The Mekong Delta is an area located in southern Vietnam that is made up of a network of distributaries where local people live and work. The Mekong Delta region is approximately 15,600 square miles and the water levels rise and fall depending on the season. The local people navigate the intertwining canals on small rowboats.
More than half of Vietnam’s rice and fish come from this region so the entire country relies on the land and the people farming the land for sustenance.
The delta is a popular day trip from Ho Chi Minh City for tourists looking to experience a different way of life, out in the countryside. You’ll get to sample the local fruits and honey, see a floating market, experience a rowboat ride on a canal, and meet the local people.
You can expect your Mekong Delta day trip to be a bit of a touristy affair. You’ll have an early pick-up from your hotel and then a 2-hour drive to the delta on a bus with a group of other tourists.
Nearly all of the tours that you can choose from involve a boat ride through the canals (where you will undoubtedly be pressured for a tip), a live music presentation (where, again, you’ll be pressured for a tip), and a sampling of some of the local tea, fruit, and honey.
Tours can be extended to two days if you would prefer to take your time, or combined with other popular activities like the Cu Chi Tunnels.
What to Expect
You can certainly expect your Mekong Delta tour to be rather touristy. If you are expecting to find a remote area of the country that you’ll have all to yourself, you won’t find it here.
The local people have become accustomed to blatantly asking for tips for the rowboat ride and the singing performance. And, unfortunately, you probably won’t have any authentic interactions with friendly locals who just want to chat with foreigners.
However, the delta and the way of life there is quite fascinating and certainly worth the trip. You’ll have a much better time if you don’t expect your experience to be 100% authentic.
How to Book a Tour
There are tour agencies all over Ho Chi Minh City that advertise different Mekong Delta excursions. If you would like to talk to a real person about different tour options, this is probably the best way to book.
But keep in mind that tour agents often tell you what you want to hear in order to get you to book, but you find that your tour is not at all what they described. And since you must pay cash, you’ll have no recourse.
If you’d prefer to peruse the excursions online and have the opportunity to read customer reviews and understand exactly what you’ll be getting, then Get Your Guide is your best resource. They have lots of different tour options to choose from and you can avoid the hassle of a pushy salesperson!