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VIETNAM: A journey on the mighty Mekong

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This Mekong Guide is the fourth article in a series of travel stories about South East Asia. Read the other stories.

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MEKONG QUICK GUIDE. Mekong. Taste the word. It tastes of Vietnam War, choppers, killing machines in the steamy jungle. Or does it? No, not these days it doesn’t. The Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river, running from Tibet, through China and Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Only a small part of the river passes through Vietnam, contrary to what many might think. Best known maybe for its vast delta, it holds numerous small side rivers and streams that are ideal for exploration.

The Traveling Reporter set out from Saigon on a two day cruise on the Mekong. You don’t need to look for long in Saigon to find a travel agent that will book you up – this is one of the city’s main attractions.

Our journey is done by a river boat, slowly making its way downstream, passing poor neighborhoods in Saigon’s outskirts. Stopping at various places, we get to see a rice factory, taste snake booze and travel a distance in a traditional Vietnamese canoe. You are advised not to hold out your hands from the canoe, as these waters are infested by crocs.

We stay at a hotel in the middle of the delta before making the journey back to Saigon by bus. Our hotel turns out to be great, one of the best I’ve stayed at (I usually go for the low budget places myself).

You also get to see the impressive floating market, a spot in the river where locals gather their boats together to do business with crops of all sorts. It is really amazing how the vessels manage to stay afloat at all. Good opportunity for pictures there.

Making this trip is recommended if you visit Vietnam, as it gives a new perspective to the world of the delta that is otherwise hard to experience.

Lonely Planet: Guide to the Mekong River Delta


VIDEO: Chaos at the floating market

VIDEO: This is how rice is made


Leaving Saigon for the Mekong Delta cruise.

Map of the Mekong River delta

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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.