Mekong River Vietnam

The Mekong River Vietnam comprises the shortest stretch of the longest river in Southeast Asia (the twelfth longest river in the world). While its exact source is disputed, the Mekong River location rises in the Tibetan Plateau of China's Yunan Province. It then flows for more than 2,700 miles through Burma (formerly Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia before it enters Vietnam. Here it spreads out as the vast and rich Mekong Delta that takes up most of the southwestern portion of the country before it finally empties into the South China Sea.

Because of the Mekong River location flowing through so many countries that have not always had amicable international relationships, most Mekong travel has traditionally occurred as separate segments within each country. Cruises on the river within China remain largely separate. However, the Mekong River Commission established in 1995 saw agreement between the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam meaning that Mekong travel across their borders is now possible. The river itself is navigable for much of its length, and ambitious travelers can embark ships for Mekong River cruises that sail through all four Southeast Asian countries, if you want to see the Mekong River in Cambodia or the Mekong River in Thailand, for example.

Mekong River Vietnam tours will always involve some aspect of the Delta, which is called Cuu Long, meaning Nine Dragon Delta for the nine river channels that spread out here. This region is the country's rice basket, producing enough rice to supply half of the entire country with a large surplus left over for export. The other rich agricultural region of the country is along the Red River that flows through Hanoi in the north.

Most Mekong travel within the Delta region will begin and/or end in Ho Chi Minh City, the country's largest city, which lies on the eastern edge of the Delta. The Mekong River location to the west is connected to Ho Chi Minh City and the Saigon River by canals that carry many cargo ships and passenger cruise ships. Since the waterways are such dominant features of the landscape here, most tours will include a cruise of some sort, even if it is only a half-day cruise on a traditional sampan. However, there are numerous land tours available, including hiking, cycling, and motorcycle routes. Because of the active (and budget) nature of this kind of travel, you can find a number of charming guest houses that provide you with the experience of a home stay. Roads are generally good and the terrain is flat, taking you over canals, through plantations, past rice fields and ancient temples as you observe the timeless river life of farmers and fishermen.

The beautiful beaches of Vung Tau south of Ho Chi Minh City provide numerous beach resorts and hotels for travelers who come for short visits of only one to three days. In the heart of the Mekong Delta is the lovely town of Can Tho, famous for its Mekong River Vietnam floating markets and bird gardens. This is the largest city within the Delta, and there are many Mekong Delta hotels here, including the luxurious Victoria Resort and Spa. You can book tours to Can Tho in Ho Chi Minh City; the drive is about four hours.

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