Mekong Delta - The ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the delta is carpeted in a dizzying variety of greens. It's a water world that moves to the rhythms of the mighty Mekong, where boats, houses and markets float upon the innumerable rivers, canals and streams that criss-cross the landscape like arteries.
The bustling commerce of its towns contrasts sharply with the languid, almost-soporific pace of life in the countryside. Here buffalo wallow in rice paddies, coconut- and fruit-laden boats float slowly along the mud-brown waters, and two-wheeled exploration of the narrow lanes is amply rewarded with a true taste of rural hospitality (and delicious river fish).
Elsewhere, mangrove forests teem with a wealth of bird life and bristle with the remains of Viet Cong bunkers, ornate Khmer pagodas and Buddhist temples reaching for the sky.
Mekong Delta Experience
We depart at 8:00am and head south to the river town of Cai Be, a rural district of Tien Giang province in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.
9:30am: take a break at Mekong Rest Stop.
10.30am: Arrive in Cai Be, you’ll board a motorized boat that takes you to the floating market and spend time there for an interaction that you’ll see nowhere else in the world.
We board our motorized boat to journey through Cai Be floating market. Here, we will experience how life functions on the delta, as we view the intricacies of commerce – how merchants purchase products from local farmers. During our cruise the town’s secluded canals, we will stop at some local factories to see locals making pop rice cakes, rice paper cakes, coconut candies and products from coconut trees. We also enjoy sampan ride and pedal down narrow natural waterways. Stopping at a local home to try seasonal fruits (such as longan, pineapple, watermelon, rambutan, papaya, jackfruit etc…). Continue walking through the village to get back to our boat which is waiting to bring us to another local house for lunch served with many Vietnamese’s delicious dishes.
After lunch, we are divided into many groups and get on small row boats. During this 20 minutes trip, your boat will zigzag thru a maze of shadow canals to enjoy the fresh air along the canal and beautiful water coconut tree scenery.
The next stop is Vinh Long City from Tan Phong Island take 35 minutes by boat, we will land on a marketplace and walk around to see how and what the poor rural people of Vietnam sell in Vinh Long City. You are encouraged to interact with the vendors and see how friendly and respectful they are. You might also buy many interesting things for very little amount of money. We spend about ½ hr here and then tranferred to Can Tho.
Overnight in Can Tho.
An early start for a boat trip to Cai Rang floating market, the largest wholesale market in the Mekong Delta. It starts at 5:00am and runs until midday. Then we have a long distance cruise to Phong Dien & walk on a quiet country road to take in the magnificent scenery and get close to the locals as they go about their daily routine and reach a noodle and a rice paper factories. Upon finishing (around 12:00) go back Can Tho for lunch.
We keep on to Chau Doc. Upon arrival, visit the Cham minority with their traditional weaving village (if time permit). After dinner, we spent exploring some of the nearby temples and pagodas. Perhaps it’s the spirituality of communing with nature that has made this mountain the site of dozens of temples. Or maybe it’s the fact that Chau Doc, on the border with Cambodia, has served as a melting pot of religions including Cham, Buddhism, Hinduism and mother-goddess worship.
Overnight in Chau Doc.
This morning, we head over to Nui Sam (Sam’s Mountain), one of Vietnam’s holiest sites. At 284 meters high, the views from the summit are truly stunning, taking in the town of Chau Doc below, the patchwork of paddy fields and the winding waterways that fan out towards Cambodia and the sea – a refreshing contrast to city life.
Sencond visiting Tra Su Forest; this is a great place to visit when you're staying in Chau Doc. A series of boats, both motorized and row, take us further into the bird sanctuary, zipping through a living carpet of water lettuce with their pretty green rose-like petals, so dense that we have to remind ourselves that we’re actually on water.
During the visit to Tra Su Forest, you have a chance to enjoy precious moments living in harmony with nature as well as the wholesome atmosphere. This ecological spot is the habitat of many genera of water birds (mostly storks), colonies of bats and various rare animal and bird species.
Especially, you will be flabbergasted by small houses on stilts with rudimentary bamboo ceilings that are firmly tightened to cajuput trees, making an unusual existence in the quiet ambience of the forest.
You stand on a 23.5m high watch tower in the midst of the forest; enjoy a panorama of the vast greenery spotted with the white of storks below and surrounding countryside.
The trip will end at Chau Doc and back to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon).
END THE TOUR.