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The Mekong Delta is the bottom half of Vietnam's two rice baskets, the other being the Red River Delta in the North . This vast delta is formed by the deposition of the multiple tentacles and tributaries of the mighty Mekong River which has its origin in the Tibetan highland plateau 2,800 miles away. From its source, the river makes its way through China, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam before flowing out into the South China Sea. The Mekong's Vietnamese name, Cuu Long, means Nine Dragons for the nine mouths that terminate the flow of this great river as it is absorbed by the sea.
Because the plains are periodically flooded by the rising Mekong River, traditional transportation is by boat along a vast network of canals. A cruise along these canals with their floating markets always proves to be a fascinating experience for all visitors. The city of Can Tho is a capital of the Mekong Delta. Other provinces are included: My Tho, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, An Giang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Kien Giang with Ha Tien & Phu Quoc.
The Mekong Delta is the southernmost region of Viet Nam. Mekong delta is not only the biggest rice basket but also the biggest fruit gardens of Viet Nam. Food here tastes different from other places. Beside the common food, the local dishes also comprise snakes, tortoises, bats, eels, etc.
Just walk idly in My Tho or Vinh Long or Can Tho and discover the daily life of the Vietnamese on the river and arroyos, taste the sweet and fresh coconut juice and smell the particular fragrance of the rice paddies. Further down to Soc Trang, the mysterious Khmer culture is hidden behind the gates of Hinayana temples. The Mekong River with its intertwining branches will lead you from one surprise to another. The hospitality of the people is the most impressing. They welcome you like relatives coming home.
Coming to the Mekong Delta, visitors will see fields after fields of rice and fruit gardens. With the rich of canal network in the delta, you can travel by boat through fruit gardens, take a walk in the trees and taste a lot of delicious tropical fruits right from the trees. Tourists will remember long the sight of on river markets here. Another feature of the Mekong delta is coconut trees. A lot of coconut trees, especially in Ben tre, to make the sight beautifully peaceful. You will see well-off houses under shade of coconut trees- a simple beauty of cities in this region.
In Dong Thap, you will be travelling in a big "lake" full of lotus every where so much and so large that you can get loss in it for days if don't have a local guide. For those love ecotourism, Tram Chim is an address where you can watch thousands of cranes. It is crane flock returning after flood evacuation time from January to May every year. Ca Mau, the south pole of Vietnam, is a rich province. It is famous in seafood growing. Besides, U Minh Forest, the national park is a good place to visit for its old trees and wild animals such as deer, pig, and monkey. Can Tho is over 200 years being the main town of Mekong Delta (once known as Tay Do or City of the West). On the east bank of Hau River is Ninh Kieu Wharf, once being the most popular trading "port" of the Mekong Delta.
Visit the Mekong Delta to understand why it is called the rice stock of Viet Nam, why a sampan tied to a coconut tree can evoke nostalgia. There you will find the simplest people, who would not care much about the luxury life of the city.
TRAM CHIM NATIONAL PARK - Dong Thap
The Park is in the lowest area of the Mekong River water logged plain submerged and in the centre of Dong Thap Muoi.
The Park has a forest of Cajuput and hearth of many kind of birds with specific floristic composition: cajeput, reeds, lotus, water lily, ghost rice, rush …; plentiful fauna: python, turtles, eels, snakes, fresh-water fishes, and water bird as storks, herons, spot-billed ducks, water chicken … especially red-headed, bare-necked cranes coming in dry season each year.
From January to May each year, when sky is clear, visitors will see from the horizon many black spot coming. It is crane flock returning after months of emigrating to evade flood. This is also the season, when tourists come to Tram Chim for seeing, photographing cranes in the dawn and sunset.
Tram Chim - a reduced model of Dong Thap Muoi - with natural history of collective ecology of geomorphology, hydrography and underwater creatures, is an ideal rendezvous place of tourists from all over the world.
AN BINH-BINH HOA PHUOC RIVER ISLAND - Vinh Long
Mr. Sau Giao’s Flower Garden in Hoa Ninh, with hundreds of various ornamental plants: yellow apricots, chieu thuy plums and jasmine. Longan and mango tree gardens and fish ponds are all around the garden.
Mr. Muoi Day’s Stilt-House is made of wood and sits on the Ninh Hoa Canal. Beside it are fruit tree gardens of longans, grapefruits and sapoches. The house can serve tourists lunch, or provide a place to stay for an evening or two.
Mr. Hai Hoang’s Old House was built in the style of the French with a large yard, and behind are rambutan and longan tree gardens. Lunch and evening stays are also provided for tourists.
