By boat in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam
From Ho Chi Minh you can book all kinds of different tours. It is not necessary to do this in advance, as there is a desk on every street corner where you can pay for a nice trip. This weekend the alarm went off early for a weekend trip to the Mekong Delta.
We often use Klook’s app for arranging trips. We have already used it several times in Singapore and now also in Vietnam. The app makes it easy to arrange everything online and after payment, you will have your tickets on your mobile within five minutes. You don’t have to worry about arranging all kinds of things yourself anymore. We booked two days with one night in a hotel, two lunches, breakfast and excursions for €38 per person.
On Saturday morning the nine of us got into a van on our way to our first destination: My Tho. Our 24-year-old tour guide spoke good English and knew a lot about the area. She made a lot of hilarious jokes, unfortunately, she didn’t understand our jokes. In 1.5 hours we drove to the city of My Tho, where we got on a boat to Tortoise Island. The rules on the road also apply to the water. All boats shoot past each other and if things don’t go as planned, you just honk. When we arrived on the island we heard that 500 families live here. They live off the tips of tourists and produce their fruit and vegetables.
On to Coconut Island where the boats were getting smaller and smaller. Also, the Mekong river became narrower and the vegetation became denser and denser. It was great to escape the busy, chaotic Ho Chi Minh City and sail on the calm waters of the Mekong Delta. When we had to change to the smallest, narrowest and lowest boat I have ever seen, I got a little cramped. Four big Dutchmen on a small boat, driven by a small Vietnamese man who is trying with all his might to push that boat forward.
Unfortunately no spectacular stories about how we collapsed with the boat and had to knock off a crocodile. The little man managed to sail us around without any effort and kept us in balance. After lunch, rice, fish and spring rolls we got back on the bus and drove towards our accommodation in the city of Can Tho. Before we arrived there we stopped at one of the most famous pagodas of the Delta.
Vinh Trang Pagoda
In the Batu Caves and Wat Pho in Thailand, we could already experience for ourselves how big some of the statues are in Asia. The enormous golden reclining Buddha in Bangkok and the 42-meter high golden statue of Lord Murugan in the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. In the Vinh Trang Pagoda, they go one step further. Upon entering, it is difficult to get around the huge Buddha statues, which is a colossal statue. This pagoda had a lot to endure during a tropical storm and later when the French tried to enlarge their area in South Vietnam.
After we walked around here for a while, we jumped on the bus again for the last hour to Can Tho. We didn’t know what to expect from a two-star hotel in Vietnam, but it was perfect. Lots of space, a good shower, and a nice Vietnamese, hot, breakfast!
Cai Rang Floating Market
The second day we visited the Cai Rang Floating Market. This morning we were already on the boat at half-past seven, because the market is alive and kicking at four o’clock in the morning. In the middle of this river are dozens of huge boats stuffed with pineapples, melons, coconuts and other kinds of fruit. The rules for the locals have been changed when they want to buy something at this market. They have to buy at least ten kilos of products if they want to buy something on Cai Rang. For us as tourists that don’t apply, so we could enjoy a piece of pineapple and a cup of coffee that was freshly prepared on the boat next to us.
We won’t talk about how polluted the water is by all the plastic that is thrown in this river. We came to a standstill because rubbish got into the engine. At least we got a better picture of what life is like in the Mekong Delta.