We have now seen the Mekong River in 3 different countries: Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. We also saw where the Mekong acts as a border between Laos and Thailand. I’ve felt connected to this river since we saw the Irrawaddy Dolphins in Kratie nearly 2 years ago. So when we realized that we could see where the Mekong connects with the South China sea, I knew that it was a ‘must see’ destination for Dave and I.
About the Delta
The Mekong Delta is considered a “biological treasure trove” due to its fertile soil and an abundance of wildlife. More than 1000 animal species live in this small area. We didn’t see much wild life, unfortunately, but the plant-life in the area is absolutely gorgeous!!
The Mekong Delta is an area of agriculture. Dragon fruit, sugar cane, corn, sweet potato, and coconut are all grown in the Delta, but the area’s main agricultural purpose is for rice. More rice is grown in the Mekong Delta every year than in all of Northern and Central Vietnam combined! That’s saying something, given that the enormous Sapa rice terraces are located in the north of the country!
Of the 17 million people who live in the Delta area, 80% of them work in rice agriculture, so you can imagine the rice fields we got to see!
Our Trip to the Delta
Michael, like Dave, loves driving motorcycles, so when we were all still in China, we planned a motorcycle trip out to the delta together. There are many places you can go in the Mekong Delta. My Tho is the most popular because it isn’t far from Saigon. It seemed a bit touristy for our taste though, so we opted to drive a bit further and went to Ben Tre instead.
The drive to Ben Tre was dusty and a bit boring, because we’d mistakenly taken the most direct route, which also happens to be the busiest. Our pollution masks came in handy on the ride there!!
We were thrilled to see the gorgeous pool waiting for us at our hotel. We all washed off the dust from our skin and hopped in to cool down.
In Ben Tre
We only had 1 day in Ben Tre, so we spent it doing the most popular thing to do in the Mekong Delta…we rented a boat (and a captain!) and saw some of the beauty the area has to offer!
Although we found plenty of boats, we had a bit of difficulty finding a tour office that was open during Tet! After some riding around, we managed to find one place that jumped at the opportunity to make an easy sale.
While we waited for our captain, we strolled along the river, admiring the boats and the view.
I noticed that all of the boats had ‘planks’ going down to them, which bothered me a bit. Dave, of course, didn’t care, but I was worried they’d make clumsy ol’ me walk across a rickety piece of wood to get to the boat!
I was right…I did have to “walk the plank.” It wasn’t too bad, and I didn’t fall, but getting into the boat was only step 1 to us getting on our way down the river. Next, we had to get the boat ‘unstuck’ from the muddy Mekong River bank!!
The boat trip was definitely longer than we’d wanted (3 hours…), but there were plenty of gorgeous sights to see along the way!
I wasn’t feeling the best, so Dave ended up getting a bunch of these pictures. These 3 are my favourite though (and I no longer know who took which lol! We’ll call it a combined effort!)
The Way Home
None of us wanted a repeat of the trip TO Ben Tre, so Dave and Michael put their heads together and planned a less direct route home. Their efforts paid off, because WOW did we see some beauty along the way!!!
We also stopped quite a few times on the way back. Sometimes we stopped for ferry rides…
Sometimes it was the lure of hammocks that convinced us to pull over…
But the scenic stops were my favourites. As I mentioned, the Delta is home to Dragon Fruit farms, where we stopped for a few pictures.
Coconut is synonymous with the region, and we definitely stopped for some coconut candies along the way back to HCMC.
My favourite stop was definitely for the rice fields. They were golden, green and beautiful and it was so nice to stop somewhere quiet and clean.
This particular field (like many in Vietnam) was also a cemetery of sorts. The Vietnamese often bury their dead family members in very specific places, close to the home and in a certain direction, so not to disturb balance in their afterlives. We saw many of these coffins during our trip.
With such a beautiful backdrop, we couldn’t help but take some pictures of ourselves as well, and I got some beautiful ones of my dear friends, Michael and Miya.
That wraps up our trip down to the Mekong Delta! It was a great experience and I’d recommend for anyone in the area to take the trip! Here’s the route we took both on the way there and the route on the way back (the one that’s slightly to the left is the boring route…the one on the right is MUCH better!)
Up next I’ll be writing about Phu Quoc as well as some posts about Vietnamese and the things you realize being in these parts of the world!!