Touring the Mekong River and Mekong Delta

NOTE: I used www.travelrepublic.co.uk to plan my latest trip to Vietnam and the highlight was my tour of the Mekong Delta, or rather, Vietnam’s unique ‘rice basket.’

mekong river vietnam

The Mighty Delta

The Mekong Delta is made up of a watery landscape of lush fields and tranquil villages and everywhere you look there is a network of brown canals that are fed by the mighty river. What struck me most about my adventures along the delta was the easy going and friendly nature of the natives who are happy to chat with you and tell you about life along the delta.

I learnt that the delta yields enough rice to feed the country with an impressive surplus and that it was formed by sediment deposited by the Mekong which still continues. The river is huge: it has two daily tides! The delta also nourishes the cultivation of coconut, sugarcane, shrimp and other fruits.

Discovering the delta and cruising along the Mekong River is a magical adventure. Visitors are able to explore riverside towns and sample delicious fruits as well as enjoy the experience of bartering in the vibrant floating markets. There are a few great accommodations along the river with plenty of mouth-watering restaurants.

mekong river vietnam

Delta Highlights

When looking into my trip through Travel Republic’s offers of cheap holidays, I was interested in the multitude of highlights on offer such as visits to flower markets, local orchards and fish farms, too. And once I got there I really enjoyed visiting the bird sanctuaries and even taking a beach getaway to Phu Quoc – an island dotted with lovely beaches and freshwater springs. The diving here is fantastic and the white sandy beaches make for chilled out days in the sun. This area offers a good mix of top class resorts and cheap holiday accommodations.

There is just so much to do and see along the delta that the best way to experience it all is to take a cruise and learn about the delta from informed tour guides. You might like to start your cruise in Thailand even and travel through to Myanmar where you can walk over the Friendship Bridge and explore the incredible markets of Ta Chi Lek. Indulge in the local gastronomy and pick up some great handicrafts, herbal cosmetics and rubies too. I’d also recommend a visit to the Shan quarter where you can make a blessing at the replica temple of Schwedagon.

Enjoying the River Life

I felt that my three-day river cruise was perfect for enjoying the river life. I was able to visit two floating markets – Cai Be and Cai Rang. I also had the opportunity to take an excursion on a small rowing Sampan and I couldn’t resist hopping on a bike to explore the quaint side canals of the mighty river.

Most tour operators will collect you from your hotel and return you after the cruise and you can start your days with a Panorama River Cruise aboard a wooden vessel. You can sit back and enjoy a delicious lunch as the picture-perfect scenery goes by. You will stop off for land excursions most days and end off with gorgeous sunsets and dinners on board before drifting off to sleep atop the Mekong Delta. Some tours even offer visits to the forest of Xeo Quyt – a jungle that was headquarters to local partisans during the Vietnam War.

mekong river vietnam

A Traditional Sampan

One of my highlights of the trip was the cruise in the traditional sampan. The 21.5-metre long and 4-metre wide vessel is made of combined wood and woven bamboo and this is the vessel of choice for the locals who spend their lives working and living on the delta. The sampan is comfortable and fully equipped with a well-ventilated compartment that doubles as both a bedroom and dining room. The boat holds up to 30 people and offers three restrooms and showers, a full crew and captain and a well-informed tour guide.

I was absolutely amazed with the Mekong landscapes, the way of life of the locals and the smiling, warmness of the welcoming people of the Delta. The aquatic life is fantastic too and there was just so much to do that my need for thrill and adventure was surpassed.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! www.travelrepublic.co.uk recommends some great sightseeing and tour opportunities and I’m looking forward to have my cheap holidays abroad 2014 back to Vietnam for another round of enjoyable travel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ariana Louis has fallen in love with Asia. A teacher, Ariana saved up for five years so she could fulfill her love of adventure to go globe-trotting, and it is Asia in particular that has won her over. Ariana enjoys cheap holidays, immersing herself in local culture and experiencing everything she possibly can!

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