The Mekong Delta is more than just 4,350 kilometers of water in Vietnam. There are many people in southern Vietnam who rely on it for their survival. Away from the hectic pace of Ho Chi Minh City, the gentle sway of life on the water is a welcome change.
A trip to the Mekong Delta is an excellent option for those staying in Ho Chi Minh City and seeking a day trip with plenty of cultural and natural attractions. Visualize the bustling Ben Thanh Market in Hanoi, Vietnam, but set in the middle of the water.
The Cai Be Floating Market
There are few well-known floating markets in Mekong Delta.
The Cai Be Floating Market is an essential first stop on any day trip through the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. It is recommended that you get to the market no later than 5 AM in order to get the most out of your experience there and to get a true feel for the local culture. For the most part, Vietnamese people rise very early. Actually, Cai Be Market’s busiest time of day starts from 3 to 5 am in the morning.
You need to “do as the locals do” if you want to have an authentic experience. That calls for an early morning rise before the market opens to the public.
There are two parts to Cai Be Market. There is a distributors’ area and a customers’ area. Approximately 400-500 boats ply the waters daily, hawking everything from fresh produce to household goods.
Take note of the long poles that vendors use to suspend their wares above their boats. A product at Cai Be Floating Market can be advertised in a straightforward yet highly effective manner.
Since the hours of many tradespeople are so irregular, their boats often serve as their primary residence. The Mekong Delta in Vietnam is home to a unique way of life that is only possible thanks to the river.
Stop by the beautiful Cai Be Catholic Cathedral, located on the riverbanks after exploring the floating market. In order to get that coveted “Insta Worthy” photo, you must glide past the church.
Ask your “captain” to take you to a nearby island if you plan on visiting the nearby city of Can Tho.
Row Sampan into the jungle !!!
Your next step should be to travel along the estuaries that will take you deeper into the tropical jungle. It is at this point that the vast majority of travelers board a sampan operated by the local community. Sampans are traditional Chinese flat-bottomed wooden boats. Surprisingly, many sampans in the Mekong are rowed not with their arms but with their legs.
To navigate the murky waterways of the Mekong Delta by sampan is both a daunting and fascinating experience. Many visitors find it difficult to focus on the Mekong Delta adventure without constantly thinking about the incredible variety of aquatic life that inhabits its waters.
To the side of the road are tropical fruit orchards tended by friendly local farmers. Locals along the Mekong River love meeting foreign visitors face to face. Instead of making visitors feel like they are trespassing on private property, the friendly locals smile broadly and wave as children emerge from the underbrush to shout “hello” from the riverbanks.
A stop at Tan Phong Island, the birthplace of the Rambutan fruit beloved throughout Southeast Asia, is a must on the way back to civilization.
The “Divine Eye” at CAO DAI Temple.
Cao Dai incorporates ideas from a wide variety of world religions, including but not limited to Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam. The Mekong Delta region, in southern Vietnam, is the spiritual home of the religion’s adherents. There are more Cao Dai temples along the Mekong River than anywhere else in the world, and the religion has an estimated three million adherents.
The religion was established in the 1920s, and its temples take architectural cues from Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian structures. The Cao Dai temples combine elements of a pagoda, a cathedral, and a mosque.
The “All-Seeing Holy Eye” is the object of worship for adherents. This is a representation of their God in the material world. Above the entrance to the “Divine Temple” is a piece of art that serves as proof of this. This nine-story house of worship can be found in the Tay Ninh province, which is about 60 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City.
Near By Attractions
Mekong Delta canals cover an area of 40,500 square kilometers and reach 12 different provinces. In a region of this size, there is no shortage of interesting places to visit.
City of Can Tho
Can Tho’s fame has grown immensely over the years. The waterfront area of Ninh Kieu is now a busy port. Can Tho City is known as the “Gateway to the Mekong” because this is where the vast majority of Mekong River cruises begin and end?
At night, the waterfront area of this once sleepy port city comes alive with restaurants, bars, and clubs. Visitors are drawn to the riverside bars, hotels, and floating restaurants by the vibrant colors cast by the neon lights.
Park of Tram Chim
The province of Dong Thap is home to Tram Chim National Park. More than 200 species of birds have been spotted there, including several that are critically endangered. In addition, more than a quarter of Vietnam’s avian population makes its home in the national park.
The park, which now spans over 7,500 ha and is known as the “Kingdom of Birds,” was established in the 1930s. If you want to enjoy the best weather, your trip should be scheduled for March or April.
Finally, as always, we offer some advice to make your trip a little less stressful. Where to go, how to get there, and what to do and what not to do are all things we can help you with.
So, take note of these two insider tips the next time you travel to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
2. Respect religious sites by dressing appropriately.
Observing proper etiquette as a tourist means showing deference to the local customs and religions. At most temples in the region, visitors are expected to adhere to a dress code. It’s important to remember, though, that each site has its own set of regulations. Covering your knees and shoulders is all that is required to enter the Mekong. Women are expected to dress conservatively and wear pants or long shorts or a sarong to cover their legs and upper body. This also applies to males.
2. avoid coming during the wetter months.
The climate in the southern part of Vietnam consists of two distinct seasons: heat and rain. Flooding, inaccessible sites, power outages, and a long list of interruptions will be experienced by tourists who make the mistake of visiting Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in the rainy season.
The southern region experiences a dry season from the months of November through January.
The central and northern regions have their own 4 seasons, so take this into account when making travel plans.