Vietnam Day 3: Mekong Delta Tour

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Another memorable experience in Vietnam was our Mekong Delta Tour. Located in Southern Vietnam region, we drove along provincial roads. We booked the tour at our hotel and they referred us to Kim Travel Co., Ltd. An airconditioned tourist bus picked us up at the hotel by 7:30 AM. There were 20 of us in the tour, all foreigners. Tour inclusions are all entrance fees and Tommy, our English speaking Vietnamese guide.

Mekong Rest Stop - with almost 3 hours travel time, we had to stop here for 30 minutes for a restroom or snack break. The restaurant is surrounded with beautiful gardens. Free wi-fi connection is also available here.

Upon arrival in My Tho, in anticipation of the rain, our group bought our Vietnamese conical hats first then rode a local motor boat to start the tour along the Mekong River. The river is wide and the waters were in light brown color. We passed along Dragon Island and Phoenix Island and stopped at the famous Unicorn Island.

Unicorn Island - locals here need not to go to the market for food because all they need for a living can be found here in the island. They plant fruits and vegetables, raise poultry animals and they have the river for fishing. The island is also famous for their honeybee farm and they let us see and touch honeybee combs.

They served us with the best honey tea I've ever tasted. I saw they put about two tablespoons honey, squeezed calamansi juice, poured the tea and added some brown sugar.

Aside from bottles of honey, they also make royal jellies. It's edible and can also be used as a beauty regimen.

Orchard Garden - our second stop, they welcomed us with tea and served us with tropical fruits such as dragon fruit, papaya, pineapple and longgans. The locals here were wearing traditional costumes, they played musical instruments and sang for us. We enjoyed listening to Southern Vietnam's traditional music. I suggest to prepare some tips for the performers.

Rowing along Mekong Delta -  this was the highlight of our tour. We passed along the small canal surrounded by small coconut trees. This is also part of the local's daily life as they pass here when going from one place to another. Most Vietnamese women are rowing the boats and you can witness how strong they are. During our tour, a nice woman rowed for us in front while a man rowed at the back. A maximum of 4 passengers were allowed in a boat. The rain poured down during our rowing adventure but we didn't felt that it was heavy because along the canal was a canopy of coconut leaves. At the end of the canal, we felt the heavy rain and immediately went back to the motor boat. We gave tips to the locals that rowed our boat, it was a way of giving thanks to them for a wonderful service.

Coconut Candy Factory - on our fourth stop, we visited how local candies were made from hard coconut meats. The candies tastes like 'coco jam', a local jam in the Philippines. Aside from the original coconut, they produce coco candies in peanut, cocoa, pandan, ginger and coffee flavors too. One pack contains 40 pieces and they sell it for 30,000 VND (60 PHP). They gave 1 free pack for every purchase of 5 packs.

The rain poured heavily while we were at the candy factory. There was a stall there that sells plastic raincoats for 10,000 VND (20 PHP). We immediately bought for ourselves, we conquered the rain and walked several steps at the back away from the factory. A carabao waited for us at the main road of Ben Tre province. The caretela dropped us to a restaurant for lunch and restroom break. We were served with rice, chicken, spring rolls and vegetables. We bought for additional Elephant Ear fish and sodas. This was the last part of Mekong Delta Tour. After our lunch, we rode the boat again to transfer us to the motor boat, then to our bus and went back to Saigon via Express way.

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