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Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta

 Area:                39,000 sq.km

 Population:     17,325,167 million

 Language:       Vietnamese

 Currency:         VND

Slowly cross to water country, floating markets, orchards and coconut on a boat to immerse you in the aquatic life of Mekong Delta. It is the meeting point for traders from across the region and stretches for several kilometers, divided between buyers and sellers. And it is known as “Heaven of fruits”
Mekong Delta Overview
One of the world’s most fertile areas, the Mekong Delta is home to countless rice fields and tributaries across thousands of square miles of flat land. An overnight cruise in the Mekong Delta is definitely worthwhile, for the experience of awakening in the early morning to find floating markets and villages floating around you is incredible. The small sizes of the Song Xanh Sampans and Cai Be Princess are perfect for glimpses into the local ways of life while relaxing in the comfort of a floating boutique hotel. The restored colonial vessels of Pandaw and Bassac are great for Mekong Delta cruises between Saigon and Phnom Penh.
Mekong Delta History
The Mekong Delta was once part of the Khmer kingdom and was the last region of modern-day Vietnam to be annexed and settled by the Vietnamese. Cambodians, mindful that they controlled the area until the 18th century, still call the delta ‘Lower Cambodia’. The Khmer Rouge tried to follow up on this claim by raiding Vietnamese villages and massacring the inhabitants. This led the Vietnamese army to invade Cambodia in 1979 and oust the Khmer Rouge from power. Most of the current inhabitants of the Mekong Delta are ethnic Vietnamese, but there are also significant populations of ethnic Chinese and Khmer, as well as a few Chams.
 
When the government introduced collective farming to the delta in 1975, production fell significantly and there were food shortages in Saigon (although farmers in the delta easily grew enough to feed themselves). People from Saigon would head down to the delta to buy sacks of black-market rice, but to prevent ‘profiteering’ the police set up checkpoints and confiscated rice from anyone carrying more than 10kg. All this ended in 1986 and farmers in this region have since propelled Vietnam forward to become the world’s second-largest rice exporter after Thailand.


Mekong climate and best time to visit
The temperatures in southern Vietnam don’t change much throughout the year, the average is about 30 degrees celsius.
The dry season in the Mekong delta is between October / November and April / May. But even the rainy season from May to October is no reason not to travel this region.Usually, the rain showers are brief and heavy, mostly in the afternoons, but after an hour or so it clears up again. It is the best time to take a Mekong Delta tour.

The high season for tourists in the Mekong delta is from October to January, but it is well worth to travel this region in the quieter season too. During the low season prices are much lower and since there are fewer tourists, it is a much more authentic experience.
 
Mekong Transportation
Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam includes 13 provinces which have some bordering with Cambodia, and it is a famous destination in Vietnam classic tours. Normally, travelers visit this area from Ho Chi Minh City by bus, private vehicles, motorbike and sometimes plane.

Travel within this region, people often use the waterway because of the heavy river system.  And it is the best to rent a small boat to visit small floating villages and explore deep Mekong Delta. 
Things to do and see in Mekong
Can Tho
It is the gateway to the Mekong Delta and the place where many waterways meet. It has a busy port and industry includes bottling and fish sauce.

An Giang
It has a Cambodian border and some hills, this province is the top rice producer in Vietnam. The economy involves fishing and handicrafts while there are several festivals. Sam Mount is worth a visit while cave exploration is another interesting activity.

Bac Lieu
This province is evidence of the French yet the invasion of salt water has made agriculture difficult. There are some fishing and salt production as well as fruit orchards. This province is probably the best of several good ones for birds.

Ben Tre
It is normally recommended in Vietnamese classic tours. It is famous for its coconut candy which you can watch being made.

Ca Mau
It is in the far south and has a coastline of over 300 km. There is flora and fauna, and a great variety of birds to study, some forests and fishing is very important. There are offshore islands; Hon Khoai has historical significance relating to a former insurrection.

Dong Thap
It includes the Tram Chim National Park famous for the rare Sarus Crane. The best months for birdwatching are January to March. Sa Dec Flower Garden has blooms all year round and Go Thap Oc Eo is a cultural village with reminders of Funan Empire of the 1st to 6th Century.

Hau Giang
It is a very fertile province and the Phung Hiep Floating Market provides amble evidence of that. It attracts visitors from many places in Vietnam and abroad to see the snake dance and taste snake liquor. Long My is very interesting for those interested in history while the bird sanctuary has great appeal for ornithologists.

Kien Giang
This province closes to Cambodia has 200 km of coastline and fishing is an extremely important activity. Shark, blue fish, mackerel and shrimp are just a few of its species. It is a fertile region with plenty of historical and natural attractions. The Temple and Tomb of Nguyen Trung Truc in Rach Gia is probably the highlight though there are other tombs, pagodas as well as caves and forests. There are many islands offshore as well.

Long An
This provice is close to the Cambodian border and numerous waterways crossing the province in all directions. There is evidence of the Oc Eo culture from the 1st to 6th Centuries attracting tourists. In addition visitors should see the House with Hundred Columns, Rach Coc Fort and the Ton Thanh Pagoda.

Soc Trang
Location in the east has few tourist visitors. It is known for its rice, orchards and shrimp farms. The Bat Temple and Clay Pagoda are worth seeing while the Oc Om Boc Festival to the Moon God sees the release of lanterns into the air to chase away the darkness.

Tien Giang
Location in the north is a diverse province. It has a coastline but is also important for its freshwater fish. There is plentiful fruit and vegetables and an interesting floating market in Cai Be.

Tra Vinh
It is the alluvial coastal region in the west and home to many Khmer people. There are 140 Khmer pagodas as opposed to just 50 Viet and 5 Chinese. Unlike in Cambodia the Khmer monks do get involved in agriculture rather than relying on donations.

Vinh Long
It  is very flat and good for agriculture, fruit and rice. There are plenty of pagodas and communal houses to visit and it is nice to walk around when the climate permits.

Mekong Travel Tips
Mekong Delta region is an ideal choice for Vietnam cruise tours because of a heavy river system, it is the best idea to wear thin and comfortable clothes, hats, sandals or shoes.

Of course, you should not forget to bring a camera to keep beautiful moments during the trip and bring some amount of money to buy very fresh fruits and local handmade sweets.
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