Currently, the West of Vietnam is known as the image of the deep blue river, an open space, pure water, green trees, and luxuriant fruit gardens. Away from the noisy and bustling city, down to the South to enjoy fresh air, tourist will find the soothing and refreshing after a stressful work week.
Travelling in Mekong Delta, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the special flavor of many fresh fruits, immersed in the sweet folk to feel more comfortable and relax. Tours to the Mekong Delta will undoubtedly bring comfort to tourists with some special things to do.
It can be said that the best way to explore Mekong Delta is travelling on waterway. Mekong River flowing through the southwest of Vietnam has formed a complicated system of channels. Life in the delta revolves around the river, and this is the only real way to view and understand it. Enjoy a scenic boat trip through the Mekong Delta, you will experience the old-world river life of the Mekong, and enjoy a glimpse into rural Vietnam.
Leisurely Boat Trip Along narow canals
Though there are home-stays all around the country, those located on tranquil islands of the delta, surrounded by acres of orchards, are particularly attractive. Journey up the Mekong for a homestay with a lovely local family, you will learn about life on the Mekong Delta from your hosts, savor freshly picked fruit and gain a true appreciation of why this area is known as the ‘rice basket of Vietnam’. Homestay is actually a two-way cultural exchange as your hosts are very likely to be as interested in your culture as you are in theirs.
Homestay in Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is also famous for its floating markets. On arriving in the delta, you can start the motorized boat to visit the local floating market, experience how people exchanging goods, fruit and many other commodities on their vessels. From 3.00 a.m. in the early morning, the floating markets on the delta are really in full-flow. All the goods are transported to the market by rafts and boats. To make shopping easier the boats suspend a sample of what they sell from the top of a long pole. There are a lot of tours from Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong Delta with floating markets included in their itineraries. Those who only want to make a day trip from Sai gon to Mekong area can still have many options in Mekong Delta day tour.
Thanks to the fertile alluvial soil and favorable climate, Mekong region is known as the largest granary of rice and fruits. The area is responsible for most of the fruit and vegetables eaten and sold around Vietnam. Fresh tropical fruit is the must-try for all visitors and locals alike. The real treat is the price of fruit here. For many tropical fruits, the season is very short because they cannot be picked green and they do not last long in storage where they quickly lose their aroma. The greatest variety of fruits is available during the raining season, from June to September in the South.
After they are picked, the fruits are transported on small boats to floating markets where they are sold to wholesale dealers. In the off-season, many orchards become flower nurseries to meet the peak demand for flowers during the new year celebration in the big cities.
The orchards are divided by a myriad of small irrigation canals with delicate bamboo bridges called "cau khi" or monkey bridges which local people use to cross the canals in their daily life. Crossing a monkey bridge is really an exciting experience.
In the Cuu Long(Mekong) Delta eating fruit has a new twist, the belly farm. A belly farm is where tourists go and stay all day and eat all the desired fruit for a set price. Signs identify orchards open for business. Some signs are discreet saying “Orchard Visits Available,” others are more direct saying, “To Eat Until You Are Full”. The visitors choose by simply walking from the road into the orchard. The deciding factor is usually the type of fruit available.
Some suggestions for visiting Mekong Delta fruit orchards: Phong Dien orchards (Can Tho), Cai Be (Tien Giang), Tan Quy (Tra Vinh), Tam Binh (Vinh Long), Cho Lach (Ben Tre) with the famous brands of fruits like Vinh Kim star apples, Cai Be tangarine, Vinh Long grapefruit, Cai Mon durian, Hoa Loc mangoes, Hau Giang oranges...
Walk in, pick and eat as much as desired. All picked fruit must be eaten. Sit under a shade tree in the orchard and eat the fresh, delicious fruit buffet. A lot of the farmers are more sophisticated. They offer cozy rest areas for eating and sipping tea. At others, drink and food are also available for purchase; including many specialties of Mekong region. The set price allows the fruit lovers to stay all day. Many said that the fruit was not the main draw. It was the peaceful place to unwind.
By and large, if you are planning a trip to South East Asia or Vietnam, make sure to include a few days in the Mekong Delta to taste and try many varieties of fruit you may have never seen before and be prepared to feast to your hearts content on fresh young coconuts. The region offers some of the world’s most interesting eco-tours of rice paddies, fruit orchards, flower growers, and riverbeds... Taking tours in this area supports the local economy and encourages responsible environmental stewardship.
Image sources: Internet