The name conjures up images of faraway tropical colour, and the reality doesn't disappoint.

Vietnam's Mekong Delta is in many ways a picture-postcard version of rural Southeast Asia: a vast photogenic expanse of winding river channels and rich vegetation. More than being an impressive natural sight, however, it's also one of the most densely populated parts of the country, packed with rice paddies, stilt-built houses and lively river activity.

If you've been dreaming of those classic Vietnamese scenes - the conical hats, the wooden boats and the rainbow hues of day-to-day life - it's a wonderful region to visit, with ample opportunity to learn more about the local way of living.

The land here is hugely fertile, its countless paddy fields meaning the area is seen as the national rice bowl. Unsurprisingly, the best way to explore the destination is by boat - various tours are offered, including overnight options.

The Mekong itself flows for more than 2,500 miles, through countries including Laos and Cambodia, by the time it reaches this part of Vietnam.

Where is it?
In southern Vietnam, below Ho Chi Minh City.

What is it?
A broad river delta region. Its water channels are formed by the Mekong fanning out as it approaches the sea.

Best time to visit?
High season is October to January, but it can be a special experience year-round.

Must see?
The floating markets taking place alongside the Mekong's riverside towns and villages.

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Mekong Delta, Vietnam