Day 56. Mekong Delta. The region west of Saigon, famous for the floating markets and scenic landscapes. There’s plenty of available tours you can book directly in Vietnam’s metropolis. I booked a three-day tour to several places and was more than excited to see what I would experience.
I have no idea if I booked a good or bad tour, as a quick heads up however I can already tell you that the tour was 80% Bus, 5% Boat and 10% walking around. It wasn’t all bad though.
The first day started pretty early, as we took off from Saigon at around 7am in the morning. I walked to the booking office on time and guess what happened? I had to wait half an hour more until everyone was ready and the bus arrived. This is pretty common in South-East-Asia in general and I already got used to it, so no worries. It actually even helps a lot to chill down and relax. Back in Europe you’re basically screwed if you’re not on time.
The very first stop we had was around a city called Mỹ Tho, around 1.5 hours from Saigon, where we visited quite an impressive Buddhist temple with giant statues.
Buddhist Temple near Mỹ Tho.
We quickly after moved on and took a short boat ride through the delta. Although it wasn’t a long ride, it was pretty cool to sit in the boat and being navigated through the jungle. At a later stop, we visited a bee farm, where locals would produce honey tea and other goods.
The rest of the day was spent mostly on the bus, that was bringing us to our next destination, Cần Thơ, which is the 4th largest city in Vietnam (after Saigon, Hanoi, Haiphong and Danang).
I spent the evening there strolling around a little bit and getting some food until I happily fell into my bed for some rest after a very long day.
The next day started very early too, as the tour was planning to visit a local floating market. This is probably one of the highlights for many going on a Mekong Delta trip. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I was told that the markets here are still quite genuine and used by locals to go shopping and buy the products they need. In contrast to Thailand where they’re nowadays organized around tourism.
Whatever is true, it’s a pretty cool experience in any way, even though it was apparently not the high season for the markets anymore. We were chugging around with the boat, while random sellers were attaching themselves to our boat and handing us sliced pineapples, coconuts and even a full bowl of Phở.
We had a quick lunch somewhere in the city and kept moving to the thing I was most excited about: Tra Su Forest.
I don’t know how to describe it properly, but I’ll try and help out with some pictures. It’s a flooded mangrove forest that houses 140 types of flora, 70 species of birds and all kinds of animals. It’s a very enchanting place and hearing the birds singing while paddling across the area is definitely worth sitting on a bus for hours.
We ended our evening by driving to the nearby city Châu Đốc. There was an option to move to Cambodia the day after because the city was right at its border, but I sadly only had a single entry visa and should have stayed in the country!
Rooftopping in Châu Đốc.
The last day was probably not a real highlight, but it wasn’t too bad either. We started pretty early again and I was already very exhausted as I once again got sick from the air-cons in the hotels and busses, so maybe I also just couldn’t enjoy it that much anymore.
We first visited a local market, nothing special, but still cool for street photography as there was a lot going on.
Right afterwards we hopped on a boat and checked out a local floating fishing house, which was actually very interesting. It’s houses that are built directly in the river with holes in them that are used for fishing.
Driving to a fishing village.
Floating fishing house.
Lastly, we were going to visit a Muslim village and a mosque. Although basically quite logic, I wasn’t even aware that islam is a thing in Vietnam so it was very interesting for me to see that.
We finished the tour by driving all the way back to Saigon which took about 7 hours and was very tiring.
I think the tour was overall worth it and not too bad, but next time I think I’d just go on my own and stayed longer in the Tra Su Forest area, as that was a real highlight for me.