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Mekong Delta Vietnam informationVietnam has two big deltas, the Red River delta in the North, and the one we talk about here is Mekong in the South, this Mekong delta region is formed by the various tributaries of the mighty Mekong River which begins its journey to the sea in Tibet and winds its way for 4500 km through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Southern Vietnam.

The Vietnamese name for the Mekong is Cuu Long which means "nine dragons" and this is represented by the nine exit points of the Mekong River as it flows into the sea. The land of the Mekong Delta is renowned for its richness. Known as Vietnam 's breadbasket, it produces enough rice to feed the entire country with a sizable surplus leftover. Take a sampan ride that meanders through small villages and experience the simple lives of the Mekong people.

Can Tho - Mekong Delta
Being the capital of the Mekong delta Vietnam , Can Tho is a thriving metropolis with huge streets, little action and loads of mosquitoes. Although Can Tho has its own market by the riverside, where you can get excellent ice-cream, the principal attraction would have to be the nearby floating markets. Being rather industrious, the centre of Can Tho is quite busy and noisy with motorized cyclos roaring up and down the streets combined with throngs of people going about their lives. The riverside can have its quiet moments, but Can Tho is also a burgeoning are a number of pagodas worth visiting, and for the trivia fans, Can Tho is the home to much of Vietnam ’s fish sauce.

Cai Rang floating market is situated about 8 km from Can Tho by road or a 20 km loop by boat. This market is quite nice and sells a variety of fruit and vegetables and operates from 5 am to 11 am, though the markets are better the earlier you can get there. A cyclo from Can Tho will take about 15 minutes to get to Cai Rang Market. Another market, Phung Hiep market, is 31 km from Can Tho. This is the snake market, selling a plethora of living, wriggling and often poisonous snakes. Pythons and Cobras are sold here by people from the countryside who have caught them by hand, whilst others have come to purchase snakes for restaurants, medicinal reasons or personal consumption. This market is open from 5 am to 5 pm. If traveling by boat, you can add a dimension to your day by stopping and visiting some of the fruit gardens, which sell pineapple, rambutan and papaya amongst many other fruits.

Chau Doc - Mekong Delta
One of the very beautiful place of the Mekong delta - Chau Doc, as close as you can get to Cambodia  without being in it. The Bassac River flows through the town and is a border crossing for river borne traffic, and the small Sam Mountain has an excellent view of the flat plain on the other side. It’s an attractive, busy place with a good hotel and several interesting attractions.

It became part of Vietnam in the middle of the 18th century as a gift, a reward for helping the Cambodian monarch to put down an insurrection. Unsurprisingly, it has a high proportion of ethnic Kh’mer people among the population here, easily identifiable by their darker skins and a chequered scarf instead of Vietnam ’s ubiquitous conical hat. There’s also a fair number of ethic Cham and Chinese people, and enough Christians to fill a local cathedral, making up a rare pot-pourri of cultures and religions.

There’s a large market selling local products and commodities. As might be expected, there’s also plenty of smuggled goods changing hands in both directions. Deep in the market, the Quan Cong (a Chinese character) Temple is a rewarding visit. It’s a flamboyant Taoist structure with good murals and effigies dominated by a ruddy-faced Quan Cong. Further along the riverfront there are several traditional stilt houses.

A short boat trip across the Bassac takes you to several floating fish farms and villages. They’re modified house-boats - a trap-door in the floor provides access to nets under the boat where the fish are grown. A little further takes you to the other bank and a Cham community. Once you’ve tip-toed across the stepping stones to avoid the mud, you walk through the stilt house village to the mosque.

Although sharing the same linguistic and historical tradition, the Cham are divided into two quite distinct religious communities, the Hindu Chams and the Cham Bani, or Muslims. The latter live mainly in the Chau Doc region and are easily distinguished by the men's preferred headgear - a crimson fez with a long golden tassel, or white Muslim prayer cap.

Mountain Sam
The mountain is a tourism destination in its own right. Everest it isn’t, although the pancake-flat plains of the Mekong make it look higher than it is. It’s a ‘holy’ mountain, full of caves, shrines and temples. The most significant in religious terms is the Ba Chua Xu, dedicated to the ‘Lady of the Region’. Her festival is held in the spring. It attracts huge numbers of devotees and, of course, swarms of vendors hoping to make a killing.

