Before coming to Vietnam, I had not ever had any idea of this country. But a Mekong Delta trip I experienced two weeks ago has made me always feel I must come back someday to explore more its charms. It’s time when I had decided to pick Vietnam for my vacation; while getting access to lots of different blogs and websites to find the specific points interesting enough to go for myself, I clicked on tnktravel.com by chance and realized that a tour to explore the Mekong Delta within two days clearly convinced me. In fact, the tour didn’t let me down.
Then, here was my story when I arrived in Vietnam. TNK travel’s office is right at the street corner in the Saigon backpackers’ enclave, and the staff is well trained and indeed friendly. They gave me very detailed information about the itinerary and carefully explained to me what I felt confused. Eventually, I also decided to go on the Mekong Delta tour for 2 days. Tomorrow, after waiting about 10 minutes at the company office, I was picked up and departed for the first destination (people called it My Tho). The big bus was new and actually comfortable with the air-conditioner. Absolutely impressed by the guide Tom’s great manner and how he took care of the group during the trip; plus, also admire his knowledge about what he was doing as a professional guide.
Right after hitting a ferry at My Tho, our group just waited about 2 minutes for the guide to get tickets for a boat ride. It was the first time I sat on such a boat and peer down into the countryside’s rustic landscapes in Vietnam. Surely, you will not be able to understand how I felt while cruising along the river – the cool breeze blew on my face and the cruise led me through bizarre stilt houses and orchards; it was awesome!
Stepping on the shore from the boat, our group went for a stroll in a green village of Tortoise Island (the island’s name sounds quite exciting; it seems that it is also the name of among four Vietnamese mascots). Stop at a garden to enjoy a special local program in which the locals sang their traditional songs while we enjoyed slices of fresh fruit. The rhythm was not bad at all, but what I was excited the most was that the guide explained to us the meaning of each song closely associated with their rural life.
Leaving the garden of traditional songs, we continued trying a new experience. The group was divided into a few smaller groups. Each one of three people were led down onto a wooden sampan and rowed through narrow canals. It was rather amazing to leisurely move past the cool shade of long coconut leaves. One beautiful picture in front of my eyes was that the leaves bending down on the water made up natural vaults. Taking this chance, I took several snapshots of the scenery around me as n evidence that I had ever dipped into such a water area.
It was great since we were treated with a pretty delicious lunch right at a local orchard. Wow! It was also a way to put myself in harmony with nature and the local scenery. Perhaps, what made me regretful was that our trip was not taken on the season of fruits, so it was unfortunate that we saw nothing lush in the orchard.
As for the trip to Can Tho, it took us about five hours. I stayed at a hotel of my request; it was quite nice and comfortable. It was true that I felt exhausted after a great day full of activities. However, having something in my stomach was a must before a nice sleep, so I roamed along streets in the surrounding area and spotted an outstanding food stall. The locals called it “Ban xeo” or something like that, and the specialty was served with a special sauce; it actually went well together. After the dinner, I wanted to see how the Can Tho’s scenes were different from those of the other big cities, so I walked along the street to Ninh Kieu Wharf and realized that the perspective was bustling enough to attract tourists, but still carried a peaceful feature of the remote land.
In the next early morning, perhaps exploring Cai Rang Floating Market was the most wonderful part of the Mekong Delta trip for two days. It was a wholesale market of fruits and vegetables. We sat on the boat and cruise through the pulsating market full of boats exchanging their goods. A variety of fruits with impressive colors made the market more vibrant. The guide was informative and knowledgeable since he gave us very stimulating things about the culture of floating markets from the past until now. Especially, with his information, we knew there was a bamboo stick with one or several types of products hang at the top on each of the boats, and it was used to save time for those who wanted to buy those items as they could see it from the far distance. The innocent inhabitants here whose life was closely associated with the river and boats were extremely friendly and humorous. I liked how they sold their products and how they communicated with us while they just knew a little bit of our language; it was great!
Leaving the market, our group visited a rice noodle-making village after a short time of cruising through a small channel system. Here, the guide showed us the machine the locals used to make rice noodle and there were also a specialized zone where the noodle was utilized to make luscious snacks. The taste deserves to be tried for sure! Crossing “Monkey Bridge” was the last experience, but I just thought it was for those who were indeed brave because the bridge looked “dangerous” with the thin sticks.
- Tour ranked: 4.5/5 stars
- Price: good
- Service: good
- Spots in the itinerary: interesting