Today we visited the Mekong River Delta, one of the most famous and important sites in all of Vietnam. I was truly blown away by some of the sights there, seeing the more rustic side of the country really gave me an insight into how the agricultural engine of the Vietnamese economy works, and it was all just so authentic.
Over the course of several boat rides and island visits across the delta, it is easy to see how the region is Vietnam’s most economically prosperous agricultural sector. Though besides abundance of rice, fruits, and fish, the delta offers a variety of more exotic tastes as well. We were able to try honey tea, made with fresh honey from a nearby bee farm, as well as grilled crocodile (which tasted just a little like chicken).
The natural scenery in the delta is as beautiful as you could imagine, though the locals know too well the troubles their delta paradise faces. Upriver damming has negatively affected the salinization and soil mineral levels in the delta region, causing increased difficulties in growing traditional crops. You wouldn’t know it from the outside looking in, but the problem will eventually become severe enough to displace some of the delta’s inhabitants.
The culture of the delta is incredibly down-to-earth and welcoming. Each of the locals we met, whether they were giving us a lift or performing a traditional song for us, expressed the highest level of courtesy and pride in sharing their culture with outsiders. Though the beautiful landscape of the Mekong Delta may have cause for concern, the southern Vietnamese who inhabit it certainly do not.