Mekong Delta

The delta of the mighty Mekong river is another interesting destination in the south of Vietnam. It offers a broad variety of things to experience.

Ginger Flowers in the Mekong DeltaGinger Flowers in the Mekong Delta | photo: Frank Fox (cc-by-sa)

The mighty Mekong is one of the most well-known rivers and with his length of 4,350 kilometres the 12th longest river in the world. From the Tibetan Plateau the Mekong river runs through China's Yunnan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and finally Vietnam where a colourful culture developed around the old father of rivers.

The Eye of ShipsThe Eye of Ships | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

The 7th longest river in Asia drains an area of roughly 795,000 square kilometres. At his delta, the Mekong discharges around 457 cubic kilometres of water into the South China Sea (East Sea in Vietnamese).

Before we get into more detail, why don't you read our review of a one day private tour into the Mekong Delta over here?

Cheerful Lady in the Mekong DeltaCheerful Lady in the Mekong Delta | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

The largest city in the Mekong Delta is Can Tho. The greatest tourist magnet of Can Tho is definitely Cai Rang floating market. A colourful experience which shows after the first glance that there s method to the madness. Not only the floating market offers (arguably) high quality local produce, it is also one of the truly Asian experiences that have not changed in generations.

Cai Rang Floating MarketCai Rang Floating Market | photo: (cc-by-sa) Oliver Laumann

And here we have a map of the mighty Mekong river, from the spring to the delta:

Map of the river MekongMap of the river Mekong | photo: (cc-by-sa) Shannon1

Economy

In terms of agriculture, the Mekong Delta is Vietnam's most productive region. With roughly 2.6 million ha of farmland, the delta harbours a fourth of the total farmland in Vietnam and in 2011 the output of rice was 23.186.000t, over 54% of Vietnam's total. But agriculture is not the only source of income for the delta provinces. Fishery is also a big deal and the region accounts for almost half of the fishing fleet of the country with an output of 3.168 tons per year that amount to over 58% of the overall output.

Pier of Ham Ninh Fishing Village on Phu Quoc IslandPier of Ham Ninh Fishing Village on Phu Quoc Island | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Aquaculture is another big factor of the economy in the Mekong Delta and despite the challenges on the international market, the output is steadily growing. The largely uncontrolled use of antibiotics in aquaculture also contributes to more and more resistances of common bacteria to antibiotics.

Long Beach Phu QuocLong Beach Phu Quoc | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

With the recent development of Phu Quoc as one of Vietnam's prime resort destinations, the region has one more source of income: Tourism. I mean there was tourism before, but rather in the form of day tours as described above.

Mosquitoes

Do yourself a favour and buy a mosquito repellent. Don't bring one along from Europe, our stuff doesn't work here. Rather buy one at any local pharmacy for around 30.000đ. The Mekong Delta is a breeding ground for these animals and there are cases of malaria, dengue fever and zika.

Aedes Aegypti - Daytime MosquitoAedes Aegypti - Daytime Mosquito | photo: (pd) Lames Gathany

Souvenirs

The most popular souvenirs from the Mekong Delta include, but are not limited to coconut products (oil, soap, candy). As you can read in our tour review, you will be taken to workshops, where you can watch how the stuff is made and purchase what you want to bring along. In this case it comes in pretty handy to join one of the better tours where the guide is not dependent on sales commission and can afford to be honest with you about the price of things. One bar of soap for example is 35.000đ, but the first offer will most likely be 100.000đ.

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