Today we travelled southwest from Saigon to the Mekong Delta, a region known for its rice production, fishing, and numerous rivers. The river was vast and had many islands, 3 of which we visited today. One piece of rapid development was a giant, brand new suspension bridge stretching across the Mekong, about 50 kilometers upstream from the Pacific Ocean.
On the first island we got to witness the making of coconut candies and try a fresh candy ourselves. The people making and packaging the candies worked incredibly fast. Next, we road on “tam-tam” vehicles through rural areas. These were high-speed motorcycles with a truck bed attached to the back; it was one heck of a ride! Lunch was a delicious Vietnamese fish, served whole, alongside a canal. The fresh fish reaffirmed to me that the Mekong is a great region for fishing.
On the tour, their was no mention of government efforts to combat the salvation of the Mekong, an increasing issue for the region.
The rest of the day, we travelled to 2 more islands, seeing a temple where followers of a “Coconut Religion” formerly worshiped, as well as getting a canoe ride, hearing live traditional music, and drinking coconut water straight from the coconut.
Along the way, I saw many Japanese tourists and Mekong locals. There were many things for sale that appeal to tourists, but there was also different coconut products and fresh honey.
Climate change is definitely affecting the lives of farmers in the Mekong Delta. Growing volatility in the weather is making the rainy season longer causing more flooding and less time for planting crops, such as rice.