5 things to do and see in The Mekong Delta
The magnificent Mekong River passes through five countries on its way from The foothills of the Himalayas to the South China Sea. As it nears its journey’s end, it splits into hundreds of tiny rivulets and small rivers separated by tiny strips of land and islands. This is the wonderfully diverse and culturally fascinating Mekong Delta. There is so much to see and do here, I could talk for days. But here are just a few of the unmissable places to see and things to do.
The capital city of the Mekong Delta is Can Tho, a wonderful lively place that comes alive every evening. Hai Ba Trung is the road that runs along the riverfront and everything here happens on, or just off it. In the early evening young couples gather and stroll together along this picturesque thoroughfare, taking in the evening air. There are many restaurants and cafes, shops and markets. It has the feel of a Mediterranean town rather than a capital city in the middle of Asia.
Cai Rang Floating Market
Vietnam is famous for its floating markets and Cai Rang is probably the biggest and the best. Tourist boats leave the quayside at Can Tho early every morning to catch the vibrant and colourful scene. Hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes gather to do business. Huge wholesale craft sell to smaller brightly painted retail boats who in turn pass on the produce to the general public. Each boat hangs an example of what they are selling, from a high bamboo pole at the front.
Rice paper Workshops
These are generally family run affairs with three or four generations of one family involved. Rice is soaked for about four hours until the starch is released. This is mixed with cassaba root to provide even more starch, The white gloopy mixture is then poured onto a hot plate where it immediately hardens to for the rice paper. These sheets are then dried in the sun. The sheets are either left whole, to be used in the making of spring rolls, or cut into thin strips or Pho, from which the Vietnamese national dish of rich beef, noodle soup gets its name.
The Mekong is very much the fruit basket of southern Vietnam. A huge percentage of the regions fruit is grown here and visiting an orchard is the best way to try them all, getting them as fresh as is possible. There are many tours to the different orchards where you can see the fruit growing and sample the fruit straight from the tree. Many orchards often have groups of traditional folk musicians who will sing and play their ancient instruments to entertain you as you try the fruit.
The best way to see all of the above is to take a boat trip. These medium size craft weave about on the large and medium sized rivers taking tourists to their destinations. Where the rivulets become too small they will transfer you to a smaller craft where old men and women will row you through incredible scenery to see the family run business, orchards and rice paddies.
These are just five examples of what is on offer, in this amazing part of the world.