For travellers who want to explore the sprawling Cuu Long (Mekong Delta) by boat, Cai Be Town in Tien Giang Province, some 100km south of HCM City, is one of the best launching points - and here you can also travel the delta’s seemingly endless waterways on a sampan.
Shipshape: Sampans are the vehicle of choice for tourists on the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta River in Tien Giang Province.
Earlier this year, Hanoi-based Luxury Travel Company started tours of the delta on large sampan boats – a much more charming option to explore the delta than the usual metal tour boats used by most tour operators in the area.
Traditional sampans are small Asian flat-bottomed boats, propelled by oars or a rear-mounted oar. The sampans used for the new Mekong tours are larger, luxury versions of the smaller traditional vessels. These 22m-long and 4m-wide wooden boats, with two bedrooms and a living room, offer a relaxing way to cruise the waters.
Sampans used to be the vehicle of choice for locals on the Mekong Delta, which is filled with wide waterways and meandering rivers and canals. Now the sampan has proved to be suitable for tourists, with many visitors from Europe taking the sampan tours since they were launched in June.