The highlights of our trip to the southern end of Vietnam

Hello from Luang Prabang. We left Vietnam after almost 7 weeks, and after getting another page of our passport nicely decorated with a new visa, we entered Lao. In the last few days, between Vientiane and, well, Luang Prabang, which is where we are now, we got to soak up Lao’s infectious laid-back atmosphere. A much needed moment of sensory relax after Hanoi’s buzzing, highly sound-polluted environment.

As we got sucked into Vietnam’s high, intense energy our blogging and posting activites took a backseat to travelling and we ended up with several thousand pictures and half-baked ideas to accompany them… none of which saw the social media light.

Now, immersed in the mellow Laotian atmosphere, we get the tranquillity to look at our beloved blog from a different perspective and take an important decision: we will do more posting about recent travelling experiences, and in the meanwhile we’ll catch up with posts covering our wonderful Vietnamese trip.

Blogging about what we’re doing now, as opposed to blogging about what we did a long time ago, will be more rewarding and motivating for us, and will allow us to provide content that sounds fresher and hopefully connect more with our readers 🙂

But enough with that – let’s come to this photo-post presenting  the highlights of our journey through the Mekong Delta, in Southern Vietnam.

The Mekong Delta region was part of Cambodia until the 17th century when it became Vietnamese territory. At the end of the 70’s, just after the American war (that’s how the Vietnamese call what we refer to as the Vietnam war), Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, attempted to reconquer the region and carried out a series bloody attacks into villages close to the border. The Vietnamese didn’t take it light-heartedly and their reaction led to the end of Pol Pot’s dictatorship.

Still, many Khmer live in the Mekong Delta along side with Vietnamese and Cham people, making for an interesting cultural mix which reflects in a variety of traditions, languages and religions.

The Mekong Delta may not be as aesthetically stunning and popular as some other places we visited in northern and central Vietnam, but it has a characteristic that we loved: it is genuine and generally unspoiled.

Our itinerary starts in Chau Doc, famous for its floating villages, its fish farms and its Khmer and Cham settlements. We went to Chau Doc all the way by boat from Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, sliding sweetly on the Mekong river.

Chau Doc 1
The boatman we hired in Chau Doc took us to the floating village and got us into this floating house where this lady was feeding her catfishes. Some of the fish product is intended for her family's consumption, the rest is sold at the market. Fish farming is one of the main economic activites in the Mekong Delta region in Southern Vietnam.
Chau Doc 2
Chau Doc's floating village.
Chau Doc 3
Two ladies gossiping - Chau Doc's floating village.
Chau Doc 4
Chau Doc's floating village. A villager boating his way home.
Chau Doc 5
A Cham woman sitting in her house's porch. There is a Cham Village on the other side of the river opposite Chau Doc. Most Cham are muslims and some women wear headscarves.

We left Chau Doc for Ha Tien, where we made a quick stop on our way to Phu Quoc – a tropical resort Island which we visited in the hope of white sand and crystal-clear water, but which ended up in a little bit of a disappointment. Still, we managed to take some sunset pictures from one end of the main beach…

Ha Tien 1
One of the best coffes we had in Vietnam was in Ha Tien. This is the way iced coffee (ca phe da) is usually served in Vietnam.
Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc. These guys were playing with what seemed to be a floating plastic chair. There was nobody but them in the water and I took the chance to silhouette them adding a human element to what would otherwise be a cheesy, plain sunset picture 🙂
Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc. I took this photo during the blue hour (after sunset) and then I enhanced the mood of the image in post processing, playing with the colour temperature.

After one very expensive night in Phu Quoc (that’s what can happen when you don’t book in advance) we took a boat to Rach Gia. Not much to say about it, as we quickly moved from here to Can Tho, which, largely owing to its floating markets Cai Rang and Phong Dien, is one of most popular destinations in the region.

Can Tho 1
Rambutan and other fruits at the street market. Can Tho's street markets are not less colorful and lively than its floating markets.
Can Tho 2
Cai Rang Floating Market. A Lady preparing our breakfast: a pork chop with rice and vegetables.
Can Tho 3
Cai Rang. Boat ladies selling fruits.
Can Tho 4
Cai Rang. A fruit vendor on his boat.
Can Tho 5
Phong Dien. Fruit vendors boating their way into the floating market.
Can Tho 6
Phong Dien. Myself having breakfast at the floating market, with noodle, pork and veggies.

Finally we went to the friendliest Tra Vinh, located on a dead end, well off the beaten path. The highlight of our stay in Tra Vinh were the locals – we got to meet and interact with many of them despite the language barrier.

Tra Vinh 1
Two men enjoying a drink and chilling out in one of the coffee shops near the market.
Tra Vinh 2
This is the priest in the local parish. One afternoon we got into the church complex, out of curiousity and he saw us and invited us in. He showed us the church and told us a bit about his life, including when he travelled to Rome.
Tra Vinh 3
A grandmother and her grandchildren. We met them during one of our photowalks and spent some time with them, even though we didn't manage to communicate with each other.
Tra Vinh 4
We met this man during one of our photowalks. He was eager to talk to us - he spoke some French, and we managed to understand each other in bits and pieces. He and his wife have a shop (you can see the shop and the wife in the background) and they gave us some sweets.
Tra Vinh 5
This is the wife of the man in the previous picture. A super friendly lady!
Tra Vinh 6
The child of a fruit vendor at Tra Vinh's street market.
Tra Vinh 7
Tra Vinh's street market. This man was very happy to have his picture taken. A few ladies who were hanging around, moved their hands as if they wanted to tell me he's nuts, or a bad guy or whatever. I thought he was really funny and nice though.
Tra Vinh 8
We stopped by this street shop to buy some water. The shop owner asked Romana if she wouldn't mind helping her children practice English as they were very keen to learn. So we stopped by and spent a nice hour with this family.

It’s all for now, we’ll be back soon with more stories and pictures.

  • Hey, really great blog post… I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog because of the great style and energy. I actually work for the CheapOair travel blog. If you’re interested, we would love to have you on as a guest blogger. Please send me an e-mail: gchristodoulou(at)cheapoair(dot)com, and I can give you more information. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • Pingback: Vietnam – Images of Saigon()

  • Hi everyone, stumbled on your webpage accidentally when looking round the net this afternoon, and pleased that I did! I do like the design and style and colors. I really like this article and the site as a whole. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours. This is really one website I am going to be bookmarking revisit.See you soon.

  • Great photos! I really enjoyed the black and whites.

    • Thanks – glad you liked the pictures