At the southernmost point of Vietnam are “the green lungs of the Mekong” – a flat and fertile region, criss-crossed by miles of canals and rivers. These “lungs” are responsible for producing vast quantities of rice, fruit and vegetables, much of which ends up in the Mekong Delta’s bustling floating markets. As you would expect, life revolves around the waterways which are flanked by green expanses of paddy fields, thick orchards of longan, coconut and mango trees, dense forests and one or two small white-sand beaches.
In proximity order from Saigon, My Tho and then Vinh Long are closest and, therefore, are the starting points for most cruises. Can Tho, the Mekong Delta’s largest city, has some of the larger floating markets close by. In the far west, close to the Cambodian border, sits Chau Doc, where many people actually live and work on the water as the Mekong River is particularly wide here before it divides in to many channels.
The Mekong Delta makes for a great escape from urban Saigon and to spend time cruising through its many veins affords time to relax. The Delta can be visited on a day excursion from Saigon, but most travellers prefer to spend several days delving deeper. It is also possible to travel from Saigon all the way to the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, using the Mekong River as your gateway.