A complex network of rivers and channels, rich delta and unique culture are Mekong Delta’s characters which has attracted lots of tourists. Mekong Delta Vietnam is the region in Southwest Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through its distributaries. From Cambodia, Bassac River – the main distributary of Mekong River flows to the west and Mekong River flows to the east. In Vietnam, we call Bassac River Hau River, Mekong River is called Tien River which branches off into My Tho River, Ba Lai River, Ham Luong River and Co Chien River. Total length of natural rivers and channels in Mekong Delta is about 54,000 km. In addition, there are hundreds of artificial channels dug for different purposes.
Big and small rivers and channels are everywhere in the region, so that main means of transportation are boats and sampan. Big motorized boats are used to cruise along rivers, small motorized boats are used on smaller rivers and big channels, sampans are favorite of locals to drive through narrow channels which leads to their houses and gardens.
Motorized boat on peaceful river in Mekong Delta
Smaller boat on a channel with lines of green water coconut trees on its two banks
Locals choose rowing sampan to go through zigzag small channels
Lots of Mekong Delta people have houses along rivers, they also build stilt houses to dock the boats and sampans
Mother Nature gives Mekong Delta a wide range of fishes, shrimps, clams and other freshwater animals. Most of locals know how to catch fishes in rice fields, ponds, swamps, channels and rivers. They use different tools including many kinds of fishing nets, fish traps and fishing rods. They even catch fishes, frogs, eels with bare hands. Locals usually row sampan on channels and rivers to catch fish and return with
Catching fishes using bamboo fish traps
Bamboo baskets with caught fishes
2 Mekong Delta men row sampan on a river and dive to catch oysters
Floating market is the most interest and unique thing of Mekong Delta. A trip to Mekong Delta couldn’t complete without immersing yourself into busy local markets which is open on rivers. Both sellers and buyers are on their boats for selling and buying local products, foods and drinks. They sell everything from animals to fruits, from noodle soups to coffee on their boats. Sellers hang samples of products (pork, fish, snake, pumpkin, clear rice noodle soup…) for selling on 6-meter-long bamboo poles erected on their boats so that customers can see what to buy about 200-300 meters away. Famous floating markets are Cai Rang, Cai Be, Tra On and Nam Can…
The region is also famous for chanty – an unique Vietnamese folk culture which is sung by sailors on rivers and channels. Coming to Mekong Delta, visitors can see local people in Ao Ba Ba sing a chanties while rowing sampans. Beautiful voices of indigenous people as well as meaningful lyrics expressing love for the country, parents and their lovers can make audience feel like locals and forget all problems and sadness in life. What a peaceful region! If you visit a local restaurant, you can enjoy a special kind of Vietnamese folk songs – Don ca tai tu. Singers in Ao Dai or Ao Ba Ba sing folk songs while artists are playing many kinds of Vietnamese traditional musical instruments
Artists perform Don ca tai tu at a local restaurant
Mekong Delta Vietnam offers hundreds of delicious foods and drinks made from fresh local products. Freshwater animals, pure animals, vegetables and fruits are ingredients to cook enormous dishes from grilled dishes to hot pot, from rolls to braised dishes, from savory dishes to desserts. Sticky rice wines, Phu Le wine, coconut wine are famous around the country for great taste and smell.
Deep-fried elephant-ear fish – a specialty food of Mekong Delta Vietnam is crispy outside, tender inside.
Mekong Delta Vietnam is often referred to as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam due its huge production of rice crop. Vegetables, exotic fruits and fishing also feature prominently here. Life in the delta revolves around the river, and as such this is the only real way to view and understand it. Would you like to be driven there by Scooter and enjoy cruising on a hand-rowed sampan under the shadow of the water coconut trees along natural canals, then taste seasonal fruit honey tea to the sound of “Southern Vietnamese folk music”, performed by locals? Why not try our Private Mekong Delta Tour?