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More than perhaps any other destination in Vietnam, the Mekong River Delta region is heavily affected by the weather. The best time to travel to the region is between November and January.
The Mekong Delta is a river delta that covers over 35,000 square kilometers and lies directly west and south of Ho Chi Minh City. It is named after the river that carved it, the Mekong, which stretches over 4,500 kilometers, making it one of the 10 longest rivers in the world.
The Mekong Delta region consists of small, island-like segments of land interconnected by winding waterways. When you stand on one of these islands it is difficult to remember that you are surrounded by a river and not a lake or ocean.
The river itself plays an instrumental role in the lives of many Vietnamese people. It not only provides water for agriculture but also a means of transportation and support for the local fishing and farming communities. It is one of the most important and symbolic natural features in all of Vietnam.
November to January is the cool season in an otherwise sweltering region. In the hot and dry summer seasons, travel around the Delta is not only more uncomfortable, but also nearly impossible if the water levels drop below a certain point.
Boats are the primary means of transportation on the Delta so traveling during a season when the water is high and the temperatures are cooler is highly recommended. If you plan to travel to the river’s headwaters then September is recommended, as this is the most pleasant time of year in the head water-area.
The weather in the region is marked by two major seasons: rainy and sunny. The temperature in both seasons is generally comfortable, though some months are considered more comfortable for traveling.
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.
The period from June to September is considered the best time to eat fresh fruit that grows locally, such as dragon fruit and mango. The fishing is also said to be better during these months. In addition, this is considered the off-season, so many travel prices will be lower.
From December until 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.
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.
Temperatures in both seasons stay warm enough that a light jacket is sufficient. It is always recommended to bring a waterproof layer and clothes that will dry quickly. Much of the Delta is most easily accessed by boat and the heavy rains mean that things are often damp or wet.
Shorts are acceptable, and will not draw scorn from locals, as are sandals, although if you plan to do lots of walking a pair of well-soled shoes might be more comfortable. Do not forget to bring bug repellent and sunscreen!
The Mekong Delta region offers numerous activities suitable to all kinds of travelers. The best way to experience the Delta is with a knowledgeable guide. Take a look at the tour options offered by Asia Highlights at the end of this article.
The winding waterways of the Mekong Delta make land travel difficult. To overcome this problem, the area has become a hotbed for floating markets. Cai Rang is one of the most famous and best floating markets in the area.
Expect an intimate atmosphere with vendors selling fruit, vegetables, and gift items from stand-up rowboats. Here you can truly see how important owning a boat is if you live in the Mekong Delta. To reach the market, we recommend hiring a private car or, better yet, let an Asia Highlights guide hire a car for you.
A local delicacy, nem nuong are delicious rice rolls filled with pork and vegetables. No trip to the Mekong Delta would be complete without trying at least a few. Try them at the Thanh Van restaurant where you can even roll your own and add the ingredients you like the best.
Nam Ky Khoi Nghia & 30 Thang 4 Mekong Delta
35 kilometers southeast of Cao Lanh lies a magnificent sprawl of swamp and forest called Xeo Quyt. You can explore the park’s trails on foot, or pay a local to take you around the waterways by boat.
The overgrown channels conceal what is left of the Viet Cong headquarters that this forest once kept hidden from US forces. You can come here to enjoy beautiful scenery and first-hand history.
A private car is recommended to reach the nature reserve.
Though currently a part of Vietnam and inhabited by people who are predominantly ethnically Vietnamese, the Mekong Delta has experienced a number of changes throughout its history.
The Delta is thought to be the ancient capital of the Funan Empire – a multi-ethnic empire that dominated the area from the first to the sixth centuries. After the fall of the Funan Empire the area was much influenced by the Chinese and Khmer Empires.
In Cambodia, the Mekong region is still known as Lower Khmer due to its long occupation by the Khmer people. In 1979 the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia to stop attacks on Vietnamese villages and ultimately the Mekong Delta became Vietnamese territory.
Today, there are still sites where ruins of these ancient empires can be observed at Oc Eo and other similar locations.
Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you design your perfect trip to Vietnam. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting destinations, accommodations and activities that best suit your requirements.
Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today!