In November, 2008, DH and I went to Cambodia, where we saw the amazing ancient temples of Angkor Wat and the surrounding area. We also had the profound pleasure of visiting the floating village on the Mekong near Siem Reap. What we saw in the way that people live their lives on the Tonle Sap Lake (which feeds in to the Mekong River) moved us greatly – it is an existence that is simple, following the patterns of the life on the water. It was astounding to see the way that life is lived, and the steps that are being taken to try and make it sustainable before “modern” society strips the resources from the area.
Upon return from Seim Reap, we determined that we would explore the Mekong – upriver and downriver – to see how life is lived along its banks (and on the river itself).
Vietnam was our first extension of this exploration. We engaged Sinh Cafe (now called The Sinh Tourist) and went on their Mekong Delta Tour (it was only 3 days, but you have to snatch what you can). It was cheap (approx US$40) and we slept in 1-star hotels, but they were clean, organised, ensured we had food that wouldn’t make us ill, and I felt that we got our money’s worth and I enjoyed the trip overall.
Here is an outline of what we did (from the brochure):
Day 1:Depart at 8:00 AM from TheSinhTourist office to Cai Be by air-conditioned bus. Have a motorized boat ride to enjoy a view of CAI BE FLOATING MARKET with local people being selling, buying, exchanging goods from their boats. Walk around to see orchard, rice paper making, rice crispies producing process, etc… Stop for a rest, taste a free Vietnamese lunch including tropical fruits and enjoy Vietnamese traditional music. Boat through a village to see peaceful tranquil life of villagers, admire marvelous natural setting of Mekong Delta region. Take a boat trip through some islands and cross Mekong river to Vinh Long. Transfer to Chau Doc by bus. Overnight in Chau Doc.