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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012

Overnight cruise Mekong Delta


In the south of Vietnam, between Ho Chi Minh City, the border of Cambodia, the Southeast Asia Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, spreads the Mekong delta, the huge and low plain, extremely fertile, crossed by nine arms of a river, the Mekong River.

Mekong is the world’s 10th longest and the Asia’s 7th longest river. Born in Tibet (on the heights of Himalaya), the river flows its way through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Mekong splits in Cambodia into two main tributaries: the Bassac (Hau Giang) and the First River (Tien Giang), then continues in Vietnam into a complex network of 9 major arms before throwing itself into the Southeast Asia Sea. Thus, in Vietnamese it is called the River of Nine Dragons (Mekong Delta in Vietnamese means “Dong bang song Cuu Long).

 

 


Life on the Mekong revolves much around the river. Thanks to its wealth (it is the world’s 2nd richest river in species, after the Amazon), the river allows millions of people to earn their living out of it directly or indirectly. Many live right on the banks of its tributaries and canals. Their homes are built from various kinds of materials and usually have stilts and fish-raising cages underneath.

In Vietnam, the Mekong Delta receives the bounty of alluviums and deposits from the upper Mekong and is thus a very rich and verdant area. It produces about half of the country’s total agriculture output (even produces more rice than Japan and Korean together). The Mekong Delta is made up of endless rice fields, a maze of small canals, luxuriant fruit orchards, small islands and isolated villages. Most of the villages are accessed by boat other than by roads. And tourists also prefer to explore the region from a different angle, from its waterway.

An overnight cruise in Mekong Delta may take one to several days long. Major destinations include Can Tho (Cai Rang floating market), Cai Be (Cai Be floating market), Long Xuyen (Phung Hiep floating market), Ben Tre (famous for its maze of creeks), Sa Dec (backdrop of The Lover novel by Marguerite Duras) and Chau Doc (in proximity to Phu Quoc and Cambodia)

The best time to cruise Mekong Delta is from December to May when the sky is crystal clear, the land is lush and the water is calm. From June to September, it may be hot and humid but the greatest variety of tropical fruit is available only during these months.

 


 

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