From Ho Chi Minh City we went 4 hours South to the Mekong Delta, which is pretty much a world that floats – boats, houses and markets are set up along and on the massive river. The Mekong River flows through the whole of South East Asia and is the 12th largest river in the world. We booked a Private overnight Mekong homestay and floating market tour through Lonely Planet, which was absolutely incredible. We would definitely recommend paying a little more for a private tour. It cost us $330 per person, which included everything and the amount of people (drivers, guides and boats) we had all to ourselves was outrageous – such great service and enabled us to be a bit more flexible as it was just us. Our Guide Harry was great – he made us feel very safe, had a great sense of humour and was extremely knowledgeable. Having Harry also meant we didn’t get ripped off as he knew how to haggle the locals down.
Our Mekong Delta tour included stopping at Vinh Trang Temple where we said a big kiwi hello to the Happy Buddha, we then took a boat trip up the Ham Luong River and we stopped along the way at an incredible brick-making factory. We biked around a beautiful coconut plantation and stopped off at a couple of vibrant fruit, vege and fish markets.
After an authentic night in the middle of no-where (by authentic I mean AUTHENTIC and ZERO aircon) we had an early start to catch the Cai Rang floating market – for 2 hours we both just had this massive grin on our faces the whole time, it was unreal. This is the largest wholesale floating market in the Mekong Delta where there is a massive stretch of boats selling a variety of goods on the river. Locals come here daily from 5am to buy large quantities of goods, mostly foodstuffs, but we (as tourists) got an idea of what water commerce in the Delta is like. We learnt that boats identify what they are selling by hanging a sample off the top of a long pole; if you want pineapple; simply scan the horizon for a hanging pineapple. We had numerous boats latch on to our boat selling pho, traditional Vietnamese iced coffee and tropical fruits right from the boats. Bloody good service!
We also managed to see a glimpse of life along the shores, passed vibrantly painted boats anchored along the river, merchant vessels carrying loads of goodness knows what down the river and houses built on stilts over the water.
The Mekong Delta was an unreal experience that was a BIG highlight of our trip – we would definitely recommend this tour ten times over. If you have any questions or like the look of our trip to the Mekong – flick us a message – you will not be disappointed!
Hope you enjoyed reading about our time in The Mekong Delta – stay tuned and next up … HANOI!
L & A