As alluded to in my previous post, the other day trip that I took from Saigon was one that headed to the Mekong Delta. As I only had a day, I had to choose which two provinces I wanted to visit. I opted for the nearest areas of My Tho and Ben Tre.
We arrived in My Tho, the gateway to the Mekong Delta, after a 3 hour bus ride from Saigon.
We boarded our wooden motor boat and headed past a number of islands on the river, before alighting at our first stop of the day, Unicorn Island. We were shown a bee keeping farm here, and given a sample of the honey produced to drink with tea.
After a short walk through the village, we boarded a rowing boat manned by two locals, along a little canal lined with water coconuts. Our boat dropped us off at a larger motor boat, back on the main Mekong river, and we were whisked off to the Ben Tre province, famed for its coconuts and coconut candy.
Following a step-by-step walkthrough of the coconut candy making process (and a bit of a taster, which resulted in me buying 3 packets of the good stuff!), we were taken by boat to a restaurant for lunch.
Given about 40 minutes of free time after lunch, I set off with my Russian companion for the day to explore the rural island. Too engrossed in our conversation, we nearly got lost and had a bit of an adventure getting back to our boat, which involved having to jump onto and climb across two other boats to ensure we were on time for departure!
Our final stop of the day was a tropical fruits tasting, accompanied by tea and some traditional Southern musicians playing their instruments and singing for us.
Taking into account the time it took to get back to Saigon, it was a pretty full-on day. If I could do it again, I would probably opt for a 2 day tour (with an overnight in a home stay), which allows time for further exploration into the deeper provinces of, for instance, Can Tho and Ca Mau. I will also say that though I enjoyed my experience of the Mekong Delta overall, I didn’t like the big tour group I was with (especially with all the planned stops for locals to sell their wares onto tourists) and would try to find a more customised private tour next time.