Vietnam – Ho Chi Mihn City and the Mekong Delta
on April 1, 2013
Vietnam is hot and moving incredibly fast. Sarah and I began in Ho Chi Mihn City (Saigon), after the 23 hours of travel that brought us from San Francisco via Hong Kong.
After spending a full day on Saigon’s high octane streets, we head south into the Mekong Delta, the vast river delta where the Mekong River spreads out before emptying into the ocean. The 15,000 sq mi area, which makes up the far southern portion of Vietnam, is home to over 20 million people, and is the country’s most productive region of agriculture and aquaculture. In one of the provinces we passed through, over 80% of the land is cultivated. The Mekong Delta is one of the low, flat, coastal areas in south east asia that will be devastatingly impacted by climate change. In addition to suffering from drought due to decreased rainfall, many provinces in the delta will be flooded by the year 2030. Ben Tre, one of the provinces we passed through, will be 51% flooded with just 1 meter rise in sea level.
We traversed the delta by boat and bus, spending nights in Can Tho and Rach Gia, where we jumped a hydro foil to Phu Quoc, a large island 45 km off the coast in the Golf of Thailand (more on that later). The cities were fast, hot and mildly exhausting. The streets are swelled with motor bikes, and the honking and rushing about seems to never stop, day or night. Everyone seems to be trying to make a fast buck, and given that Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it seems to be working. As westerners moving through this incredibly high paced economic landscape, our US dollars still bring us so much for so, so little.
More soon. And of course, photos from Saigon and the Delta for your enjoyment.