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HOW By road from Ho Chi Minh City or on an overnight cruise. By boat from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc.

WHAT Vietnam is famous for its two big rice-growing areas, the Red River Delta in the north and the Mekong Delta in the south. The Mekong Delta is formed from the Mekong River which originates from the Tibetan highland plateau 2,800 miles away and flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam before flowing into the sea.

The watery landscape of green paddies and small villages is crisscrossed by canals off the river. Exploration is by road or boat visiting fruit orchards, floating markets, fish farms and tiny factories.

There are a number of national parks and nature reserves, many perfect for birdwatchers. Sam Mountain near Chau Doc has several temples on its slopes and lovely views into Cambodia from the top. Chau Doc is the starting point for ferry boats into Cambodia and an excursion to the Cham communities living on the river is very popular. Can Tho is the main town in the delta and its riverside bustles with activity. The best base for a boat trip to the floating market.

WHEN With a tropical climate, so hot and humid year round, the dry season lasts from November to April/May. The wet season is a good time to visit as the scenery is very green and lush.

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