The Mekong Delta ( Vietnamese name - Dong Bang Song Mekong) is in the South West Region of Vietnam ( Vietnamese : Mien Tay Nam Bo ) which is the main supply of rice in Vietnam. This Area is a vast maze of rivers- Network of Mekong Rivers, swamps and islands, home to floating markets, Khmer pagodas and villages surrounded by rice paddies. Boats are the main means of transportation. Mekong Delta also has other names : Dong Bang Song Cuu Long - Delta of Nine Dragons' River, Mien Tay - The West Region...
The Mekong Delta, as a region, lies immediately to the west of Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon by locals), roughly forming a triangle stretching from My Tho in the east to Chau Đoc and Ha Tien in the northwest, down to Ca Mau at the southernmost tip of Vietnam, and including the island of Phu Quoc. There are 12 Provinces in Mekong Delta, Some of them bordering with Cambodia.
The Mekong Delta region of Vietnam displays a variety of physical landscapes, but is dominated by flat flood plains in the south, with a few hills in the north and west. This diversity of terrain was largely the product of tectonic uplift and folding brought about by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates about 50 million years ago. The soil of the lower Delta consists mainly of sediment from the Mekong and its tributaries, deposited over thousands of years as the river changed its course due to the flatness of the low-lying terrain.
The present Mekong Delta system has two major distributary channels, both discharging directly into the East Sea. The Holocene history of the Mekong Delta shows delta progradation of about 200 km during the last 6 kyr. During the Middle Holocene the Mekong River was discharging waters into both the East Sea and the Gulf of Thailand . The water entering the Gulf of Thailand was flowing via a palaeochannel located within the western part of the delta; north of the Camau Peninsula. Upper Pleistocene prodeltaic and delta front sediments interpreted as the deposits of the palaeo-Mekong River where reported from central basin of the Gulf of Thailand.
The Mekong Delta is the region with the smallest forest area in Vietnam. 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) or 7.7% of the total area are forested. The only provinces with large forests are Ca Mau Province and Kien Giang Province, together accounting for two-thirds of the region's forest area, while forests cover less than 5% of the area of all of the other eight provinces and cities.
Area : 40,576.6 km2 (15,666.7 sq mi)
Elevation : 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2019) :
• Total 21,492,987
• Density 530/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
The temperatures in the Mekong delta are all year round about 25-28°C with only slight variations.
The dry season in the Mekong delta from October / November to April / May is the preferred travel time. But even during the rainy season from May to October, the Mekong delta can be visited too. The rain usually comes in short, heavy showers, mostly in the afternoon and only lasts for an hour or so. Only a few days a year the temperature is below 20°C.
The main tourist season lasts from October to January. So far only a few tourists find their way into the Mekong delta during the off-season from March to September. Even though the weather at this time is not necessarily perfect, you have the advantage of more favorable prices and significantly fewer tourists.
The Mekong delta is near Ho Chi Minh City, and Can Tho is only 4 hours' drive away, so it is easy to access by road, although there is only one main road, and therefore sometimes you may be stunned by the crowded and chaotic flow of traffic.
There are some flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Rach Gia, and also between Ho Chi Minh City and the island of Phu Quoc. Rach Gia can also be reached by boat or plane from Phu Quoc.
There used to be hydrofoil connections from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho then to Can Tho in about 4 hours, but the option does not exist any more. Alternatives are speed boat transfers, or for those who would enjoy unspoilt nature, cruises from Cai Be to Can Tho or back.
The Mekong delta is also a natural passageway from southern Vietnam to Cambodia, which can be entered overland or by river. The access from Vietnam to Cambodia or vise versa is now convenient with some types of speed boat.
You can travel from Chau Doc City to Phnom Penh on a boat-bus journey. You can also enter at the border crossing on the way from Kampot in southern Cambodia to Ha Tien. Bus connections are also now available between Phnom Penh and Can Tho.
There are many Mekong Delta tours available that start in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Some of them end in Saigon, others in Phnom Penh (also available the other way around: Phnom Penh to Saigon). You can book them in travel agencies and hotels in Vietnam and Cambodia. There are only a few tour operators available, however, it can be difficult to find out what tour operator is behind the tour you want to book, as many travel agencies pretend that it is their own tour and prices between agencies can vary significantly for the same tour. To make things a bit more complicated, tour operators often share buses and boats when they don't have enough travelers and they combine different tours (e.g. a 2 day and a 3 day Mekong Delta tour). You may have to change the buses often. Everybody seems to sell the same kind of tour, which is of pretty bad quality.
Travel by bus in southern Vietnam is quite convenient. There are extensive connections between most cities and towns, just go to any town's bus station and you should be able to find bus connections to where you want to go, or at least pretty close to it.
