Ringed by water and besieged by boats and tumbledown stilthouses, the island that forms the heart of VINH LONG has the feel of a medieval fortress. However, if you find yourself yearning for a peaceful backwater, first impressions will be a let-down; central Vinh Long is hectic and noisy, its streets a blur of buses and motorbikes.

Make for the waterfront, though, and it’s a different story, with hotels, restaurants and cafés conjuring up something of a riviera atmosphere. From here you can watch the Co Chien River roll by, dotted with sampans, houseboats and the odd raft of river-weed. Though there’s little to see or do in town, Vinh Long offers some of the most interesting boat trips in the delta – to the Cai Be floating market, coconut candy workshops, fruit orchards or even overnighting in home-stays.