My Tho – Tien Giang
My Tho is the first Mekong Delta city one reaches when driving south from Ho Chi Minh City. Its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City and its location alongside one of the Mekong’s major tributaries makes My Tho a major trading hub of agriculture and seafood products. A typical day trip to My Tho begins with the drive from Ho Chi Minh City through rice paddies and small villages. Upon arrival in My Tho, it is best to transfer to a sampan to ply the small canals and waterways. The sampan ride includes stops at fruit orchards and at islands mid-river.
The picturesque province of Ben Tre, 88 km from Ho Chi Minh City is comprised of several large islands in the mouth of the mighty Mekong river. Due to its location away from the main highways it receives comparatively few visitors. Ben Tre is an ideal introduction to the lush and fertile Mekong Delta area and is home to swaying coconut palms and floating markets.
Cai Be – Vinh Long
An hour further south from My Tho is the riverside town of Vinh Long. The canal network and villages surrounding Vinh Long are more rural than those seen in My Tho, and are perhaps more representative of village life in the Mekong Delta. The trip to Vinh Long takes about three hours from Ho Chi Minh City, with at least one hour spent on ferries crossing major tributaries. The first ferry crossing is at Cai Be. After the crossing, it is best to have a break from the drive by taking a scenic sampan cruise through the nearby waterways. During the cruise one can see local cottage industries such as fishing, boat building, rice and fruit cultivation, and production of rice paper – a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. Local seafood specialties include a variety of fresh-water fish. The best place to try local dishes is an outdoor eatery set in a bonsai garden.
Located on the lowland of Southwest Vietnam, Dong Thap has a complex system of rivers and canals. This supports for its fruitful agriculture business as well as forming a valuable eco-system of variety fauna and flora.
It is particularly famous for its natural beautiful scenery and rich culture. Dong Thap is still a true hidden gem destination in the Mekong Delta and one of the ideal places for you to stay away from the bustling of the city and find a quiet, peaceful place in the rural countryside.
Can Tho is the capital of a province of the same name and is located in the very heart of the Mekong Delta. This bustling city, the largest in the region has broad boulevards and an elegant waterfront which connects it to the rest of the Mekong Delta via a system of rivers and canals. A boat trip along these canals is the highlight of a trip to Can Tho. In addition a visit to the nearby floating market early in the morning is a must-see.
Chau Doc is a port town near the Cambodian border. The city’s 60,000 residents are an intriguing cultural mix of Chinese, Cham, Khmer and Vietnamese people and this is reflected in the town’s architecture. Each community has their own distinctive temples and pagodas. The town has a thriving cross-border trade with Cambodia and is also renowned for its fish breeding industry. The fish are raised in ingeniously designed underwater cages kept underneath peoples’ floating homes on the river. The homes are kept afloat by a combination of empty wooden drums and wooden stakes.