Tuesday, October 14, 2008

mekong mojo

fresh fish on Flickr21 August - Ho Chi Minh to Mekong Delta

My expectations had been high, having read of the splendiferous floating markets and canoe tours through small canals and rivers. Our espoir had suffered somewhat after we went to the travel agency in Hanoi to finalize the details of our deposit-already-paid-online tour packages and discovered we had bought via a copy-cat travel agency(common in Vietnam) and not the actual reputable one we had believed it to be.

But what could we do? We took our itineraries and receipts and off we went. The guide was to pick us up in Ho Chi Minh City over a week later, as we descended further south after Hue and Hoi An. Worry returned upon arrival in HCMC, when we tried calling the Hanoi office to confirm the pick-up and got a bit of run-around for over a day, finally getting confirmation the evening before our supposed departure for the Mekong.

Well, yee of little faith were rewarded with a very sweet and knowledgeable guide early the next morning. The only real disappointment was hearing how much driving we were to be doing when I had anticipated us doing most of the trip by boat.

But by lunch that day we were already in love with the picturesque Mekong, having spent a couple of hours driving out of HCMC to the delta, then boating through small canals, touring a fruit farm, and watching some local singers before our feast of local food.

After lunch it was off to Can Tho, a very picturesque and old fashioned Delta city set on one of the branches of the Mekong, where we would spend the night.

22 August - Floating market and Chau Doc

Today was a busy and super-colourful day. The floating market was just as fascinating and photogenic as I had heard. Add in a stop at a local street market and a small boat tour through some very back-country canals for a peek at how the locals live, and it was already the cherry on the tour.

But that was not it for the day, we also went off to Sam Mountain to see the view and an associated famous temple and pagoda. We had a great local dinner at a small (non-touristy, yay!) resto and spent the night in Chau Doc.

We were up early the next morning to catch our boat for the 5-hour ride up the Mekong river all the way to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have never before passed through a river border, it was cool! So all-in-all, yup, this leg was up there in my favs.


hi C,
thanks for your (always) great writing and wonderful photos. You really should be working for a travel magazine or something!

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