Wednesday, 3 February 2010

A day trip to Mekong Delta

Muddy paddy fields, rows of trees along rivers and canals, fruit sellers in sampans, houses and country life on villages by the river, fishermen trying their luck on the river, rows of houses on rafts or stilts with old men resting on hammock and children playing. If, like me, you had these images when you think of Mekong Delta in Vietnam, then, like me, you would be wrong. Or maybe, it was just the trip I took.

Being in Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon for the second time left us with fewer choices of places to visit. So, we thought, let's do what tourists do - visit Mekong Delta. We took a cab the day before to the Sinh Tourist (or previously known as the Sinh Cafe) and bought ourselves the one-day My Tho and Ben Tre Mekong Delta tour. The tour started well enough. We took a motorise boat with the other day trippers along the river.


 

  

 

 

Then, the whirlwind of all things tourists started with the making of the Vietnamese rice paper and...


the making of handicrafts from all parts of the coconut trees before stopping for a simple lunch.


Then, it was back to the boat along a canal filled with mangrove trees, including a Vietnamese girl in traditional clothes! Well, actually they were shooting some professional photos, but we couldn't help snapping photos of her!

 


We then proceeded to a honey bee keeping farm and took a horse cart along the roads. And the poor horses! They were kept blind so that they can obediently follow the route... And the horses were relatively small, and each of them had to pull a cart with 7 adults!


Some tropical fruits were offered with Vietnamese traditional music and singers. The tour continued with a row boat ride along small creeks and we saw the manufacturing of coconut candy, with more chances to buy souvenirs. The tour ended with a motorised boat ride back to our bus.



All in all, the day trip delivered what it stated - but nothing more. We saw some nice scenery along the Mekong Delta. However, it was too much of a planned tourist trip with all the essentials "tourist" experience but none of the actual local experiences. And the cruelty to the horses was too much to bear! I preferred the short trip to Tonle Sap we had in Siem Reap, Cambodia. At least we could see where and how the locals lived. Knowing what I know, I would probably try to arrange transportation and planned my own journey along the Mekong Delta. Maybe, that would be better.

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