Southeast Asia has some of the best tourist destinations for beginners to enjoy beautiful beaches, a diverse culture, and a colorful nightlife. While it’s easy to lust over places like Amsterdam, where the average beer costs around $37, that same amount in Southeast Asia can get you a night at a cheap motel, an entire day’s worth of food, and even some pocket money to spare! Take Vietnam, for instance. ExpatBets, which offers comprehensive gaming guides for Asian countries, identifies Vietnam as a place that attracts tourists because of its natural beauty and rich history. The Mekong River is a good way to travel around the country and see with your own eyes what the fuss is all about.
Here are 10 of the best things to do in the Mekong Delta, the region where the river goes through southwest Vietnam, home to some of the country’s more unique ecosystems, communities, and traces of history.
Since life in Mekong Delta is surrounded by water, it’s home to some of the most famous floating markets on the continent. There are many markets to choose from, but Nga Nam is an excellent choice for tourists since it’s situated at the intersection of five different rivers. This strategic location makes it much easier to travel to different attractions. Nga Nam sells a wide variety of goods that will not leave you wanting, so prepare to buy fruit, meat, rice, and even electronics!
Mỹ Tho is the most visited city in the Mekong Delta, and it’s home to some of the best pagodas and orchards in the whole of Vietnam. It only takes about two hours to arrive here by bus, all the way from Ho Chi Minh City. If you’re headed to Mỹ Tho, be sure not to miss the floating markets, extensive fields, and some of the best food in the country, such as Hu Tiu My Tho (pork and noodle soup) and Chuoi Nuong (fried banana with coconut milk) for dessert.
This natural oasis located at Cần Giờ is listed by UNESCO as a heritage site, highly valuable for its mangrove forests and wetland ecosystems. There are plenty of things to do, such as talking to the locals, exploring its wildlife, and even visiting an island inhabited by monkeys.
This city is the biggest in all of Mekong Delta, and houses some of most delicious fruits and edible flowers in the region. It’s also where the famous floating market, Cái Răng, is located. Although Cần Thơ has been transformed into a more industrialized city, it’s still the primary cultural center for most surrounding rural areas.
Rạch Giá is the fastest way to get to Vietnam’s famous beaches located in Phú Quốc Island. Several ferries operate to and from the different ports around Phú Quốc – so if you’re planning to swim, might as well let the water take you there.
Why walk when you can cycle tour around Mekong Delta? There are plenty of cycling travel agencies with a local guide to help you experience local traditions. Just make sure to stay on course, less you want to swim with your bike. Whichever tour you choose, it’s best to start your biking days early. This way, you can cover plenty of ground and see more sights before the afternoon sun is at its strongest and hottest.
The Khone falls in southern Laos has been the point that divides the upper and lower parts of the Mekong River. These falls are located just before the Cambodian border, and are largely unnavigated due to large rocks. What the waterfall lacks in height it makes up for in impressive width and turbulent waters — truly a wonder to behold and admire from afar.
The Mekong River is what connects Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia, and Sóc Trăng is home to the largest population of Khmer people outside of Cambodia. There are few things you can do outside of a boat ride, but the knowledge you will gain by talking to some of its locals is fascinating all the same. This province is also known for the charming natural scenery, unique festivals, and of course, awe-inspiring temples.
Witnessing the sights and sounds of a new country can be completely life-changing. In the case of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, these attractions prove that there’s plenty to see in 10 places that can make one’s travel experience truly unforgettable! For more sights to see in Vietnam and other countries, check out our articles here on More Than Food Mag.