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You are planning a trip to Vietnam and are having difficulties deciding where to go and what to do, what you cannot miss and what to skip. From the feedbacks of our customers, Tailormade Vietnam Holidays would like to recommend some activities considered by travellers as must-do's when you are in Vietnam....

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Mekong Delta - When the water rises


Dong Thap Muoi, in the Mekong Delta, is famous for its labyrinthine system for canals. Each year, during the season of rising water levels lasting from June to December, slender, peaceful canals suddenly surge and become small rivers that bear the responsibility of carrying loads of alluviums serving to enrich the local soil.

Canals quickly become the center of all human activities. Sampans and motorboats speedily run up and down the waterways; fishermen with square features and ruddy complexions go quietly angling on their small vessels staying afloat on the waves; young mothers with their babies in their arms are talking a rowboat down river to the market; boats laden with merchandise are drifting to a commercial point, and groups of schoolchildren with books under their arms are being ferried across the channel to go home after school.

On both sides of the channels, rows of coconut palms are reflected in the water, bamboo hedges tower up robustly, whereas white-trunked eucalyptus leaves hang down gracefully. Here and there banana trees are bent with their heavy bunches of dark green bananas, and cork-trees seem to sow their yellow blossoms on the channel banks in a vivid landscape.

From time to time, when looking up, you will unexpectedly encounter the dark eyes of some children standing by the windows of a house on stilts. Occasionally, the gentle white ao dai of a girl is fleetingly visible: she appears beside a coconut tree with eyes looking dreamily in the distance. Such images will certainly leave a deep impression on visitors from afar, as such poetic figures can hardly be conjured in bustling urban life. Coming to Dong Thap during this season, one cannot but visit Xeo Quit, an historic site and tourist area, as well as Gao Giong, or the "garden of birds". On the banks of the canal, Xeo Quit is 30km away from Cao Lanh town of Dong Thap.

It is situated on the soil of My Hiep and My Long communes, in Cao Lanh rural district. From My Hiep market, after 40 minutes by waterway, one finds oneself face to face with the primitive forest of dark green indigos submerged in water, in a windy, natural environment. the locality that used to be a revolutionary base in the fierce years of the American War have now become an ideal destination for tourists, both at home and abroad.

On a sampan drifting amidst the submerged area, the world of water and towering, interlacing indigos surrounds boat-goers, while tiny azure patches spot the sky above. The distant songs of birds is all that can be heard. Visitors relive the sensations of the dynamic and courageous pioneers who first discovered this land, when it was entirely the realm of jungles and wild beasts. The only thing that connects tourists with the outside world is the strangely graceful smile of the rowing girl who serves boat tours on her small vessel.

All around you is water, vegetation, and leaves. Flowers and birds, Gao Giong is located in hamlet No 6, Gao Giong commune, Cao Lanh rural district and Dong Thap province. A long time ago it was regarded as the "lungs" of Dong Thap. Seen from above, this area looks like a never-ending carpet of green verdure. Channels nicely encircle the indigo forest like a colorful scarf worn around the necks of girls from the western "Nam Bo" rural area (Nam Bo refers to the southern half of Vietnam).

To advance deeper in the forest, explorers embark a sampan rowed by another graceful girl wearing a South Vietnam pajama and leaf conical hat. Drifting along this submerged canal, passengers often have to reach out to clear the foliage, as the boat floats deep into the untouched jungle. At times, it may be that in the midst of an immense indigo forest a surface of water suddenly emerges, light green with the color of grass and tinctorial knotweeds.

On and in the sampan moves towards the garden of birds. From afar, you can already see birds hovering about. As approach, the scenery grows richer in color and in sound. The snow-white wings of storks now spread out on the green grass background; jet black cong coc aquatic birds flap their wings; multi-colored kingfishers and warblers flutter by swiftly. Birds vy with one another in song to form a unique concert. Flocks of white storks and black "cork" birds form black and white patches on the sky: they mingle with the green of plants and trees to create a fantastic natural harmony of color.

Small, snowy storks standing on rocks look at you with bewildered eyes as if you were a strange creature encroaching on their own land (which you are). Aquatic cong coc birds swin zigzag like otters between indigo trees. Occasionally they become behind them glittering drops of water in the sunshine. Herons leisurely swim in the swamp of reeds, while dozens of other exquisite scenes await discovery.

On your way home, departing from the land of wild birds, a completely silent landscape surrounds you, while the only sound is the rowing of oars that stirs up the water. In the middle of the landscape soar up the notes of a traditional folksong, sung by the boat-girl while she moves her oars. The song tells of the love of a country girl with a city boy. She loves him passionately but still hesitates, wavering between love and filial devotion. The works in the song are simple, sincere but profound: they follow you along your journey.



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