This is “Still the Mekong River I knew before, yet everything is so different…” Vania from Singapore exclaimed excitedly as our small group approached Binh Thanh Island by sampan.
Binh Thanh Island, with a population of more than 20,000 is in short reach to Sa Dec. Thanks to the island’s enriched soil by courtesy of the Mekong’s alluvial plain, most of local people make their living through agriculture; growing tropical fruits and vegetables – a popular trade along the Mekong River. With Heritage Line, our unique excursions bring you gliding through narrow channels on sampans, visiting an authentic village where local people weave traditional, handmade mats from the Mekong water hyacinths.
Even from a great distance, the water hyacinth plantations will catch your eye with their lush green color and vibrancy. The plants float on the water while small plastic ropes keep the whole “field” together. They will be quickly fed by the Mekong, then harvested, and cut and dried to weave mats and plenty of other useful items.
You disembark to visit the village. Seemingly endless lines of water hyacinth plants are seen on both sides of the small roads, dried naturally by the sun. Walking for a while, you are welcomed by the friendly smiles of local children.
The process of weaving mats is quite simple, but also requires a strict patience. The skillful artisanship is taken mainly by the women, usually in pairs, working together. As you have a look they may even slow their speed to teach you some basic steps. It will be a rare and interesting experience, and whenever you see any hand woven mats, in the future, you will remember your moments connected to these wonderful people.
As you embark the sampan to return to the cruise you have collected some more of those precious memories of the Mekong Delta life with you.