An Exploration of the Mekong Delta
of the Mekong Delta
Vietnamese hospitality, combined with a responsible approach to travel, exemplified
WHY THIS TOUR?
The Mekong River is one of the world’s largest and longest rivers. It originates in South-Eastern China and runs through multiple countries before it drains into the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam. The Delta has held significance for a long period of time as one of the country’s most important areas and it is known as the ’rice basket’ of Vietnam.
The best way to discover the richness and hospitality of the Delta people is to stay at their home and appreciate their way of life. This homestay makes for a wonderful experience and it is the best way to understand the local culture and meet hospitable villagers despite comfort levels and facilities being lower than those found in a hotel. Families offering this service mostly reserve one part of their house for visitors and private rooms are not common.
Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be – Vinh Long [L,D]
In the morning we transfer by coach to Cai Be (2.5 hours), arriving at Cai Be Pier around 10.30 am where we hop on a boat to cruise to the Cai Be boat gathering point. Cai Be is the main embarkation and disembarkation point for visitors who are keen to sail through the Cai Be Floating Market and see ancient trading methods being practiced on the Mekong. This terminal is also used for local ferries between Cai Be Town and surrounding villages such as Vinh Long, Ben Tre and some of the lesser-known islands and rural regions. The pier can only accommodate smaller vessels and tourist boats. We enjoy fresh tropical fruit and drinking water on board as we row a traditional boat for an hour to less visited canals.
Lunch is at a local house on An Binh Island.
In the afternoon we take to two wheels and cycle between 10 to 12 km alongside canals and orchards. One of the many islands inside the Mekong Delta, this green dot in the Mekong resembles a well-preserved local life style where fishermen and local merchants with their conical hats dominate the waters surrounding this island. A short boat ride from the mainland, it is one of the main eco-tourism destinations in southern Vietnam, developed and maintained by the communities on the island.
Next we visit a rice paper factory and then continue by boat to Long Phuoc Village, situated nearby Vinh Long. A key transportation hub in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, Vinh Long is strategically sandwiches between main tourism hubs such as My Tho and Can Tho. For visitors eager to stay longer, Vinh Long has a few homestay projects where one can immerse into a more local lifestyle.
Here we are taken to an ancient house where our host family will greet us before we assist with dinner preparation.
Dinner and overnight are at the homestay.
Vinh Long – Can Tho [B,L,D]
Breakfast is included at the homestay in Vinh Long
After breakfast prepared by our hosts, we head out to explore this fascinating region. We walk past rice paddies and through picturesque villages and interact with the locals. We visit the local market with our host to select fresh ingredients to use for our lunch which is enjoyed back at the homestay. After we have eaten, we bid farewell to our host family and transfer to Can Tho (one hour).
In the afternoon we cycle to visit a blacksmith family who are renowned craftsmen and skilled at making products such as knives. This gives us an opportunity to learn more about the techniques they use to produce metal products. The day is rounded off with a visit to a traditional home that houses three generations. Here we learn how to make the delicious local banana cake before returning to our homestay for dinner.
Overnight is in Can Tho.
Can Tho – Floating Market – Ho Chi Minh City [B]
Breakfast is included at your accommodation in Can Tho
We start in the early morning at 5.30 am to join our boat to Phong Dien Floating Market. This local market is where tropical fruits picked from the garden are sold and we get the opportunity to interact with the sellers on their boats. This more intimate market, with more stand-up paddle boats than motorised ones, is located 20 km southwest from Can Tho with the potential for real interaction with local traders. A more traditional Vietnamese trading experience in the Mekong Delta, this floating market gives an insight into how boats were traditionally used for buying and selling goods.
Next we continue our cruise through beautiful small canals to reach Cai Rang Floating Market which is the biggest wholesale tropical fruit floating market in the region. Just 6 km from Can Tho, Cai Rang is a boat gathering place, offering an impression of what floating markets on the Mekong Delta used to be like. A primarily wholesale market, in the morning boats raise their wooden pole, showing what they have on sale that day.
Our food journey continues after the floating markets as we head to meet a local family who make noodles by hand. Along with three generations of the family, we will learn how to make noodles under their expert guidance.
We then enjoy a light breakfast at a local restaurant in a tranquil setting beside the canals.
No lunch included on this day
Afterwards, at around 12 noon, we depart for Ho Chi Minh City.