Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City
Went by bus to My Tho where you board a sampan which takes you to the island of Ben Tre. Here we went for a stroll through orchards. Our guide talked on bee keeping, then we were able to have our photo taken with the bees. There was also a python which we could have our photo taken with (included in tour price) For the adventerous, you could try some snake wine! We had morning tea of green tea, tried the honey and some sweets they made, they were yummy. Another stroll, a stop to hear traditional folk music being played and to try the different types of tropical fruit grown on the island. On a wooden boat for a short cruise through the palms to another island. Here we saw the production of coconut, from the start to the finished product. We got to sample some coconut lolly. We had lunch at a resort here (included in price) then had free time, bikes were available to ride (free) or a hammock to relax in. On another boat, then back to the port. Lots of different boats and ferries on the Mekong River. This tour cost $9us with Rainbow adventure tours. It was well run.
Well it's not your apocalypse now type jungle, but it's a great day out. I did a bike tour down there, picked up the bikes then jumped on a boat to cycle round the islands. Stopped for bite of Elephant ear fish and prawns, with a couple of peach brandies. The cycling isn't strenuous as it's all flat.
Reccomed Buffalo tours for this one, bit more expensive than the rest but the guide was first rate and we were well looked after.
Tip update: This place is listed under Patricia Schultz's "1000 places to see before you die"
If you're stressed out by all the buzz of city life, step into a lush, green, dreamland that's just south of HCMC.
Yes, I'm talking about the mekong delta and that is a vast marshland and forested area where most of VN's rice is grown.
This day trip cost only about USD12 or less. Do go for the 3 or 4 day trip if you can. I went for a full day trip from 8am to 7pm but only covered one or two provinces.
For more pictures, you can refer to my travelogue
This is a long day tour.
You do not see many rice paddies, as housing stretches a long way out.
On arrival at Cai Be, a boat takes you to see the floating markets, this is why I did this tour. You arrive there so late, that it is all over, you don't see anything happening, what a disappointment!
If you want to see the markets in full swing, then I suggest an overnight stay, so you can be there early morning
We stepped ashore, and saw them making rice paper and coconut lollies, and the usual shop selling souvenirs.
Back on the boat, and across the Mekong river and up canals for our lunch on an island.
After lunch, at 2pm, we headed of again, this time being rowed in a local boat. It was very hot. A change of boats to a motorized one, across the river to our bus and back to Ho Chi Minh with a comfort stop at a nice garden.
The cost of this tour was $12, and it was a long day.
It was with Rainbow Adventure again, an excellent tour guide, and a bus with nice clean windows.
Well we'd heard so much about it from all your wonderful tips here on vt, that we just simply had to visit. Straight from the cruise, we hired a taxi for the day (only $40US), jumped in and headed off for the hilight of our cruise.....a trip to the Mekong Delta!!
A lot of people did the bus day trip to the Mekong and paid heaps more, but we got a real bargain and got to see 3 islands with 3 modes of transport and didn't have to travel so far to experience the same thing.
Only about an hour and half down the road our taxi arrived at Tien Gaing for a boat ride to our first island in the Ben Tre Province.
To get an idea of what you be expecting, you may wish to have a look at this 2 websites:
http://www.deltaadventuretour.com/ and http://www.sinhcafevn.com/AboutUs.asp
Very organised tour agencies...but it also means a lot of customers.
I went on a day-tour of the Mekong Delta with the Sinh Cafe whose offices are in the Pham Ngu Lao backpackers area of Ho Chi Minh City and it cost me 238,000 VND. We set off out of the city, south along a new toll road past rice paddy fields and got to a town called Cai Be at about 11am. We then transferred to a boat and went past what was meant to be a floating market but was just a few houseboats selling semolina root and nothing else. We then called in to a place where they make rice & coconut crisps and snacks and rice paper. We sampled what was on offer and I bought some rice crispy snack things which were very nice. We then crossed the huge and wide Mekong River, which looked more like a lake, to an island where we transferred onto narrow longboats and wore the Vietnamese conical hats. We had lunch on the island before heading to Vinh Long by boat and then back to Saigon by bus. I have to say that it wasn't the best of day trips I've ever done but it was a fairly cheap and hassle free way of seeing the Mekong Delta.
Another good day out is go on a Mekong Delta trip. I booked mine through Delta Adventure again who I found to be reliable and whose rates were as competitive as most.
After a relaxing drive out of the city the scenery became very rural and peaceful and it was nice to be away from the din of Saigon
At the central embarkation point travellers are directed to different boats depending on which tour you had chosen. We set off on our boat and made several stops to see ( and taste ) the delicious coconut candy, taste honey tea and see rice paper being made. The delta really is the rice bowl of Vietnam and you can see all types of fruit growing in abundance at the rivers edge. Our trip included a light lunch and we were treated to being serenaded with local countryside songs while we relaxed and ate.
