Vietnam Trip [Exploring the Mekong – Day 1]

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.
Photos of Day 1

Along the walk down to the boat, we passed many homes that were also shops, and they were drying herbs and such out the front. Many had realised that they had forgotten their hats as the sun started beating down on us and purchased Vietnamese-style hats from the local vendors.

Vendor selling soft drink at the Cai Be Floating Market

I'm not going to put up a photo of every vendor on the market, but this gives you an idea of how the vegetables were sold.

This is looking into a mechanic's workshop. No boats to fix right at the moment, so he was taking a bit of a break.

This was rice paper drying on racks outside the area where we saw this done. The Delta is in the background.

My cousin is starting a bee hive on his farm in Australia. He's got all this fancy equipment. You don't need no fancy equipment!!!!!

We stopped at a place for lunch, and afterwards we were invited to wander the garden and listen to some local music. We found this sign over some 1 metre crocodiles in one part of the garden. This would be an incredible story about the one that got away!

A traditional net used for fishing - we saw something like this in action on our second day.

Every holiday maker whose been to Vietnam has snaps of families of 5 on motorbikes, as well of outrageous loads being carried on these ever-present 2-wheeled and 3-wheeled vehicles. I snapped this lady as she was one of the few who made her child wear a helmet. I subsequently found out that it is only the law to wear a helmet if the rider or passenger is over 3.

Our first ferry trip to Vinh Long - we experienced crowded ferries. The pedestrians were in better comfort that the motorcyclists!

On the back of a tri-shaw. Looking for a foot massage, but ended up in a house that gives different types of massages. I think there was a communication error. 🙂

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