The Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam is a vast maze of rivers, swamps and islands, home to floating markets, Khmer pagodas and villages surrounded by rice paddies. Boats are the main means of transportation, and tours of the region often start in nearby Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) or Can Tho, a bustling town in the heart of the delta.
The region comprises 12 provinces: Long An, Đong Thap, Tien Giang, An Giang, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, and Ca Mau, along with the province-level municipality of Can Tho.
The Mekong Delta is the region with the smallest forest area in Vietnam. 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) or 7.7% of the total area are forested as of 2011. The only provinces with large forests are Ca Mau Province and Kien Giang Province, together accounting for two-thirds of the region’s forest area, while forests cover less than 5% of the area of all of the other eight provinces and cities.