Finally, it’s our day to go to the Mekong Delta! This was the most anticipated day for me, and I could not wait to start the day as we loaded the bus. We exited the busy city and rode around two hours to the Mekong Delta where we loaded a boat and started our amazing day of activities. We were joined by our amazing tour guide for the last time today and he explained the history and future trends of the area. The Mekong river is a flourishing area for farmers however is facing a scary future with climate change lingering ahead. The local farmers of this area will eventually have to either change what they are growing, or completely change their area of expertise to continue to provide for their families. Our day consisted of traveling around an island of the Mekong Delta and seeing and tasting each different unique item that is grown in this area. We started by going to a small pavilion and trying different kinds of local fruits including jackfruit, dragon fruit, and mini bananas. The farmers in this area have come together to create a tourist experience and generate more money for their families. This is a fantastic example of development as they have realized that the world around them is changing so they must adapt to better themselves. After our fruit taste test, we walked to a bee farm where they collect and sell fresh honey. We were given some warm honey tea with kumquat juice and pollen. Coming from someone who doesn’t like hot tea, this was fantastic and tasted like warm cider. We then moved on to the next area where we tasted some fresh chocolate and even tried some fresh cocoa which is extremely bitter. While walking through this section we were stopped and given the chance to hold a large python. I am usually not a huge snake fan, but I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t hold it, so I just went for it. The snake felt very strange and I am not going to lie, I was a little nervous while it slithered close to my head!
We then went to the area where coconuts are grown and tried some fresh coconut and even had some coconut ice cream which was refreshing! Afterward we took a horse carriage ride to another part of the delta where we would then ride small four-person boats down a small, beautiful river to our next location. I felt like I was in Venice riding in a gondola as it was so peaceful coasting down the river and taking in everything around me.
We then took a small scenic route to the restaurant where we would be eating lunch. There were a couple fun things around the restaurant for people to do including a monkey bridge. From one of our lessons prior in the week we learned that Vietnamese farmers used monkey bridges to cross over thick marshy land and rivers so they could reach their other plot of land. I knew that I had to walk across it even though it was a little sketchy!
Overall, I found today to be very fun and just another great cultural experience that being in Vietnam has offered me. The development of this land has increased so much over the past century and has so much room to grow still. The demand from other countries drives the processes and what it planted on the land in the Mekong Delta, however the farmers are the reason this demand is even being met which is truly inspiring to see happening today.