Friday, 7 November 2008

The Mekong Delta

The Mekong River is one of the great rivers of the world. Taking its source from Tibet plateau, the roof of the world. It twists and turns for about 4,900 kilometers - flowing through the mountainous South-western China, between Laos and Myanmar (formerly Burma), through the jungles of Laos, between Thailand and Laos, traversing Cambodia and finally fanning out across the delta in Vietnam before splaying into the South China Sea.
Beginning from Tan An (Long An province), the Mekong Delta spreads over the territory of nine provinces from north to south: Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, An Giang. Cuu Long, Kien Giang, Can Tho and Minh Hai. Two main channels of the Mekong River: the Tien Giang (the mainstream of Mekong) and the Hau Giang (or Bassac River) flow through the 3,723,189 hectares of the delta. Before reaching the sea, they have fanned out into nine branches - which accounts for its name of Cuu Long (Nine Dragons) in Vietnam.
The Mekong Delta is the richest agricultural region in Vietnam and it is usually called 'the rice bowl of Vietnam". Thanks to the area's great natural reservoir, Cambodia's Tonle Sap, this Mekong alluvium-deposited plain never gets dry, and the ebb and flow of the water levels are moderate all the year round. Since ancient times, water on the delta has been controlled by a useful network of canals. Rice, sugarcane, fruit and coconuts are the main crops. Shrimps and fish of various kinds are bountiful. The delta people consequently enjoy a rather standard of living.