As a continuation after Day 1 and Day 2 of our brief Mekong Delta holiday in Vietnam, we go to Day 3 – our last day on the Delta.
From the Tour Company, our itinerary was:
Take a 3-hour boat trip to discover the beautiful CAI RANG FLOATING MARKET and its surroundings. Visit a rice husking mill. fruit gardens. Enjoy tropical fruit (free). Have lunch in Can Tho. Go back to Sai Gon by bus. Go across My Thuan suspension bridge and stop at Vinh Long Market and MEKONG REST STOP in My Tho. Trip ends at TheSinhTourist office.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to go over the suspension bridge – there was a delay and it wasn’t going to be opened until 2 weeks after our trip. But that was OK – we got another ferry trip, and that was always interesting with all the vehicles and people jammed on the vessel.
Hubby and I on the Mekong Delta, on our way to the Cai Rang Floating Market
Our Guide on the Tour - Lee! He was pretty good, friendly, and looked after us.
I've always wanted waterfront property. These are typical of the homes that line the river.
There were a lot of vendors , and some of them were selling fruit to tourists on the river. We even had one that was a row boat selling drinks, mostly for the fruit vendors to buy, who hitched themselves to us and rode for a little while up the river. I guess that saved them all the effort of rowing. They didn't even try to sell us anything!
So here you are on the river, buying produce, and how do you find the produce you want to buy? Look for the signs, of course! These poles are displayed over each boat, indicating what they sell!
We then were dropped off at a fruit and flower garden, and there was a wooden bridge over a pond. We had seen something like this used in the village we visited on the previous day, so I was keen to see how easy it was to walk on. Surprisingly, it wasn't hard, however I don't know if I'd want to be doing it when I'm 60!
There were a lot of lotus flowers growing around the delta region. In Singapore we eat these in a dish called Rojak (I'm sure there are other dishes, but this is one that I can actually recognise the flower when they chop it up).
After exploring the garden, we stopped to eat the fruit and drink coffee (We LOOOOOVE Vietnam coffee!!).
Just as we were getting off the boat to set off from Can Tho to Saigon, we saw these boys fishing from their dwelling. They waved (as most children did), and then got on with their fishing!
On the other side of the boat from the boys fishing was a man washing his dog in the river. I couldn't get a photo of that, as I was concentrating on not falling in. However, when we reached the jetty, we walked through a home area to the main road, and along the way we saw him drying the puppy. Cute!
When we left the boat, we walked up towards the main road past a number of dwellings, where we saw examples of daily life, including this boy hanging from a window grill, playing as boys do. He seemed lost in thought as he scaled the window - and I think he thought he was going to get in trouble for climbing!
One of the things about these trips is that you do tend to spend a fair bit of time on buses, although it wasn't too bad with this one. I think the longest stretch was about 1.5 hours, and we had a chance to exchange information and stories along the way (as well as sleep - those 5.50am starts catch up with you on the second day). Ray was checking out Till's guidebook on the region in this photo.
Passengers off the ferry first - and it's a crush to get off before the motorbikes are allowed off and run you down!! Organised mayhem at its best!
Sarah and Till at the Mekong Rest Stop - the most well-manicured garden we saw in the region, complete with hammocks and wifi for the weary (and connected) traveller!
Raymon found some ducks to talk to - they were friendly and looked very healthy!
What a beautiful way to end our trip - stunning Orchids.
I would definitely recommend the Mekong Delta 3D2N tour with Sinh Cafe for those that wish to see the area on a budget. For less that US$50 we had clean accommodation (1-star, but adequate). You can upgrade, however for the time we spent in the hotel, we felt that it wasn’t worth the effort.
We were also very fortunate in that we had people on the group who (mostly) weren’t late and respected group travel etiquette (which is basically to not be late and hold up the group). We had one occasion where some were late, but it turned out to be a miscommunication, and for the most part it went really smoothly.
Some tips for travelling:
- Take your own soap – we found that 1-star soap left us scratchy and itchy, and this little luxury was worth the investment.
- Have something to read or listen to for the bus trips. Although I spent a lot of time staring out the windows (it was fascinating), there were times when I didn’t want to sleep, and I’d seen enough outside.
- Eat where the guides and the hotels recommend unless you’re a veteran traveller. While the food on the road looks delicious, and probably 70% of the time you’ll be OK, it’s not worth spoiling your holiday and the tour for everyone else if you get sick. We found that because it was a 1-star tour, most of the prices were affordable, and there were 3-4 star options if we wanted to splurge.
- Drink lots of water – mineral/bottled water. We stuck to La Vie (Nestle) and Aquafina (Pepsi) as we found it tasted similar to what we’re used to, and was less likely to be tampered with or recycled. There were a couple of experiences on our tour where a few of the local brands were actually recycled bottles, refilled with tap water.
I haven’t posted all the photos in my blog. If you want to go through all of them, please visit my Flickr Set.