A family vacation used to be a lot of joy when your children were curious and excited about almost anything in the world. But things turn up side down when they reach teenage years and are glued to their cell phone. In this case, you need somewhere exotic to stir their curiosity and the Mekong Delta is one of those places. Here, helloVietnam will show you why:
Mekong Delta (Source: Internet)
Packed with exciting activities
As a diverse land and a melting pot of different cultures and religions, the Mekong Delta does not fall short on things to do, which can attract grown-ups and teenagers alike.
Sa Dec Market
Sa Dec market (Source: Internet)
Once a vibrant hub of local trade, recent years have seen this labyrinth of colorful delights win the hearts and minds of travelers in search of the ultimate quintessential Vietnam Mekong Delta adventure. Filled with small and walkable quarters specialized in different types of groceries, this market is full of strange merchandise, some may have you perplexed and some may make your stomach churn.
Familiarize yourself and satisfy your curiosity with the weird-looking herbs, fish, and spices that are laid out on the ground at every turn. At one end of the spectrum is the kaleidoscopic range of flowers and vegetables that can catch the eye of many travelers. At the other end of the spectrum are freshly butchered pigs laying on a table, carts of fried grasshoppers, and women plucking ducks and chickens, which may give you goose bumps.
A market like this provides a wealth of opportunities for families to immerse themselves in a whole different culture, as well as exotic scenes that no one would sneer at, even the most indifferent teenager.
Cai Be floating market
Cai Be floating market (Source: Internet)
In the land where rivers span like an aerial spider’s web, it comes as no surprise that everyday life happens on the water’s surface. First, there were boats and sampans, and then came the need for exchanging agricultural products, which gave rise to a new form of market, one that can float. The stalls here are boats laden with heaps of fruits and vegetables. Smaller boats weave through the temporary lanes created by bigger ones. There aren’t any written rules for this place, however, this special market has been running for decades and collisions rarely happen.
The best way to get a slice of this vibrant hub is to embark on a boat trip and dive right into the organized chaos. The light, the colors, and the freshness of the market will guarantee a unique experience for the whole family. Take your teenagers to Cai Be floating market early in the morning so that they can see vendors juggling fruit back and forth, sample some of Mekong Delta’s delicacies which are assembled and served on boats, and watch young adults at their age accompany their parents to the market.
Cai Be orchard
A flimsy monkey bridge (Source: Internet)
Imagine walking along the carpet of a tropical orchard where everywhere you look there is something blooming, fruiting, or harvesting. No list of Mekong Delta adventures can be complete without a visit to an orchard. The most popular garden to opt for belongs to Mr. Ba Cong, who turned his own property into a destination that caters to travelers. This elegant estate boasts a wide variety of tropical fruits; mango, guava, and jackfruit, just to name a few. The best thing about a trip to this orchard is that it can double as a giant fruit buffet where anyone can feel free to pick whatever they like from the trees around. If your teenagers are the adventurous type, take a biking trip on the trail that snakes under the shade of the fruit trees and try crossing the canal on a flimsy Monkey Bridge. With many destinations crammed into one trip, Cai Be orchard should be part of any Mekong Delta adventure tour.
People’s lives revolve around a river (Source: Internet)
To travel on a Mekong Delta adventure all the way down the mighty river to Saigon is embarking on one of the most atmospheric journeys in Vietnam. Merchants steering sampans with single oars, women in conical hats neck-deep in water, and children saying “hello!” at the sight of any foreign tourist, you will be amazed at all of the new sites to see.
The Mekong Delta's residents are known across the country as a happy-go-lucky type of people. The river has provided them with fertile land, abundant harvests, and has created the laid-back atmosphere and “live for the moment” attitude. They spend almost everything they earn and rarely have savings or worry about the future.
There are not many places in the world where you can see people’s lives revolve around a river. Women wash their hair and do the laundry in its water; men clean the fishing nets and nap in hammocks on the river’s bank, floating markets, and floating flower gardens. Mekong Delta residents seem to be connected by the labyrinth of rivers and canals. Where the rivers are narrow, there are bridges of all shapes and sizes; where bridges are unsuitable there are ferries to transport people and their vehicles.
Good food is everywhere
Lau mam (Source: Internet)
Nothing can beat good food in picking up the mood and tone of a trip and Vietnam’s Mekong delta isn’t short of delicacies. With its complex flavors and contrasting textures, Vietnamese food will lure anyone into pulling up a plastic stool for more, even the most reluctant eaters.
When we think of Vietnamese cuisine, Hanoi and Saigon, the two gastronomical cities come to mind. However, what many people don’t know is that the Mekong Delta has a no less diverse range of dishes that are on par with the two major cities. Unlike other regions where the use of spices is emphasized, Mekong delta’s cuisine wins points for the freshness of the ingredients and the fusion of many other regions’ highlights. Since it is the best place in Vietnam to get the taste of three different cultures, the Mekong Delta should be a part of any foodie’s itinerary.
Take a break from your family’s Mekong Delta adventure to sample the following dishes:
Hu tieu My Tho is rooted in an earthy stock. A slurp of the broth will reveal two distinct flavors, the savory flavor of pork bone and shrimp and the sweetness of turnip. This noodle soup can be found on Nguyen An Ninh, Ap Bac, and Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, and My Tho costs under a dollar for a serving.
Hu tieu My Tho (Source: Internet)
Lau mam is so comforting, flavorful, and affordable that it has become a staple in the region. Lau mam can be literally translated into fish sauce hot pot, a one-dish concept where more than 10 types of locally-sourced vegetables and freshwater fish are poached in boiling soup stock.
Nau man Tien Giang is in the middle ground between a fish stew and fish soup. The dish comprises of fish fillets marinated in salt, chili, and bathed in vinegar or tomato sauce. Nau man is best paired with fresh local vegetables and rice.
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