The Mekong Delta, Viet Nam
“Now without the bombs and gun shots, people can have a better sleep.“ from someone in the Mekong Delta.
The Mekong River has its origins in the mountains of Tibet, and it traverses six countries and 4500 km before spilling out into the Mekong Delta region of Viet Nam.
After the rainy season, the water is brown from the silt that has been washed into it upstream.
During the dry season the river becomes blue-green in color. There are many boats of different sizes and shapes traveling in all directions, including cargo boats, fishing boats, ferries, tourist boats and house boats.
Everything happens on the river including the floating market of Cai Bei.
All along the river, small huts are perched precariously on stilts so that the water at high tide does no more than wet the floor.
Some are in good shape, but most are ramshackle, and one wonders how they manage to survive.
During the Viet Nam War there was there was fighting there between the Viet Cong and the US Navy boats. After the war the Khmer Rouge attacked Viet Nam to reclaim the Delta area. This campaign precipitated the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia and later downfall of the Khmer Rouge.
The Mekong Delta is called the Rice Bowl of Viet Nam because most of the countries rice production comes from the Delta. They also have most of the country’s fisheries.
The towns along the river are fun to explore by foot or bicycle.
You will find French colonial architecture and delicious fruits and vegetables.
The Mekong Lodge is an interesting place to stay on the Delta.
It is reachable by boat and a good location for exploring the nearby villages and floating market. They are socially and environmentally responsible using eco-friendly materials for the bungalows, solar energy, rainwater, local ingredients and local employees. There is not a lot of English but it adds to the charm. Hand motions are the universal language and I am fluent in them.
I had a great foot massage in a bamboo chair outside of my room overlooking beautiful gardens and fruit orchards of longan, rambutan, mango, durian trees and flowers. http://mekonglodge.com
Another option are local guesthouses where you can stay with a lovely family on the Mekong.
I spent some time at Muoi Huong Tourist Garden (070 3859992) with their lovely family and highly recommend it for a wonderful local experience. (Binh Hoa Phuoc Island, Long Ho District, Vinh Long, Viet Nam).
I had a chance to talk to people in the Mekong Delta. What I noticed throughout Vietnam was some of the nicest friendliest people I met came from the Mekong Delta.
There is an interconnectedness that all Vietnamese have with past generations that we do not have. Every home has an altar to their ancestors with photos and their favorite things on it. The smell of incense used for prayer permeates the country (not so good for me because I am allergic to it). But I love the idea of it – how the smoke rises up to connect them with their ancestors.
They worship at communal houses.
They work hard. They are underpaid and they do not complain.
They have been helped by the efforts, work and suffering of previous generations and ancestors.
Now they are part of the present, with each other, working toward a future when others will pray and thank them.
Special thanks to my tour guide in Saigon and the Mekong Delta Mr. Nguyen Dinh Thanh. Thanh is smart, funny, intuitive, helpful and very knowledgeable about everything related to Viet Nam. I had the best time exploring the Delta with him and highly recommend him as a tour guide.
Di du lịch một cách an toàn,