Mekong River Cruise - 10 Reasons to Say Yes

Nicknamed as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam, the Mekong delta is blanketed in a dizzying kind of greens. It's a water world that flows to the rhythms of the mighty Mekong, where houses, boats, and even the markets float upon the rivers, canals and streams that criss-cross the landscape of this Delta.

The bustling trade of its towns conflicts sharply with the sluggish, almost tranquil pace of life in the countryside. You can easily find the buffalo wallow in rice paddies, innumerable coconut- and fruit-laden boats that gently drift along the mud-brown waters, and two-wheeled journey of the narrow lanes. How can one leave without getting the authentic taste of rural hospitality (and delicious river fish)?

Going a bit deeper, the Mekong River Cruise takes you to that part of the Delta which is heavily punctuated with the mangrove forests. Teeming with a wealth of birdlife and bristling with the remains of Viet Cong bunkers, the region is ornate with Khmer pagodas and Buddhist temples stretching for the sky.  The off-coast islands offer white-sand shores and tropical hideaways to appreciate the unspoilt beauty of nature.

1. Floating on the other rivers

Mekong River cruises either originate or end in Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam's largest city. Another waterway, which is undergoing a revival is the most commonly overlooked Saigon River. You can get a combined package that takes you to the 18th-century Mieu Noi, a floating temple on the Vam Thuat River. A new public ferry service is perfect for vacation but for a more in-depth insight take a sunset speedboat journey with Les Rivers.

Floating on the Other Rivers of Mekong
Floating on the Other Rivers of Mekong
River of Mekong Delta
River of Mekong Delta

2. A haven for the shopaholics as you hit the deck

To see a diverse and contemporary side of the city, travel across Ho Chi Minh City's District One, to cross the Saigon River to District Two, which is a sort of Saigon Seminyak. Ho Chi Minh City's District One, where the leading hotels, all the shopping and tourist sites are located, tends to seize the visitor's time. It's an expanding region of the upscale and sophisticated shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants including some of the most happening eateries.

3. The tales of the inspiring spires

As you take the Mekong River Cruise across the Delta, explore the beautiful Vietnamese and French colonial traditional architecture. One of the best examples of this architectural fusion is Cai Be's canal-side Ba Duc Ancient House, which ages back to 1850. Spot the various spires of 19th and early 20th-century Catholic cathedrals standing above the dilapidated waterside villages. The mansion also highlights a bed of ornamental plants and tropical fruit trees.

4. Visit the sanctuary in the sunken forest

Tranquillity in the Mekong Delta can be baffling. To endure the natural side of Vietnam's frenetic food bowl which continues for about 1500-hectare Tra Su Bird Sanctuary is located close to the border city of Chau Doc. visitors board non-motorised paddle-boats to see the beautiful birdlife  but you can also get the short speedboat ride to enjoy the sunken forest.

Sunken Forest in Mekong Delta
Sunken Forest in Mekong Delta
Sailboat in Mekong Delta
Sailboat in Mekong Delta

5. Explore the Tan Chau Silk Village – An Giang

You don’t have to travel to Hoi An for quality silk. While cruising on the Delta route, you can discover Tan Chau Silk Village if you want to enjoy and explore the traditional silk-making process. In Mekong Delta, there’s a community that has been around for a long time and today is a trusted name for natural silk material. The softness of Tan Chau silk along with the right mix of toughness and high absorbability is one of the most delicate fabrics in the world.

6. Tra Su Cajuput Forest - another hidden treasure

Wondering how the wetlands of Mekong Delta look like? You can look for a beautiful ecotourism site at the fern-fed Tra Su Cajuput Forest. It is a lovely site and more so during the rainy season when the entire forest is flooded with green water. It creates a majestic look when the sunlight reaches down the water surface. You can also find colonies of flora, fauna and avifauna.

The only way to visit Tra Su forest is by boat, which are paddled and guided by the local women. The best time to visit is during the rainy season from September to November.

7. Taste the fresh citrus at Cai Be Fruit Orchard

Did you know that the Mekong Delta provides two-third of the fruit consumed throughout Vietnam? It would be a great miss if you do not taste the fruits while touring in Mekong river cruise. The perfect places to get the fresh ones are from the fruit orchards, the greatest one is Cai Be Fruit Orchard. You can also get the taste the other kinds of tropical fruits.

Fresh Pineapple
Fresh Pineapple
Honey and Fruit Orchard in Mekong Delta
Honey and Fruit Orchard in Mekong Delta

8. Tram Chim National Park - Dong Thap

Spanning over the total area of 7,500 hectares, the National Park of Vietnam is home to 200 types of birds, many of which are of endangered species. When you have to look out for a kingdom of birds in Mekong Delta, Tram Chim National Park is the place. An interesting part of the visit is spotting the rare white lotus in Vietnam. You can enjoy a 30 minutes to 1 hour tour here.

9. Sampan Cruise in My Tho

Irrespective of the starting point of the tour, the boat will take visitors to Tortoise (Con Quy), Dragon (Con Tan Long), and Unicorn (Con Thoi Son) islands. My Tho is approximately two hours from Saigon and is an ideal touring option of sampan cruise from the city. The first stop is the local fruit orchards for the travellers where they can taste fruits like jackfruit, guava, and pomelo accompanied with some local drinks like tea. If you want to taste, buy and see how these sweets are made of coconut milk, take a short sampan boat ride through the thick canopy of coconut trees which will take you to the candy factory.

10. Vinh Trang Temple, My Tho

Vinh Trang temple is a revered place to visit while on Mekong River Cruise. Sprawling covering an area of 2000 sq m, the place is adorned with ample greenery and too much colours. The splendid façade of the temple has five buildings, 178 pillars, two ornamental yards, and two triumphal arches.  Vinh Trang is an excellent amalgamation of European and Asian architecture styles which was built in 1849,. It is Vinh Trang is a representative of the Buddhist temples in southern Vietnam.

See More:

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