When to Go

The best time to tour the Mekong Delta is during the dry season, from October to May. During the rainy season, from May to September, a large portion of the region is under water and inaccessible. A number of interesting festivals are held in the Mekong Delta, but without a guide or a local to explain what's going on, these can be rather confusing spectacles. Attending one of these festivals should be organized well in advance, as accommodations book up early. The Khmer communities in Soc Trang and Tra Vinh hold the three-day Ooc Om Boc (or Ok Om Bok) festival each year on the 13th to 15th days of the 10th lunar month. The highlight of the festival, a combination of moon worship and prayers for a good harvest, is the racing of slender wooden snake-shaped Ngo boats. The Khmer communities in Soc Trang and Tra Vinh also celebrate the Khmer New Year, Chol Chnam Thmay, usually in mid-April (the date is determined by an ancient Khmer calendar, not the lunar calendar that guides most other celebrations in the region.) The celebrations feature a lot of good-natured water splashing as well as family feasts and pagoda visits.

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