The Mekong Delta (Vietnamese: "đồng bằng sông Cửu Long" means“Nine Dragon river delta”) is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southeastern Vietnam of 39,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi). The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.
The Mekong Delta has recently been dubbed as a 'biological treasure trove'. Over 10,000 new species have been discovered in previously unexplored areas of Mekong Delta, including a species of rat thought to be extinct.
The Mekong Delta, as a region, lies immediately to the west of Ho Chi Minh City, roughly forming a triangle stretching from Mỹ Tho in the east to Châu Đốc and Hà Tiên in the northwest, down to Cà Mau and the Pacific at the southernmost tip of Vietnam, and including the island of Phú Quốc.
The Mekong Delta region of Vietnam displays a variety of physical landscapes, ranging from mountains and highlands to the north and west to broad, flat flood plains in the south. This diversity of terrain was largely the product of tectonic uplift and folding brought about by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates about 50 million years ago. The soil of the lower Delta consists mainly of sediment from the Mekong and its tributaries, deposited over millions of years as the river changed its course due to the flatness of the low-lying terrain.
As all deltas, it receives the bounty of the siltation from the upper Mekong, and as such is a very rich and lush area, covered with rice fields. It produces about half of the total of Vietnam's agricultural output (in fact the delta produces more rice than Korea and Japan altogether), and is the place for timeless sceneries of farmers planting or harvesting rice.
The Mekong splits in Cambodia into two main rivers, the Bassac (Hậu Giang) and the First river (Tiền Giang), then in Vietnam into a more complex system, creating a maze of small canals, rivers and arroyos interspersed with villages and floating markets.
Life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, and all the villages are often accessible by river as well as by road.
The high times of life in the Mekong delta are the lunar new year (Tet, or Tết), and the mid-autumn festival (Tết trung thu), where children will set hundreds of candles on their way on the river on as many tiny skiffs.
Being a low-lying coastal region, the Mekong Delta is particularly susceptible to floods resulting from rises in sea level due to climate change. The Climate Change Research Institute at Can Tho University, in studying the possible consequences of climate change, has predicted that, besides suffering from drought brought on by seasonal decrease in rainfall, many provinces in the Mekong Delta will be flooded by the year 2030.
The most serious cases are predicted to be the provinces of Ben Tre and Long An, of which 51% and 49%, respectively, are expected to be flooded if sea levels rise by 1 meter. Life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, and many of the villages are often accessible by rivers and canals rather than by road.
Many bridges were built, they provide the convenience of traveling to the delta, the time of traveling from Ho Chi Minh city to Mekong delta is reduced a lot.