Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 2: Cruising Along Mekong Delta

Breakfast in Vietnam is typically
a baguette with toppings of your choice
We were off to an early start on our second day. We signed up for the group tour for Mekong Delta through our hostel and the bus was going to pick us up at the hostel at 7:45AM.

There are pros and cons to joining guided group tours. One disadvantage is being forced to stop at places that do not merit your interest or attention. On the other hand, a guided tour allows you to relax in the company of fellow tourists. Further, your itinerary and transportation are taken care of. As it turned out, joining a guided group tour was a wise decision. The jump-off point for Mekong Delta River was in My Tho, which is more than an hour’s ride from Saigon. Then you have to rent a boat to cruise through the river. Did I mention language is a bit of a barrier? If you’re a first-time tourist in Saigon, better take the guided group tour and see if you want to wander off on your own the next time.

Boats of trade in Mekong Delta.
The Mekong Delta River flows through China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.  The river water is brown, probably from siltation, and plays an important role in the trade and commerce of the countries and the livelihood of its inhabitants.

There were a couple of stops during the tour: a bee farm where I tasted the most delicious honey tea, a coconut candy factory, and a fruit-tasting place where we were also serenaded by traditional Vietnamese music. We also stopped for lunch (included in the tour package).

The chocoholic on a paddle cruise!

The highlight of the tour – well, at least for me – was riding a small paddle boat and cruising through the narrow river channels. It was an exciting experience! When I stepped into the paddle boat, I was so sure the boat would topple and we’d all fall into the water. I held on to my dear Hunter. (I baptized my camera Hunter. Yes, I name my stuff.) But the paddlers have mastered the art of balance and even if there were occasional boat-to-boat bumps, the paddlers deftly used the paddle and we coasted on the calm, brown waters gracefully. I was a happy kid on a sunny afternoon. 

Next: Day3 & Day 7: Riding the Reunification Express Train to Hanoi and Back

No comments: