6 incredible ideas for exploring the Mekong Delta
- on Nov 30, 2019       By: BN
A vast enchanted labyrinth of rivers, canals, small shaded paths and islands, the Mekong Delta is a natural jewel of Vietnam. It’s a fascinating region with lush landscapes, floating markets, unique river life, amazing craftsmanship and wonderful cultural heritage. Take inspiration from our ideas to build your trip to the Mekong Delta, a destination that never makes the traveller bored.
Discover the Khmer culture of the Mekong Delta
A 500 years old Khmer pagoda in Soc Trang
The Khmers consider themselves descendants of the first occupants of the Mekong Delta region. A long process of "Vietnamisation" of the region which culminated in December 1845, when a treaty was concluded with the Cambodian king Ang Duong and which confirmed the definitive annexation of the Mekong Delta in favour of Annam. The Khmers are among the 54 ethnic groups that make up the beautiful ethnic mosaic of Vietnam. In the Mekong Delta, the Khmer community is mainly present in the provinces of Tra Vinh and Soc Trang, two destinations off the beaten track with interesting cultural features. In these two provinces, Khmer culture is expressed as much through the many pagodas of Khmer architecture as in language and the many religious festivals celebrating Theravada Buddhism.
Explore the floating markets of the Mekong Delta
Floating markets are one of the cultural and tourist attractions in the Mekong Delta. In Can Tho, Cai Be or Long Xuyen in particular, get ready to attend a unique show where hundreds of boats of all sizes come to trade on the river or one of its arms. The discovery of a floating market must take place very early in the morning to take advantage of its intense animation. As always, a string of small boats come to feed from larger boats that are specialized in the sale of one or two vegetables or fruit hanging at the end of a pole to tell customers of what they sell. Those boats will then sell the products purchased in small villages nestled on the banks or in the heart of the Mekong Delta.
>> Also read Top 5 unmissable floating markets in Mekong Delta
Sleep in a homestay
While staying in the Mekong Delta, it is possible to book your night stays with the locals, a nice way to meet a local population that is particularly hospitable and gives a different flavour to your trip. It will be an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture alongside the Mekong River. You can also join the family to help prepare meals with local products and original ideas. These are always a great moment of conviviality conducive to cultural exchanges. Sleeping at a homestay is also a great way to promote responsible tourism and solidarity by boosting the local economy.
Wander the delta in Mekong by bicycle
The Mekong Delta is a region that you can enjoy by cycling as well. A flat region, covered with a multitude of small paths that run along the arroyos and through charming little villages, cycling is the best way to penetrate the heart of this fascinating region. Covered by dense vegetation and luxuriant imagery, you can discover all the charms of the countryside of this nonchalant Eden. A real rice granary in southern Vietnam, you pedal through the vast expanses of rice paddies with hypnotic colours. The many orchards are the occasion of gourmet breaks where you can feast on succulent tropical fruits: rambutan, longan, mangosteen, papaya, pomelo, etc...
The rich craftsmanship of the Mekong Delta
To visit the Mekong Delta is to discover a rich craft rooted in a vibrant tradition. The coconut tree that grows here in the jungle is one of the inexhaustible sources of local craftsmanship. You will be pleasantly surprised to see everything that can be made from this tree that is considered in this region as "the tree of life". The coconut tree and its fruits are used to make furniture, everyday utensils, cosmetics etc... and also the famous sweets that melt under the tongue. Bamboo or rattan braiding, ceramics, pottery, lacquer, painting... the opportunities to admire ancestral craftsmanship that is passed down from generation to generation are not lacking.
Visit an ornithological park
The fertile and very loamy lands of the Mekong Delta favour both plant and animal life. Also, the birds settle there in groups, thus creating sanctuaries that are important for the local bird populations. The region is home to about thirty sanctuaries where it is possible to contemplate a beautiful variety of bird species. Tram Chim National Park is one of them. This ornithological reserve, covering an area of nearly 8,000 hectares is home to an exceptional flora and fauna with no less than 200 species of birds, some of which are very rare such as the red-crowned crane, the Asian stork or the lotus pelican. In addition, 50 species of fish and 140 species of medicinal plants have been identified. Another sanctuary popular with nature lovers is the Tra Su Forest, home to 70 species of birds, including the Indian stork and the zebra neck stork, two rare species that are on the verge of extinction.
Best season to visit the Mekong Delta
The weather is good all year round in the Mekong Delta but we prefer the dry season from December to May.
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