Buzzing with longtail taxi boats and crowded with barges piled with mangoes, pineapples and fresh fish, a trip to the Mekong Delta is all about getting to know the rhythms of life on the water.
The Mekong is the world’s twelfth-longest river, running 4,000 miles from the snowy Himalayas to the steamy South China Sea, and meandering through six countries along the way. Though its upper reaches are remote and unpopulated, by the time it reaches Vietnam, the Mekong is a positive hive of human activity, fanning out into a vast cobweb of distributaries as it makes its way to the ocean.
This is the Mekong Delta: equivalent in size and population to The Netherlands, it’s by far the most agriculturally productive region in Vietnam, putting fish, fruit and rice on the tables of the country’s 100 million people. The myriad waterways of the delta make the boat the perfect means of exploration, and one that enables you to get among the buzzing longtail taxi boats and crowded with barges piled with mangoes, pineapples and fresh fish, floating between mangroves and paddy fields. We also recommend hopping ashore to explore the countless temples and stilt villages on foot, haggle for snacks and handicrafts at the floating markets, and cycle through farmlands dotted with coconut palms. Though the more tourist-centric villages and markets are best avoided, it’s easy to escape the crowds: just a short boat trip down a quiet waterway or a cycle ride into the countryside will quickly reveal an entirely different and satisfyingly authentic side of life on the water.