Mekong Tours – Adventure Travel Guide for Mekong Cruises Holidays
The Mekong Delta is located in the southwestern region of Vietnam, to the west of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) amid a visual backdrop of mountains and moorlands to the north and west, and level flood plains to the south. The delta is formed by residue left by the Mekong River originating in the Tibetan highland and flows into the South China Sea.
The Mekong Delta is the second major exporter of rice. Tourists can view the fertile rice pads and fish farms along the Mekong River that the Vietnamese are so proud of. The villagers refer to the rice pads as co bay thang canh (scale farming can fly). Enjoy a scenic walking tour via the foot and bicycle trails through palm-lined paths. Observe first-hand the intricate network of canals supplied by the Mekong River.
The Mekong River is the tenth longest river in the world at around 4,909 km (3,050 mi). The Mekong River, which is the seventh longest river in Asia, is so vast that it has two tides each day.
The mighty Mekong River runs from the Tibetan plateau in Tibet and flows through the Yunnan province in China and then on into Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and then finally into Mekong Vietnam. The six countries all work together as part of the newly formed Mekong River Commission to ensure the management and sustainability of the Mekong River.
Mekong, or Cuu Long in Vietnamese, means Nine Dragons for the multiple tributaries that carry the river’s flow into the South China Sea. Quiet villages line the Mekong River with easy access to and from the river via walking path or river boat. The inhabitants of these villages depend on the Mekong River for their welfare and existence, as well as for social networking.
Vietnam Mekong Delta
The national airline of Vietnam is Vietnam Airlines, the sole airline operating in the airports of the Mekong Delta. Tan Son Nhat Airport is a brief four miles, or seven kilometers, from the downtown area of Ho Chi Minh City, and is considered an intercontinental airport with connections available to major global destinations. Vietnam Airlines offers four non-stop flights from Tan Son Nhat Airport to Phu Quoc. Also, indirect flights to Ho Chi Minh City, then on to Rach Gia, and finally Phu Quoc are available as well.
The Cai Be Floating Market is a must-see when visiting the Mekong Delta. This is an open air and water market the likes of which you will find nowhere else and a Mekong travel experience to be remembered. A never-ending procession of river boats filled with everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to textiles and handmade items line the river while the Vietnamese encourage trade. The ports of Cai Be and Can Tho are full of activity and offer floating markets as well. Traveling around the floating market can be thoroughly enjoyed on a boat Mekong tour.
Another must-see is the most expensive bridge in the Mekong Delta, the Can Tho Bridge. This cabled bridge runs over a draining channel of the Mekong River. And now, on to An Binh Island for a visit to perhaps a fresh fruit orchard. Catch a glimpse of a typical workday for an island inhabitant. When you are done there, enjoy a ride on a horse-drawn cart through the village stopping at various family-owned businesses. And, don’t forget to stop for a sampling of fresh coconut candy, made fresh daily on the island.
The Vietnam Island of Phu Quoc was used by the French colonial as a prison and is still used today. Coconut Tree Prison near the town of An Thoi is a penal colony and is considered a historical site, which you can visit on your Mekong tours.
Another beautiful site is Sam Mountain. Located only a few kilometers from Chau Doc, this mountain is frequently visited by hikers for its beauty and its accommodating pathway. Concrete and stone steps allow for unusual ease to the mountain top. And, on your way to the mountain top, make a few stops at the numerous temples and snack bars listening to the sound of traditional Vietnamese music. Inhale the breathtaking view of the canals of the delta, Chau Doc, and nearby Cambodia while you enjoy a tumbler of milk coffee or coconut milk.
In the Province of An Giang, you will find Mt. Cam. Though rarely advertised, the top of this mountain is home to a lake, pagodas, a temple and a statue of a rather large Buddha. You can reach Mt. Cam by motorbike or hiking. For those in athletic condition, bicycling is possible.
Con Son is the biggest island situated off the coast of southern Vietnam. Con Son Island was a former penal colony, which urbanized into a strikingly developed community for the area. Con Dao National Park finds its home on this island and is the best example of marine preservation in Vietnam.
From the bus station in any town, you can hop a bus to most towns and larger cities. If you decide to bus, look for a company that offers express busses. Express busses often stay true to departure and arrival times, as well as offering a more comfortable ride.
Boat tours or sampans, similar to the early river boats that traveled the Mekong River, offer reasonable fares and worthwhile tours. In many cases, you can spend the night on board. River boat tours can last from one to several days touring the Mekong Delta. By ferry, Vung Tau is a mere hour journey.
If you choose a bicycle or motorbike as your means of transportation, stay clear of the road between Chau Doc and Long Xuyen on the way to Can Tho, since the road is extremely narrow and traveled heavily by buses and trucks. Look for bicycles and motorbikes in the larger cities to kick start your Mekong adventure holidays adventure. They are available at a reasonable rate.
It is better not to visit on the fly. Adequate planning pays off in the long run. A variety of housing is available during your stay in the Mekong Delta and don’t miss the opportunity to go on a Mekong cruise on your stay. Budget lodging and hostels are available along the Mekong River. If you plan on spending a few days touring the waterways, a few nights on a riverboat makes sense.