events in the Mekong Delta include the Lunar New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

In addition to a single- or multi-day tour of the delta, you can also catch a bus and rent or buy a bicycle to explore the region on your own. A bus trip to Can Tho costs about $5 from Ho Chi Minh City. After exploring the area, you have the option of returning to Ho Chi Minh City or taking a scenic boat ride to Cambodia.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Tahona Bar takes it to the street

Perks include cemetery view dining, and cocktails out of a VW bus
Next Article

Dennis Caco's Mission Valley missing Midori

Max Boost creator finds car near Sweetwater Road
Mekong Delta by boat
Mekong Delta by boat

“I think that thing is staring at me,” someone in our tour group remarked nervously.

No, it wasn’t a wild animal spotted while hiking through the wilds of Vietnam. It was the fish proudly displayed before us, about to be consumed by our group exploring the Mekong Delta.

Lush, relaxed and scenic, the Mekong Delta region is a welcome contrast to hectic Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon). It’s a worthwhile destination on any Vietnamese itinerary and can be visited on a day or multi-day trip from HCMC.

The drive south to Mỹ Tho, the gateway town to the Mekong Delta, takes about an hour from Ho Chi Minh City. Along the way, you can spot workers bending down in the rice fields, wearing the iconic cone-shaped straw hats commonly associated with Vietnam. Dotted among the fields are cemeteries where the locals keep their buried loved ones nearby.

From My Tho we boarded a riverboat to cruise down the Mekong River. Upon arriving at a little village, our small, international group sampled some coconut candy. We were shown the process of making the candy and admired a variety of items made from local coconuts. There are several traditional family-run businesses on the delta, including beekeeping and rice paper manufacturing. We learned about the local plant life used in regional cooking dishes – most notably lemongrass.

After boarding a songthaew (basically the back of a truck and often used as a taxi in Asia), we took a bumpy, yet gorgeously scenic ride through the lush countryside. We stopped to sample fruit from local orchards, including mango, papaya and jackfruit. It was easy to get a sense of the relaxed lifestyle of local inhabitants; many were lounging about in hammocks. The pace here is notably slower and more sedate than the hectic vibe of Ho Chi Minh City.

Our lunch was a staple of rice and fish from the local rice paddies and fish farms. The Mekong Delta area produces a huge amount of rice and, overall, about half of Vietnam’s agricultural output.

After lunch was the highlight of our visit – a boat ride through the labyrinthian passageways of the delta. We each had our own little boat to maneuver through the system of canals. Nearly everyone who lives in the Mekong Delta has a boat. They are a necessity to local inhabitants because of the flood-prone nature and layout of the region. We paddled alongside tropical foliage and several homes on stilts.

The Mekong Delta reminded me of the swamps in Louisiana. Its humidity, fecundity and swamp-like passages helped me understand why so many Vietnamese came to Louisiana after the war – the similar ecosystem of the bayous must have reminded them of home. The sugarcane and shrimp fishing along the Mekong are also reminiscent of Louisiana.

The two areas share similar environmental problems as well: Both locations are susceptible to floods resulting from climate change. In Vietnam, dams upriver prevent sediment from reaching the lower delta. This causes problems that can lead to flooding. Similarly, the levees along the Mississippi River in Louisiana have prevented sediment from being spread along the Mississippi Delta. Vietnam is also vulnerable to typhoons similar to Louisiana’s hurricanes.

As you travel further into the delta, there are floating markets and floating villages. The floating market at Cái Bè is particularly fascinating to investigate. Go early in the day to avoid the hordes of tourists. At the floating village near Châu Đốc, homes with aluminum walls cover fish farms encircled by nets.

If you plan to spend the night, Cần Thơ is a worthwhile spot. It’s the largest city in the Mekong area but retains a relaxed, small-town feel. If you’re adventurous, go to the snake market and sample the snake liquor. (I did not partake myself, thank you.)

Some popular annual events in the Mekong Delta include the Lunar New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

In addition to a single- or multi-day tour of the delta, you can also catch a bus and rent or buy a bicycle to explore the region on your own. A bus trip to Can Tho costs about $5 from Ho Chi Minh City. After exploring the area, you have the option of returning to Ho Chi Minh City or taking a scenic boat ride to Cambodia.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Discovery of priest’s letters reveals tension between church, locals

Culture Clash
Next Article

What a teachers union has done to Gompers

29 teachers laid off in June, re-hired in July
Comments
1
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
July 2, 2019

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close