Cover Story: Sa Dec - A Blossoming Gem on the Mekong River

Nestled on the banks of the mighty 4,350-kilometre Mekong River, the small town of Sa Dec in southern Vietnam is an untapped treasure that’s relatively unexplored by river cruises. It’s known across the country for its bright flower farms and across the literary world as the setting for a forbidden romance, and now Scenic guests are discovering its beauty and charm.  
While planning for your Mekong River cruise, you probably have come across the riverside cities of Can Tho and My Tho, but Sa Dec has conventionally been overlooked. Some 140 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City, this smaller and slower-paced town oozes charm and beauty, comprising splendid tree-lined streets, colonial-style architecture and historic merchant houses and mansions.  
Guests will have the pleasure of stopping in this lesser-visited river town to explore its colonial treasures, pass by the fascinating renowned flower farms and get a snapshot of everyday life on the river.

What to do in Sa Dec

Sa Dec is home to one of the most authentic markets you’ll visit along the river, where hawkers tout everything from fresh native fruit and vegetables – rambutan, dragonfruit, tapioca and the like – to live fish, frogs and even snakes. Guests will be able to interact with the sellers during a two-hour exploration via sampan (a traditional boat), immersing in the hustle and bustle of market life, browsing local produce or sampling tasty morsels from street vendors.  
Sa Dec is blanketed year-round in all types of colourful blooms, from marigolds to roses, which are grown in bamboo baskets on shelves elevated above water – a method unique to this region. Lotus farms are also a familiar and beautiful sight, including the farm pictured on the cover of Scenic’s 2023/2024 South East Asia river cruising brochure, where bold magenta blooms pop against the deep green waters.  

Across Sa Dec, you will spot farmers in conical hats donning waders or using traditional bamboo boats to tend to their vibrant crops in flooded fields or load freshly cut blooms for transport to markets near and far. It’s a postcard-perfect Vietnamese scene; one that will captivate your memory for years to come.  
During Lunar New Year (Tet) – the country’s most significant holiday – this flower-growing region is a hive of activity and a particularly exciting time to visit. Flowers are traditionally used to adorn homes, pagodas and streets to symbolize happiness, peace, health and wealth and the town is awash in colour and activity.  

Tales of Sa Dec

You can visit Sa Dec as part of all Mekong River Cruise itineraries, including Luxury Mekong & Temple Discovery Cruise and Treasures of the Mekong itineraries. 
Request your 2023/2024 South East Asia River Cruising Brochure to learn more about this captivating town.