Comprised of dense green rice paddies and lazy, winding rivers, the Mekong Delta is like no other region in Vietnam. Whether firmly on land or floating with the river current, this region is flush with wildlife, historical sights, and incredible landscapes. The River of Nine Dragons, as locals know the area, is where the Mekong splinters into nine separate branches, crisscrossing low landscapes before reaching the sea. Life moves much more slowly here and is often surrounded by water. You'll find even homes, farms, and markets take on an aquatic adaptation in the Mekong Delta.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN THE MEKONG DELTA:
Visit on-the-water villages
From the quiet towns of Mỹ Tho and Bến Tre to the floating markets of Cần Thơ, the flower farms of Sa Đéc to the stunning, waterlogged landscapes of Châu Đốc, there is plenty to keep you occupied in the Delta. Head to Mỹ Tho or Bến Tre for verdant islands containing everything from fruit orchards to coconut candy factories. Veer west toward Vinh Long instead and you'll pass Cái Bè, where a French colonial cathedral stands in view of the town's famed floating market.
See floating markets and ancient houses
Cần Thơ is the region's largest city. Fast developing into a proper hub, this laid-back riverside town boasts its collection of cultural sights, such as the Cái Răng floating market, the most famous of its kind in the Mekong. Other attractions include the Bình Thuỷ Ancient House, a prime example of French colonial architecture.
Step inside the house of The Lover
Sa Đéc houses the former residence of Huỳnh Thủy Lê, a wealthy Chinese businessman with whom Saigon-born French novelist Marguerite Duras had an affair. Their relationship later served as the inspiration for Duras' novel L'Amant (The Lover) and its 1992 film adaptation.
Nature lovers will appreciate the Delta's collection of wildlife sanctuaries, particularly the beautifully green Tràm Chim National Park, home to a quarter of all bird species found in Vietnam, including the sarus crane, the world's tallest flying bird. Just a stone's throw from the Cambodian border, Tra Su Bird Sanctuary holds plenty of winged wildlife in its flooded forests.
The Weather in the Mekong Delta
Boats are the primary means of transportation in the Mekong Delta so traveling during a season when the water level is high and the temperature is cool is highly recommended.
There are two main seasons in the Mekong Delta: a rainy season and a dry season. The temperature in both seasons is generally comfortable, although some months (November to January) are considered more comfortable for traveling.
Dry Season: December to April
From December to the end of April, Vietnam gets a break from all the rain. During this season, while occasional rains still occur, you can expect clearer blue skies, brilliant green landscapes, and lower levels of humidity.
The average temperature from December to February in the Mekong Delta ranges from about 22ºC at night to about 32ºC in the daytime.
It starts to get hot in March with a temperature of about 34ºC in the daytime and it reaches its highest temperatures in April and May (about 35–38ºC in the daytime).
This season is excellent for outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and experiencing the local culture. On nice days local musicians will often sit outside and play their instruments. If you are feeling adventurous you can try walking between the villages or simply take a relaxing boat ride in the shade of the trees.
Rainy Season: May to November
The rainy season begins in May and continues through most of November. While rainy, this is also the hottest time of the year and the humidity is often uncomfortably high. The heaviest rainfall occurs in June and July.
This period is considered to be the low season for traveling in the Mekong Delta. What is the advantage of traveling in the low season?
- Summer is the best time to eat fresh fruits that have been grown locally, such as dragon fruits and mangoes. Fishing is also said to be better during these months.
- You will enjoy lower prices for tours.