From Ho Chi Minh City (formerly, and still commonly known as, Saigon), you can take a trip to visit the Mekong Delta region of southwestern Vietnam. The location is where the Mekong River approaches and enters the sea, and it has been dubbed a “biological treasure trove” as over 10,000 new species have been discovered in certain areas.
A popular way of seeing the area is with an organised boat tour, and it appears to be a top tourist and backpacker activity here. I decided on a two day tour which was booked with a local agent in HCMC, unfortunately the experience wasn’t fantastic as I felt that there was a lot of waiting around and stopping off at random places where you feel obligated to purchase something (this actually happens quite a lot in Vietnam).
In saying that, the highlights of the trip for me were the home-stay in Can Tho (sailing through the river in pitch darkness not knowing where we were going was certainly an experience!) and walking through the village the following morning to buy breakfast with our homestay hosts. At 5.30am the entire village was already coming to life, the market traders and noodle shops were selling their wares by the roadside and children were on their way to school. We also visited the Cai Rang floating marketing later on that morning, where all of the buying and selling takes place right there on the river. Aside from my gripes with the organised tour (which I generally dislike anyway, so no real surprise there I suppose!), it was a wonderful introduction to Vietnamese life and being able to meet some warm and friendly local people and absorb day to day life whilst floating along the river is an experience not to be missed. I have heard that you can do your own independent tours of the area, which I probably would choose to do given another chance.
Here’s a selection of my photographs from the Mekong Delta trip: