At the end of March we were in South Vietnam looking to cross the border into Cambodia. We had heard good things about tours of the Mekong Delta, which is where the Mekong river (which starts in China, goes through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia) eventually ends through Vietnam and into the South China Sea.
We managed to combine a tour with crossing the border, so this worked out well for us.
The first day the tour drove from Ho Chi Min City to the Mekong. We were taken by boat to the islands that sit in the Vietnamese Mekong. Here we visited a large sitting Buddah, a honey bee farm, we’re taken in tiny banana boats to lunch at a crocodile farm (crocodile menu optional) before the group split.
One group went to the hotel and 6 of us were taken on a tiny motor boat (so tiny we didn’t think it would take us + our bags!) along the river at dusk to a lovely home-stay. It was amazing to see how the local people live on or right by the river, their houses only have 3 walls – completely open to people passing by on the water.
Top Tip: Really shop around for your Mekong Delta tour, this is an extremely popular tourist activity, and we didn’t visit anywhere that wasn’t busy with other groups. When in Ho Chi Min we were quoted from 400 thousand up to 3 million Dong (~£14 to £100) for pretty much the same itinerary, and might be even run by the same company! The home-stay option is normally more but was so worth it! We chose our tour because the agent offered us the option of going straight from the Mekong to the border, instead of coming back to Ho Chi Min city, which was perfect for us.
After our home-stay we woke up early the next morning to go out of the tiny boat again, we were taken up to the floating market. Unlike the popular floating markets in Thailand which mainly exist now as a tourist attraction, the Mekong Markets are fully functional wholesale markets used by locals who come down from the cities. It was incredible to see boats full of pineapples, watermelons and coconuts and the people approach the stalls by boat to purchase large quantities (often 10 kilos minimum ) of fruits and veg; watermelons flying through the air as they were thrown to the next boat. Boats hang up what they sell from high masts above the river, so you can see what seller you are aiming for! After this we went to see rice noodles being made, walked round a beautiful fruit farm and visited a candy factory, where we saw how the coconut candy is still hand made by the Vietnamese people in the Mekong.
Following this we actually missed our bus to the border (the bus was running uncharacteristically early) which ended up with us taking a high speed taxi to chase down the bus which kindly pulled over for us in a motorway gas station! The tour agents here will do anything to help you out as a tourist, our agent from Ho Chi Min even contacted the bus driver when we didn’t reply to her WhatsApp and he confirmed we were on the bus by sending the photos below!
With that excitement over, we were on our way to the border town of Ha Tien and over into Cambodia the next day.
Love Ella & Isaac xxx