Known to the Vietnamese as “the River of Nine Dragons”, the Mekong spreads out over the south of Vietnam as an intricate network of tributaries and waterways. The delta is a lush, tropical world of rice paddies, mangrove swamps, and canals with overhanging foliage where boats, stilt houses, and markets float on the life-giving waters of the mighty Mekong.

Blessed with nutrient-rich soils, the Mekong Delta is described as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, and at just ten percent of the country’s landmass it produces almost half of Vietnam’s annual food crops. A cone-hatted farmer working the field with a water buffalo is still a common sight here, the rustic way of life very much in evidence throughout the region. Thrown into the mix are bustling market towns, Khmer temples and remains of Viet Cong bunkers.

Take a sampan trip to a colourful floating market at the crack of dawn and let your oarsman take you on a relaxing ride through a water labyrinth. And if rising early isn’t really your thing, then explore the area on two wheels and experience the legendary hospitality of the local people first-hand.