The best way to explore Mekong Delta is to hop on a river cruise and float along the watery road of the Mekong River. This way you will get the chance to experience the striking mixture of chaos and serenity that the water has to offer.
During your travels you might have come across a floating hotel or even a floating restaurant but it is unlikely that you will have encountered a floating market. Here, vendors float along the water hawking everything from fish to fruit. It might seem a strange spectacle, but to the people that call the Mekong their home, nothing could be more normal. The most famous floating markets in Vietnam are Cai Be and Cai Rang but there are plenty of other smaller ones to explore if you can’t make it to those ones. For the most authentic experience make your way over at 5 or 6 am, just as the market is waking up and coming to life.
Of course, you can’t have a river without a bit of wildlife in and around it but the Mekong Delta takes this to a whole different level. In terms of biological diversity, the Mekong is a haven for wildlife with thousands of different species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Animal-lovers will have a fantastic time spotting exotic birds through their binoculars or cruising along the water in search of the rare but exceptionally beautiful Irrawaddy dolphin. You might also spot a freshwater stingray or giant catfish if you’re lucky.
Also known as the rice bowl of nature, the Mekong Delta, as aforementioned, is a powerful agricultural tool. The water from the river has seeped into the surrounding land making the ground exceptionally fertile. While this has practical uses for the locals, for travellers who don’t depend upon the fat of the land here, it has a whole other appeal. There is something truly sublime about travelling along the water gawping at the lush rice paddies and verdant forests that fringe the river on either side. If you want to check out the power of Mother Nature in full force, the Mekong Delta is the place to do it.
With the Mekong Delta being so pivotal to the lives of the people that live within its vicinity, a whole world has been built alongside it in order to best take advantage of its life-giving powers. Whilst cruising, visitors will get a chance to witness daily life in action. Crafters create their crafts, sellers sell their wares and children run, yell and play in the water. This is what life if like in the Mekong Delta. Throw in a couple of temples here and there and you have a picture perfect snapshot of traditional Mekong culture.
The Mekong Delta is a world away from anything you will have experienced before and a cruise along the river is a unique way to make the most of everything the area has to offer.
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