The Mekong Delta is the fertile region south of Ho Chi Minh City where farmers grow the majority of Vietnam’s supply of rice, durian, and other fruits and vegetables. The Mekong River, which starts at the Tibetan plateau, flows into a series of 9 small tributaries which finally empty into the sea. The delta region is home to farmers and small business owners who live a relaxed pace of life.
This region is incredibly vast, but fortunately it doesn’t take too much time to really get a feel for the area. The waterways and canals in the delta are what predominantly connect one area to the next, so much of the exploration in the delta is centred around the waterways. Some activities you can take part in are fishing, canoeing down the canals, and eating fresh fruit from floating markets. A trip on a sampan boat (a type of canoe) down the backwaters is especially fun because the surroundings are incredibly peaceful and mystical. Many tours will also take you to durian orchards, rice paper factories, fruit candy factories, rice fields, and local markets. Another sight that you may want to visit in the Mekong Delta is the ‘fish toilet’. In this unique example of the ‘circle of life’, the fish toilet is a specific outdoor makeshift toilet where humans go to the bathroom in the river, and then the bottom feeder fish digest the excrement. Ironically, river fish are an essential part of the human diet in this region…
The Details: The Mekong Delta has many small towns where tourists can visit to get a feel for the region. Some are closer to Ho Chi Minh City than others, while some offer more of an authentic experience than others. For instance, Cai Be is one of the locations where you can do most of the Mekong Delta activities and is considerably less touristy than My Tho or Can Tho. If you take a tour to the Delta, they will arrange a bus or car transport for you. The best way to explore this area is through a tour so that you can experience all the unique activities there, and you can easily do many of the activities in one day. The drive from Ho Chi Minh City to the general delta region will be around 1.5 to 2 hours.