DONG TAM SNAKE FARM - Tien Giang
Dong Tam Snake-Breeding Farm is 12km from Mytho City, Tien Giang Province. The snake farm is a center for breeding snakes producing venom for exportation. Research on snakebite treatment is also conducted here. From My Tho, visitors must travel 5 km to get to the farm where they can visit the department where snakes are bred. Dong Tam also has a collection of mutant turtles and fish on exhibit. The best way to get there is to rent a motorbike.
Dong Tam is medicinal plant cultivation and the study and treatment of snake-bite. There is a snake-breeding zone with dozens of species to feed or even to play with. There are also crocodiles and other species of birds and animals on hand.
CAI BE FLOATING MARKET - Tien Giang
Cai Be floating market takes place where Tien River forms the border between Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Ben Tre provinces. It takes about an hour to reach the market from Vinh Long town. It runs from 5 am to 5 pm. Every day, approximately 400 -500 boats filled with fruits, vegetables and other products anchor a long the banks of the river, waiting for traders and customers but the most interesting thing to see the huge Catholic Cathedral here on the riverside. It makes the fantastic spot for visitors to take photographs. The merchandise sold in each boat is hung on a high pole in front of the boat as a sample to attract customers from a distance. Next to the floating market is Tan Phong Island, famous for its large and succulent rambutan gardens.
BA CHUA XU TEMPLE - An Giang Province
Ba Chua Xu Temple is located at the foot of Sam Mountain, Vinh Te Commune, Chau Doc Town, An Giang Province. Ba Chua Xu Temple is constructed according to the Chinese character "quoc", has 4 square roofs, roofed with blue pile-shaped tiles.
Ba Chua Xu Temple was built in 1820 on Sam Mountain. According to a legend, in the early 1800s villagers found a statue of a lady dating to the 6th century in the forest. They built a temple in her honour, hoping that she would bring them better crops and better lives. This is why the marble statue of Ba Chua Xu, meaning "country lady," is worshipped. Ba Chua Xu Festival is organized annually at the end of the 4th lunar month; worshippers touch her statue and ask for her protection and benediction.
HA TIEN - Kien Giang
Ha Tien is a seaside and fishing resort. Several beautiful and interesting sites including Thach Dong temple and Mac Cuu temple, Dong Ho also called East Lake, is a great bay part of Giang Thanh River. Going along the beach, one reaches Ho Lo Mountain where one can sail through magnificent caves. Approximately 30 km from Ha Tien is Hon Chong where fish is sold and pepper is grown. Chua Hang pagoda, located on Cai Ban beach, has two statues of Buddha. Ha Tien has many famous beaches like Mui Nai, Bai No, Bai Ot, Bai Hon Heo, Bai Hon Chong and Bai Duong. Perhaps the most attractive ones are Bai Hon Trem and Bai Duong with yellow san and coconut groves.
Phu Tu Island is considered as a smaller Ha Long Bay, consulting a famous scenic landscape in Nam Bo region. There are two high columns inclined similar to a father and son holding one another and looking at the sea. It is several hundred meters offshore.
U MINH FOREST - Ca Mau
The section of U Minh Forest in Kien Giang Province is U Minh Thuong (upper U Minh) and the other section in Camau Province is U Minh Ha (lower U Minh).
U Minh Forest, a special swamp in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, is habitat to hundreds of precious fauna and flora species.
A large percentage of Camau Province’s area is covered by forest; 150,000ha being alluvial soils, typical of the tropical monsoon climate. Being flooded everyday by tidal waters, the salt-bearing trees grow in this environment with animals and microorganisms. U Minh Forest comprises several types of plants, the most common being mam, mangrove, and indigo. The biological productivity of this land is the highest among Vietnam’s ecosystems.
BAC LIEU BIRD SANCTUARY - Bac Lieu
Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary is located in Hiep Thanh Commune, Bac Lieu Town, Bac Lieu Province. The sanctuary is one of the most attractive ecological tourist spots in the Mekong River Delta.
With the natural salt-marsh forest ecosystem on the area of approximately 385ha, of which 19ha is primitive forest, the garden is the home of around 46 kinds of birds, some of which are in the Red Book such as Giang Sen, small King Cormorant…; 109 kinds of plants belong to 90 lines of 46 descents; 150 kinds of animals, of which there are 58 kinds of fish, 7 kinds of amphibians, 10 mammals, 8 reptiles and some other kinds of animals living together in the same diversified community which needs preservation and development.
The Sanctuary is the important home of several water birds, mainly teal, stork, heron, night heron and cormorant. Each flock of birds flies for food in the early morning and returns their nests in the Sanctuary in the evening while the night birds start their journeys, which agitate the atmosphere of the Sanctuary.