October 30, 2008

Mekong Delta Vietnam

A holiday in Vietnam would be incomplete without a trip to the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Popularly known as one of the ‘Rice Baskets’ of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is located in the South Eastern region of Vietnam, where the Mekong River meets the sea. A pride of the Vietnamese and the one of the most popular of the Vietnam tourist attractions, the Mekong Delta is exceptionally rich in scenic beauty. It is a place unique in itself. There is so much to see and so much to do here that a one day trip would definitely not be enough.

Cultivation in Mekong Delta

Extending over an area of nearly 60,000km, the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is like a maze of the Mekong River tributaries. It is one of the most fertile areas of Vietnam; hence any spare land in between the waterways has been used for cultivation. The Mekong Delta is one of the main sources of agricultural products in the whole of Vietnam, contributing about 50% to the country’s total rice cultivation. Apart from this, here there are many sugar cane fields, vegetable gardens and orchards, growing various kinds of tropical fruits. The vast stretches of green paddy fields, criss-crossed by winding streams, surely makes an exquisite sight.

People and Life in Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta, Vietnam has a population of nearly 17 million, consisting mostly of farmers and fishermen. Life here revolves around the river; the homes and place of work are mostly near the river banks. Some natives, especially the fishermen, have even built houses on canoes. In a whole their lifestyle though simple, is indeed very fascinating and something that tourists love to see.

The Floating Market in Mekong Delta

The floating market had been initiated to make use of the vast extent of water in Mekong Delta. However it has now become one of the most distinctive features of this place. From around 5 am to 11 am every morning the floating markets in Mekong Delta are set up. The concept of a floating market is that, boats heaped with fruits and vegetables from close by orchards meet at the floating markets, from there the local dealers buy the goods to sell it again in the markets or to other cities. Floating markets in Mekong Delta also have floating eateries and gas stations and hence are flocked by tourists most of the time. Among the various markets spread all over the place, the Phung Hiep, located at a significant junction of seven main canals is by far the largest. When viewed from a bridge this market surely makes a fantastic sight.

Another bizarre yet interesting feature of the Mekong Delta is its Snake Industry. A snake buff, Lt Col Tran Van Duoc had set up the Dong Nam Snake Farm in 1977. It had actually been created purely to do research on reptile venom. However, now they also sell live snakes, which are used as food and for medicinal purposes.

So if you are planning trips to the Vietnam popular destinations, and if the Mekong Delta is on your itenerary, then it would be ideal if you house yourself at Can Tho, about 170 km away from Saigon. Known as the ‘capital’ of Mekong, it is a very busy Trade Centre, with a pretty large sea port. To accommodate the rush of tourists to Mekong there are several hotels and restaurants in Can Tho, Vietnam. It is also the best location to sight-see around the whole of Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

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