The Mighty Mekong River and the Four Islands was the agenda on day 4, taking our first day tour since arriving in Ho Chi Minh City. At only $20AUD per person, it was certainly worth the trip to further explore this fascinating country.
A little different this travel diaries format as I go in-depth about the tour. Enjoy.
· The Guide: the guide almost made the trip. Solid English, good sense of humour and very informative about the Mekong River and the 4-islands. He spoke with a lot of passion about any topic, which is always a good thing since they just about repeat themselves day in, day out.
· Cruising the Mekong River: Cruising the Mighty Mekong which begins in the Himalayas and travels through Southeast Asia is a great experience. The River itself is dirty and is full of crocodiles (don’t fall in) and tour and commercial boats all over the place in the part of the Mekong I visited, I expected a little more isolation in this part of the country but that was certainly not the case. It won’t be the most scenic part of the river you’ll ever see but it’s difference is what makes it unique.
· Coconut Candy: Checking how the locals make their coconut candy without the luxuries of a factory was a real life learning experience of what their world is like. From shredding the coconut into powder, the mixing and the packaging, it is a detailed process with many workers mainly females involved. Watching the ladies work with speed as each candy was wrapped was quite an art.
· Unicorn Island: Unicorn Island is where most activities took place. From making and trying their honey tea, pictures with a python and a horse and carriage ride (which was a sad experience). Local villagers also took the group on a canoe ride through the shrubs of a canal, which was hard enjoy with the villagers spending more time begging for a tip. The scenery was very nice however.
Food of the Tour
· Lunch: It was a basic lunch that was served to the group, marinated pork with rice and vegetables. You could purchase extra food and drinks with your own cash. After lunch, we had a good hour to wander Tortoise Island, where resting crocodiles could be seen caged n large numbers, a few market places were open with local souvenirs on sale, and the best part was the hammocks, which got a good workout with a few on the group getting a bit of a shut eye.
· Fruit tour and a Vietnamese concert: A bit of fruit with some tea was the last on the list and surprisingly we were treated to a marvellous performance by the locals of Vietnamese music. With a few basic instruments, their soothing voice and traditional dress was a beautiful way to end the day.
· The bus ride: Forced at the back of the bus for the 2-hour journey made for a hair-raising experience, lots of bumps, lot of sore backs. The bus driver seemed in a real hurry overtaking over vehicles at will and avoiding head-on collisions on numerous occasions. Fair to say I feared for my life and hear it is quite a normal experience.
Extra pictures from the tour
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