A. Experience the floating life
As what has been told, your trip to the Mekong Delta won’t be complete if you don’t sit yourself down on a narrow boat (called a ‘sampan’) and paddle your way down the river under fronds of palm trees lining both sides, while making numerous stops along the river at homes of those selling dried fruits or candy.
Life here is much lived on, by or near the water. Houses are built on stilts in order to withstand the floods that happen regularly, ferries can carry people, vehicles, and food, markets are not held on land but on boats and instead of walking from stall to stall, you will paddle your way through the river or walk on planks balanced between two boats to buy food. It is pretty easy to find a boat to help you explore the area once you arrive at one of the provinces in the region.
Life here is much lived on, by or near the water.
– This map shows where you can find piers to board boats, and also the 6 floating markets you should visit in the Mekong Delta –
Floating markets are part of local’s life which explains why there are many of them here. Below is a list of the 6 best floating markets in the Mekong Delta for you to consider:
- Cai Rang floating market, Can Tho Province
- Cai Be floating market, Tien Giang Province
- Phong Dien floating market, Can Tho Province
- Nga Bay floating market, Hau Giang Province
- Nga Nam floating market, Soc Trang Province
- Tran On floating market, Vinh Long Province
These floating markets open early in the morning (3 – 4AM) and become busy around 5 – 6AM since people will work on farms or paddle fields during the day. Make sure you wake up early enough to catch these.
B. Eat Mekong Delta specialties
What should you eat in the Mekong Delta? It is so hard to answer that question because there re so many delicacies, but let me try. Providing 70% of the fruits consumed throughout Vietnam, where else in the country can satisfy your craving of fruits other than the Mekong Delta? There are a dozen different kinds of tropical fruits that are grown here that it’s impractical to list them all but here are a few: pomelo, orange, coconut, water coconut, mango, star apple, pineapple, longan fruit, rambutan, jackfruit, mangosteen, soursop, plum, banana, dragon fruit, and durian. Now I feel out of breath. By the way, you can even eat these fresh from the tree if you pay a visit to a local orchard.
A boat vendor selling fruit
The locals are also very resourceful – coming up with different ways of incorporating these delicious fruits into dishes. For example, banana can be eaten fresh, or grilled, or covered by sticky rice then grilled and draped over with coconut milk. Coconut can be had fresh, or blended as a smoothie, or processed to become dried coconut candy. If you think you can survive on fruits for the rest of your life, you should move and stay here.