July 12, 2012

Vietnam: Mekong Delta Tour

Life in the river.

The Mekong River is the 12th longest river in the world. From Tibet, it traverses through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and ends in Vietnam. Mekong Delta is located in southwestern Vietnam and is a network of rivers that connects to the ocean.

On our 2nd day in Vietnam, we went on a tour to the Mekong Delta, in the town of My Tho. My Tho is the capital of the Tien Giang Province in Vietnam. The town is also considered as the “Gateway to the Mekong Delta”. From Ho Chi Minh City, My Tho is 84 kilometers south and is just 2 hours by bus.

The tour is $12 per person and it includes everything: the bus ride to and from Ho Chi Minh City, the boat rides in Mekong Delta, the tour in the river, lunch and an English-speaking guide.

At 7:35, the guide picked us up in our hostel and we went on to pick up more tourists. By 8:00, we’re on our way to My Tho.

Halfway through, we stopped at a coffee shack for 20 minutes for breakfast or a bathroom break. If you’re not hungry, you can just nap in the hammocks in the shop.

After 2.5 hours on the road, we arrived in the port of My Tho. After 10 minutes, we rode the local motor boat or the Sampan that will take us to the islands.

There are 4 islets in My Tho namely the Unicorn, Phoenix, Dragon and Tortoise Islands. The 1st islet we went to is the Unicorn Island.

When we arrived in Unicorn Island, there were strings of stalls selling local goods like wallets, purses made from crocodile skin, t-shirts, slippers, bracelets, chopsticks and other utensils, etc. After that, we headed to the bee farm.

They let us taste the honey by dipping our finger in the artificial bee hive. After the honey tasting, they gave us dried fruits to sample and tea with honey and lime.

Candied Ginger, Banana Crisps and Nut Brittle.

The dried fruits, honey along with snake whiskey and scorpion whiskey are for sale in the bee farm's shop. 

That's a lot of Cobras.

Snake and Scorpion Whiskey in assorted bottles.

Scorpion Whiskey

Our 2nd stop are the fruit farms. They showed us the Longan, Jackfruit, Durian and other farms. The guide also taught how to identify the ripe fruits in the area.

            Our last stop in Unicorn Island is the most exciting thing we did in Mekong Delta, the rowing boat ride along the natural water coconut canal.

The shallow boat has a maximum of 4 passengers. Our amazing guides who are located on both ends are rowing in a squatting position. Midway through, they sped up the boat, overtaking other boats in the narrow canal.

The rowing boat dropped us off to the Sampan, and off we go to the Tortoise Island. We were then transferred to a smaller boat that will take us through another coconut canal.

We went to the Coconut Candy Workshop. They showed us how to make the famous Vietnam coconut candy from the coconut to the final product.

Cook the coconut milk with sugar until it turns thick and brown in color.

After cooking, let the mixture coconut mixture cool.
Flatten the mixture and let harden. Then cut into square sizes.

Wrap the candy in rice paper, then wrap again in a plastic wrapper.

The candy tasted a lot like latik in the form of chewy square bars.

Next stop is Lunch. Our free lunch is an unappetizing fried chicken with rice and vegetables. So my sister ordered the famed Fried Fish in Mekong Delta.

Deep-Fried Elephant Ear Fish. 180,000 VND / P360.00
            The fish is fresh from the lake before deep frying. It comes with a serving of rice paper and an assortment of greens so you can make the Elephant Ear Fish Spring Rolls.

            The presentation of the fish is nice but the fish was dripping in oil. The waiter then made 4 spring rolls for us which tasted good. The greens balanced the oil in the fish and the sauce complimented the freshness. After finishing the 4 rolls, we made our own spring rolls.

            After lunch, we have 3 options to do around the island: walk, bicycling and/or riding the horse-drawn carriage. We opt to walk around.

            Around 2:30 in the afternoon, we went to another island for our last stop for our Mekong Delta Tour.

Our final stop is to sample the tropical fruits in Vietnam while listening to folk music. The fruits are pineapple, papaya, chico, dragon fruit and jackfruit. If I live outside of Southeast Asia, I’ll be thrilled to sample the fruits.

            At around 3:30, we went back to My Tho’s wharf. By 4 in the afternoon, we left for Ho Chi Minh City.

           The Mekong Delta tour is a good and enjoyable trip if you wan to experience life in Mekong River. For $12, the all-in-all experience is pleasant. Although the river is brown and murky and the vegetation is all too familiar, the rowing boat ride, the English-speaking guide and the food makes the tour worthwhile.

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  1. love your blog..going to Vietnam in March. Where did you find the tour to the Mekong Delta? Thank you

    1. All of the hotels/hostels in Ho Chi Minh offer tours to Mekong Delta, and it ranges from $12 and up, depending on the tour agency and on the type of tour.:)