The Mekong Delta represents quintessential Southern Vietnamese culture. While the nature sights of the region have been in steady decline for decades, the same can not be said about the culture, which is as vibrant, lively and authentic as ever.
Perhaps most famous are the floating markets of the delta, and chief amongst them are the ones in the towns of My Tho and Cai Rang. Here your guests can wander the walkways, or purchase goods directly from the boat using long poles to transfer the goods between crafts.
Observe the hustle and bustle of the Delta while you float down the mighty river.
Many of the villages themselves are of the floating variety as well, with thousands of people having lived here on the waters of the Mekong since time immemorial.
Both on land and water there are a huge number of craft workshops, producing all sorts of material from fabrics to metalwork to art.
The Delta is famous for its wide variety of workshops and handicrafts.
The Delta is also home to a community of Cham Muslims. The Cham were the original inhabitants of Central and Southern Vietnam before being conquered by the Vietnamese from the North and Khmer from the west. A stop at Mubarak Mosque is a nice change of pace from the standard fare of Buddhist and Hindu temples more common in mainland Southeast Asia.
Almost as famous as the floating markets and villages is Vinh Trang Pagoda. Constructed in the mid 1800’s, the complex is an architectural wonder displaying a mixed style drawing from Vietnamese, Khmer, French and Chinese influences.
Vinh Trang Pagoda is huge and draws influences from many different styles.
The town of Sóc Trăng is home to the largest population of Khmer anywhere outside of Cambodia. This is obviously reflected in the culture being Khmer, rather than Vietnamese. This is especially apparent at the Clay and Bat Pagodas, where the architecture is distinctly Khmer, familiar to anyone who has spent time visiting temples in neighbouring Cambodia. If planning a tour here during November or December, look up the date for the local Oc Om Boc festival, celebrating the Khmer moon deity.
Finally, as the agricultural powerhouse of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta produces the vast majority of fruit sold and consumed in the country, and as such, there are plenty of orchards to visit and wander around the trees heavy with pretty much any fruit you can imagine.
In the Delta, commerce takes place on the decks of boats.
There really is no better way to get an authentic taste of Southern Vietnamese culture than spending a few days roaming the Delta. Any traveller interested in exotic cultures are sure to be excited here, making it an ideal end or start point of a culture-tour of Vietnam.