Mekong Images 24 images Created 19 Oct 2008
As your boat cruises further from Saigon, urban landscapes give way to green as palm trees droop over tin bungalows on the Mekong's riverbanks. Floating islands of water hyacinths drift by granny-powered rowboats, while larger vessels transport cargos of melons, coconuts and bananas piled high. Small boys dive into the water from the bamboo balconies of their riverside homes. Another boat passes by with with 'lucky eyes' painted on the bow. Pet dogs, friendly waving kids and even houseplants sit up on deck. The pace of life on the Mekong River resembles the rhythms of the 19th century rather than the 21st and there lies its charm. To travel in boats here is to experience Asia at its most atmospheric. Like some kind of agricultural Venice, the Mekong Delta is crisscrossed with countless channels, tributaries and canals. Boats of every description are the main mode of transport in these parts, carrying people and the bountiful produce of the region to and from villages, farms and floating markets. The well-irrigated land of the Mekong Delta is some of the most productive in Asia and is referred to by the Vietnamese as the country's rice bowl, though rice is only one of the many things the area grows in abundance.