The fastest means of bus travel is by express bus. There are a few companies that run express buses, but the most popular and reliable is Mai Linh. They operate green minibuses that leave promptly at the scheduled time and arrive at the destination the fastest. They have air conditioning, though it's not always strong enough to keep the cabin cool. While the buses go the fastest, they also have a reputation for driving the most dangerously. Though accidents with buses are rare, the ride on an express bus will likely be more stressful than on a local bus. Another name to be considered is Phuong Trang bus, which is more and more become popular with southerners or even tourists for its quality and friendly operating..
Local buses will be large and old and will belch exhaust. They will be slightly cheaper than express buses, but may be a more interesting experience if you enjoy the grittier aspects of local culture. The buses usually won't have air conditioning, but they'll keep the windows down so sometimes they can end up being cooler than the express buses. They will make frequent stops along the road to pick up travelers. If you want to get off somewhere between the main cities, you should take a local bus. Express buses will only stop at bus stations.
Bicyle and Motorbike
The Mekong Delta is a great place to explore by bicycle and motorbike. The terrain is flat and the roads are well-maintained. Traffic isn't too heavy, especially on back roads off Highway 1A. The road between Chau Doc through Long Xuyen to Can Tho is easily the most dangerous in the delta, with quite a lot of big trucks and buses rumbling along a narrow road. Be careful when riding along this stretch and hug the edges of the road.
You'll never have to worry about finding a place to sleep. You'll never be more than 30-40 kilometres from a town with a guest house (nha nghi) or hotel (khach san). If the biking gets too tiring, you'll also find cafes at least every 4-5 kilometres where you can rest and have a drink. There are also mechanic shops every few kilometres where you can get flat tires and other mechanical problems repaired.
A lot of local life happens just next to the road in the delta, so exploring on two wheels can be a great way to get closer to it. You'll see farmers working their fields and walking their buffalos home in the evening. People dry rice, coconut husks, lemongrass and other spices on the side of the road. There will be plenty to see!
SEE & DO
Sam Mountain, a few kilometres from Chau Doc, is a regional Buddhist pilgrimage site and is a good place for a hike. The "mountain" is only 160 metres tall and there are steps of concrete and stone all the way to the top. You'll find numerous colorful temples as you climb to the top, and there are many cafes along the way where you can relax with a fresh coconut or glass of milk coffee. If you can, save your cafe break until you get near the top, where you can relax in a hammock and enjoy the breeze while looking out over the delta and even into neighboring Cambodia. Sam Mountain is the only hill for a long way in every direction, so you can get a great view of Chau Doc and the patchwork or rice fields run through by canals all around.
Phu Quoc Island is the adventure center for the delta area. You can go scuba diving or snorkeling here, though there aren't so many fish left nowadays. Nha Trang, in central Vietnam, has more marine life to see. Phu Quoc is best for exploring by motorbike. There are roads covering a good portion of the island, and they're generally passable as long as it hasn't been raining too much. There are few signs, though, so bring a map and find out how to ask for directions.
Cai Rang floating market: Cai Rang Floating Market is the main wholesale floating market near Can Tho. Go there early in the morning (as early as 5:30am), and come back through the small tributaries to Can Tho river; about 3-4 hours.
Tra Su forest: This sanctuary is located about 20 km from Chau Doc and covers an area of approximately 850 hectares. A wide variety of colorful birds and other animals can be found here: storks, bats, snakes, turtles … Particularly interesting to watch are birds that can walk on water: because of their low body weight they do not fall through the densely grown floating habitats.
My Tho: is the capital of the Tien Giang province in Southern Vietnam. It is the first city in the Mekong Delta travellers from Ho Chi Minh City will arrive and hence a popular spot for dropping tourists on one of the many Mekong boat tours.
Ben Tre: Although only a 20 min ferry-ride away from bustling My Tho, this seems to be barrier enough to give the town a genuine backwater feeling. Tourists are still a scarce species and locals are open and friendly. Ben Tre Province provides some of the most beautiful sceneries in the Mekong delta. The milk coffee colored waters wind their way along small channels lined with water palms, thatch and bamboo houses are nestled in the lush orchards.
Cai Be floating market: is a small and little visited floating market in Mekong Delta. It is held along the Tan Phong Island at the junction of Tien River in territory of three provinces Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Ben Tre. Every morning, hundreds of boats gather here to trade their local products, mainly fruit, creating a bustling fair. Different from other big floating market in the region, Cai Be is a retail market and it ends around mid-day, so try to visit it early or miss its vibrancy.
EAT AND DRINK
Nem Nuong Thanh Van, 17 Hoa Binh St, Can Tho. very famous for its "nem" or spring roll, grilled pork rolled in rice sheet with vegetable, herbs and served with dipping sauce. edit
Nam Bo Restaurant, 50 Hai Ba Trung St, Can Tho. beautiful restaurant set in a French style villa with Hau river view from second floor, good food and so is the service.
Mekong Delta Tour Packages http://www.waytovietnam.com/tours/Mekong_delta_tours/