The fertile Mekong Delta region is the southwestern-most area in Vietnam and is where the mighty Mekong River flows into the sea through several arteries known as Cuu Lond (‘nine dragons’). The area covered by water changes depending on the season, and the region is known as one of Vietnem’s rice baskets.

With its rice paddies and coconut and banana plantations, the region is colorful and a place of exquisite beauty. It is easily accessible from Ho Chi Minh City, and visitors can explore the many tributaries and waterways here easily by boat.

Can Tho, the region’s capital, is a prosperous city but has little charm. There are several impressive pagodas that are interesting for their architecture. Phung Hiep snake market makes for an interesting spectacle, though it is not for the squeamish.

One attraction worth visiting is the floating market situated about five miles down the road from the Can Tho. Offering mostly fresh fruit and vegetables for sale, it offers a more authentic experience than many of Southeast Asia|Asia’s other floating markets.

The sprawling night flower market on the Hau Giang River displays the best of the area’s plants and flowers. It can be quite hectic, so visitors should allow a lot of time to get through the bustling crowds.

Enchanting Chau Doc lies right on the Cambodian border and is home to a number of ethnic Cham and Chinese people, as well as to a high population of ethnic Khmer people. Visitors can take a leisurely meander up Sam Mountain-more of a small hill than a mountain-to enjoy the pretty views of the plains below. The hill, a holy place, is full of shrines and temples.

The elaborate Taoist Quan Cong Temple lies deep in the heart of a large market in Chau Doc where remnants of the colonial period still remain. Further along the riverside are traditional, quaint houses on stilts.

A boat trip across the Bassac will take you to a handful of floating fish farms. A little further along is a Cham community with its mosque from where you can hear the haunting sound of the evening call to prayer.

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