Meandering the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

This week, by some strange coincidence, not one, and not two, but three of my friends – none of who know each other – are exploring Vietnam. Two of them are heading to a boat cruise on the Mekong Delta today which got me thinking about a wonderful day I had there a few years back.

Backpacking through Vietnam

I had a fantastic backpacking trip through Vietnam and still yearn to return to see the bits I missed and to revisit pretty much everywhere I did go. I imagine it’s one of those places that will have changed considerably by the time I get back there (and has already changed in the few years since I went) – hopefully mostly for the better and not for worse.

Some of the highlights were the fantastically friendly people, the cheap and cheerful accomodation (little family-run hotels with air-conditioning for under $10 a night) and some amazing scenery: like the Mekong River, for example.

Boat trip on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

Boat trip on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

Taking a boat trip on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

I have to say that from what I see and read, one part of Vietnam that worries me at the moment is the Mekong Delta. I spent a day exploring it on various kinds of boats (progressively getting smaller!) while I was staying in Ho Chi Minh City. It was a great day out and I saw how the local communities rely on all the various bits of the river (and how they manage not to get lost in all the crossovers of water – I would!), but I wonder how it looks these days.

With China upstream doing all kinds of not-so-natural stuff to the Mekong (including building lots of dams) there is no doubt that the Vietnamese end of it has also been affected. This BBC report says they’ve already found salt water 60km inland … that’s a fair lot of change!

Boat trip on the Mekong River delta in Vietnam

Enjoying a boat trip on the Mekong River delta in Vietnam

I’ve also read that climate change may cause many parts of the Mekong Delta to be flooded, leaving a whole heap of people with nowhere to live and nothing to do for work. This is definitely not good and is something to think about on your travels. If you’re picking a boat trip on the Mekong Delta then do look into some good locally-based tour operators who run responsible tours and will tell you the current story like it is, rather than giving you some glossy tourist version.

There is so much beauty in Vietnam, so do go and explore this beautiful area (and eat some pineapples – another highlight I forgot to mention!). And I wonder if any of my friends are unknowingly bumping into each other this week? Tell them hello if you see them.

A boat trip on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

A boat trip on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Comments

  1. loving the hat Amanda!
    i have many pictures of that muddy brown water too and i also remember the boats (??) getting smaller and smaller to the point that they were more like floating pieces of wood with garden chairs on them! what an experience! would also love to go back to Vietnam one day – great memories for us especially as it was our last trip as childless people (was already 3+ months pregnant with K) and travelling life changed forever!!! he he!

  2. Ha ha thanks Rach!! I didn’t get to take the hat home though 🙁
    Yes – exactly like floating pieces of wood with garden chairs on – what a perfect description.

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