The mighty Mekong
Mekong Delta is the place, which despite some old clichés like Asian-style conical hats and long-tail boat rides, is authentic enough to charm with its rural and picturesque scenery. This region in the south-western part of the country, where the Mekong River splits into broad branches and small canals, is often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam. The life of local communities revolves around this mighty river and when looking at the landscape of water and green fields it is immediately clear that it is the agricultural centre of the country.
There is something magical about the rivers. I always enjoyed hanging out and running by the Thames or walking near Warta in Poznań. They combine tranquility, energy and are the force of nature that sporadically can get out of control.
When I started my trip I was really looking forward to witnessing the waterway life in Vietnam and I was not disappointed. The river cruise was a memorable experience unveiling in front of my eyes the hustle and bustle of a working day in the delta, the family life taking place on the boats and oh-so familiar domestic chores.
Local men were working and occasionally taking a break, women sat in front of their houses, preparing food, brushing their hair or washing clothes in the river. When looking into the murky waters of the Mekong I had different spine-chilling visions coming to my head. It would be the last place to do my laundry or play some games but the locals just carried on with their daily routines. Eh… for them it was business as usual.
Small villages in the Mekong Delta offer many homestay options, which are a great way to not only explore the backwaters but also rural Vietnamese life. My only advice – a mosquito net and a strong insect repellent are a must!