Top things to do in the Mekong Delta (Vietnam)

The Mekong Delta (aka Southwestern Vietnam) is the place where the Mekong River empties into the ocean due to a network of tributaries. Being home to the Mekong River and a network of tributaries, the Delta is emerging as the lands of rice paddies and dense mangroves and palms fringing the river. Therefore, many newbies in traveling to Vietnam will labor under one thing that they just experience a leisure cruise on the river without anything else when arriving in the Mekong Delta. The truth is that lots of attractive things they can do during the journey to explore this water region are waiting for them, e.g. tasting fresh fruit, uncovering stimulating things in the culture of floating markets, touching the quintessence of traditional cuisine, experiencing pastoral activities, and taking a glimpse at a homestay. 

Mekong Delta Vietnam

Tasting fresh fruit

Why do many experienced travelers always assert that tasting fresh fruit is utterly indispensable to each trip to the Mekong Delta, Vietnam? It is simply because this Delta region is a fertile land to grow various delicious tropical fruits, so it also becomes one of the biggest fruit providers for the other regions through the country. One special and exciting thing is that the fruit will be served in the lush green gardens where the locals are enthusiastically eager to bring you the most wonderful performances of southwestern traditional folk music. Try imagining how fantastic it will be to chill out with the serene rhythm while sipping green tea and enjoying slightly sweet and fragrant pieces of mango, rambutan, dragon fruit, banana, orange, pineapple, jackfruit, guava, papaya, etc. 

Uncovering stimulating things in the culture of floating markets

The Mekong Delta is a unique region of Vietnam where water occupies the majority; that is the reason why boats and sampans are the main means of transport of the locals, which also contributes to the foundation of the floating market culture. Arriving in the Delta area, instead of seeing goods being traded on the ground as usual, you will realize that everyone uses their small or big boats to exchange plenty of fruits, vegetables and other products on the river. Because moving through the high gathering areas by boats is quite difficult, compared to doing that on the ground, the locals figure out a smart way to help everyone spot the boat selling the products they want to buy; it is to erect a high bamboo stick with sold products at the top on each of the boats, which is supposed to be an interesting thing in the floating market culture. If you love fruit, don’t forget to buy some from the other boats since their prices are reasonable. For a new experience, let’s order a bowl of noodle soup or some delicacy from the vendor on the river while you are leisurely cruising. The prominent floating markets you can explore are Nga Bay - Hau Giang Province, Nga Nam-Soc Trang Province, Cai Rang - Can Tho City, Cai Be - Tien Giang Province, Long Xuyen – An Giang Province, and Tra On – Vinh Long Province.

Touching the quintessence of traditional cuisine

Traveling to some region without getting a taste of its traditional cuisine is also like you have not set foot here yet. Then, it is highly recommended that you should let yourself discover each specialty as well as each traditional culinary delight during the journey to the Mekong Delta. The unique characteristic in the southwestern cuisine is that most dishes’ flavor is slightly sweet and easy to satisfy your appetite. Although the Delta is a rustic place and the locals’ life is quite serene, their cuisine is indeed elaborate from the way they prepare ingredients to spices added to each of the dishes. Savor to uncover the quintessence of their traditional cuisine. Some suggestions for you comprise coconut mouse, noodle made from sliced flour, Bot Loc cake, Sa Dec noodle soup, Hoi cake with baked rolls, gray eel-catfish, bee worm salad, Cai Rang grilled fermented meat, steamed coconut rice in Ben Tre, and hotpot with fish sauce. 

Experiencing pastoral activities

It is stated that the best way to understand a region and its people is to live their life. Surely, you are wondering how to live the life of the Mekong people while you do not have much time for a journey to this Delta region, aren’t you? Yes, here is the useful advice for you; you can join pastoral activities with the locals, such as draining ditches for fish, burning the caught fish with rice straw, gardening, and crossing “Monkey Bridge” – a special type of bridge often found in the regions with a large channel and ditch system. The most outstanding activities are draining ditches for fish and making use of your booty after your hard farming work. Fresh fish has just been caught from the ditches, and you just use the available straw to make it become a dish with the irresistible aroma and flavor. Despite the fact that it is merely a game, you will understand the daily work of the inhabitants here. 

Taking a glimpse at a homestay 

By experiencing at a homestay, you will gain a chance to penetrate in the daily life of the Mekong Delta’s people. The experience is not merely about staying overnight at the host’s house, but also related to exciting activities you and the host’s family do together. For example, right after entering the house, you will be guided to explore the scenery around, ranging from their gardens to plantations. Maybe, what is supposed to be the greatest part is preparing the dinner with them; they will show you a few local ingredients for cooking whereby you learn about part of the traditional cuisine here. Through this preparation, cultural traditions in the southwestern Vietnam cooking art will be exposed in front of your eyes and probably astonish you so much. Even you also obtain something awesome in the culture of the Vietnamese family meal while enjoying it and talking with the host. There will be a short taste along the calm river taken by the host, getting you excited if you ask them. 

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