Less important, but more interesting, is the Tay An Pagoda. It’s architecture is sometimes described as Hindu/Muslim, which is a bit fanciful. However, there’s a definite Chinese and Islamic influence, and the interior contains a small army of colorful effigies. Further along, the Cave Pagoda isn’t really worth the climb for ones with no interest in pagoda.

Your energy is best saved for the ascent of the mountain. This is a gentle stroll rather than mountaineering. The road winds gently past the new offshoot of the Victoria Hotel (the main building is down in the town) and culminates in a Vietnamese Army lookout post. Thoughtfully, there is a path on the left that allows you to look across at Cambodia and back to Chau Doc and the Mekong Delta – both as flat as a board.

My Tho - Mekong Delta
My Tho is a delightful town, situated about two hours by bus south west of Ho Chi Minh city. Sitting on the bank of The Mekong River, My Tho is divided into two parts by a tributary of the river. From here you can take a number of short boat trips to various islands and floating markets within the surrounding area. It is also a good place to catch the overnight long boats to a variety of locations including Chau Doc and Long Xuyen. A quiet evening in My Tho can be spent on your veranda watching the sun set and the fishing fleet unload after dark. During the day you can spend hours in a nearby café simply watching life go by, or on the river, cruising the day away. The My Tho experience is enhanced by the fact that the streets are generally extremely quiet. In My Tho, you will not have to worry about the challenges of bikes for there are not many. It is very relaxing.

Along the 30 thang 4 street is an amazing demonstration of the bizarre Vietnamese taste for really tacky photos. Rather than have their photo taken with the background of the flowing Mekong River, photographers have erected all manner of cardboard backings with snow scenes, stuffed deer and to add that final touch of authenticity, their assistants are dressed as pandas. Just a bit further down the street from the strange photographic practices, there is a quiet little park where you can savour a baguette and watch the sun set.

Con Phung island
This island is also known as the Island of the Coconut Monk named after a monk, Ong Dao Dua, who meditated on the island for three years during which time he ate nothing but coconuts. An active supporter of the reunification of Vietnam, he strongly believed that reunification could be achieved by peaceful means. In the early 1960s, he founded a community in support of this ideal, and as a result was imprisoned by President Diem on a number occasions. At his time, the island became a sanctuary for those who were attempting to escape the ravages of war. Ong Dao Dua also headed his own sect, which was a bizarre mix of Christianity and Buddhism. The large cross that you may stumble upon in his sanctuary is not a swastika, but actually a sign of his victory over a communist community which he dissolved. You can reach Con Phung island by boat from My Tho in about 30 minutes.

Snake farm
If you enjoy having enormous pythons wrapped around you, this is the place for you as snakes are bred at the Snake Farm for anti-venom and medicinal purposes. If snakes do not turn you on, then maybe the turtles will. The Snake Farm is home to two yellow turtles, the only two living of their species known to the human race. They live up to 1,000 years and as these two turtles are only 200 years old, they have another 800 years to look forward to. The Thai government offered $ 250,000 US for the turtles, but the Vietnamese authorities declined the 'generous' offer.

Ben Tre - Mekong Delta
Ben Tre is composed of seven districts with Chau Thanh being the main city, surrounded by many islands that are covered with coconut trees. Ben Tre is known throughout Vietnam for its masses of coconut palms, and during the war the coconut oil was used as a valuable substitute for kerosene. This area is relatively untouched by tourism and this is even more evident by the fact that NOBODY speaks English in Ben Tre. . Even the tourist office has trouble communicating in English. Communication problems aside, you will find the people of Ben Tre to be exceedingly friendly and the countryside is beautiful. There is also a daily fresh produce market that is extremely colorful and worth visiting. Due to the limited exposure to tourism, Ben Tre can leave you with a purely cultural experience.

Vinh Long - Mekong Delta
The town of Vinh Long is set on the edge of its principal attraction, the Mekong River. It is from here that you can set out to visit the many beautiful surrounding islands. Vinh Long is uncharacteristically large town as compared to other communities on the Mekong Delta. It has an abundance of tall buildings and Karaoke bars to tempt your vocal chords. At one stage in Vietnam's history, Vinh Long was at the center of a Christian stronghold. Although Christians no longer dominate in the area, there is still a cathedral that is worth visiting.

Most people that visit Vinh Long use it as a base to explore the islands which are home to people that grow local exotic produce. One of the more popular islands to visit has several rambutan and bonsai tree gardens with many different fruits and flowers.

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