One of the options on the one day trip was to return to Saigon by boat which although a little long at four hours was a really nice and relaxing way to return to the city as the sun set and to see more of life on the river
We took a 1 day tour to the Mekong Delta and enjoyed it quite a bit. We went on a small boat ride and then taken out on the River to a couple of the island's. We saw everyday life on the river and had a hot and crystal clear day. For the amount we paid for the tour .. about $9 US dollars it was worth it !!!!! a small lunch was included.
The name of the company we used was TNK Travel .... www.tnkvietnam.com
Be aware though the prices are for those that stays at the hotel which owns the travel company. (Read my hotel travel tip)
The address is as following: 216-220 De Tham St., District 1 _ HCMC
phone number (84-8) 39204766 , or 39204767, or 39205847
Hope this helped !!!!!
We took the USD10/pax which included lunch. The trip was pretty enjoyable. Nothing much to see. We went to the coconut candy making "location", the candy was great....we bought a couple back. Tried the snake wine...which taste like brandy! But it was "powerful"...i.e. liquour content.
To book, go to Delta Adventure Tours at De Tham. Or go to De Tham and book the tours. Don't book from the hotels.
Prices for the Mekong Delta tour starts from USD7 onwards (depending how intensive you want).
June 2010: We had only 2 full days in Ho Chi Minh, so my two major destinations were the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta. So, I booked both tours (on separate days) through Expedia.com on-line. There are "private tours" available for twice the price, but I just settled for the group tour which was just about $70 if I remember right...(Urban Adventures)
But it was a great 8-10 hour tour and we were just picked up from our hotel by a van - and there were only 6 tourists in our group. So, it was a pretty small-size manageable group - and having great people from England and Australia with us was a plus!
My image of the Mekong Delta is that of a water city with boats, houses and water markets, and it was as I imagined it and more. It is considered the “rice bowl” of Vietnam due to the many rice paddies, but surprisingly, I was not brought to those paddies. Instead, we went to explore islands in the huge river itself, I remember 4 of them ( Tortoise, Phoenix, Dragon and Unicorn) and then going to Ben Tre to eat fresh Elephant Ear fish after going through the river canals in tiny fishing boats. We also went to see how coconut candy was made, Vietnamese coffee and all the travelling being done through boats and teenie motorized carts, hahaha (through little roads in between dense coconut/banana forests...)
Most tourists will be brought to the gateway city for the Mekong Delta – MY THO. My Tho was founded a long time ago (1680’s) first by Chinese refugees…but now the place is teeming with tourism and the center sells a lot of Mekong Delta souvenirs.
One day is all we had to explore the Mekong Delta and admittedly, this is not enough. We did not see the Khmer pagodas in Tra Vinh or the beaches at Phu Quoc Island. But overall, it is worth to go to Mekong Delta for a day to understand what life at the Delta is all about.
Next the locals treated us to a fruit buffet and sang to us :o) I gave the two little girls $1US each and the bigger one $2US, which Kelli told me later she saw giving to the parents. .... As we were walking along some children were singing "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands...." in Vietnamese..... so we joined in :o)
Get your Visa in advance. make sure you have your travel dates correct on the application!
I went on a Mekong Delta day trip with Sinh Cafe. No need to book ahead, but go to their office the first day you get there and browse their trips - also you can check out the number of other tour offices along that street, they all offer similar trips. Get there early on the morning you leave on one of the trips. the sidewalks literaly fill up with people jumping on buses, make sure you get the right bus!!
This is a worthwile trip to take. Its about 6 hours all up and very scenic.
You start with a long car journey to the delta and en route you see local life Vietnamese style.
At the delta you transfer to a boat and go past a fish farm, and then call into a tourist island to see coconut toffee being made (and sold), souvineer stalls, morning tea where you sample rice wine, local fruits etc, and get a sample hearing of local music played on traditional instruments and song. - very interesting for me as a part time musician.
Back to the boat and off to another island for lunch where they make springs rolls in front of you. Lunch was great.
Then back to the boat via a trip in the back waters on a sam pan (if they locally call it that?) that is scenic and interesting as you see historic type traditional dutch dwellings and current dwellings of the locals.
There are 1 day, 2-day or 3-day trips to Mekong Delta organized by tour operators in Saigon. If you have limited time, a one-day trip will give you some idea but it will never be enough to explore this region. One day tours also have different options such as some visit Cai Be and Vinh Long while some other visit My Tho and Ben Tre. The local people of Mekong Delta earn their living from fish, fruits, rice, honey and tourism. The tours made this region very commercialized and every stop you make during the tour is to sell something to you. However, going through the small canals shaded with green plantation on rowing boats and riding bicycle around a local village gives you enough chance to get away from this commercialized feeling. Daily tour prices range between 10-14 USD while longer tours costs rise due to your accomodation options. It is a good get away from busy city life where you relax in nature.