When time is not on your side to take a lengthy trip down to the Mekong Delta and the famous floating Markets. Four Island Mekong Tour is the next best option, it is a great day out and within close vicinity to Ho Chi Minh City.
In a single day, you can cruise the mighty Mekong River, marvel at the four Islands (although you don’t stop at them all) and divulge in some Vietnamese Food. It’s a hectic trip done in around 10 hours and one that must be considered for all travellers who venture into Southern Vietnam.
Booking a tour
Booking a tour to the Four Islands Mekong can be found in most travel agencies on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, especially the row of agencies near the Ben Thanh Market. For an affordable price you can have a fulfilled tour with lunch included.
The guide almost makes the trip, that is not an understatement. Great English, good sense of humour and very informative about the Mekong River and the 4-islands. Of course, which guide you get depends on which group you end up with on any given day. But I hear most go that extra effort to entertain their guest.
The Tour Rest Stop
After an hour on the manic bus drive, you stop for a rest at the Tour Rest Stop, specifically created for tour goers. A gorgeous area, with tropical style café’s and a lush garden with a fantastic water feature. You will want to get your camera out at this stop as there are pictures to be taken.
Ving Trang Pagoda Buddhist Temple
Another day, another large Budai. The Ving Trang Pagoda is one of many great Buddhist Temples that can be seen in Vietnam, or Southeast Asia for that matter. The Ving Trang Pagoda is no exception, with the State of Budai the main attraction amongst other popular statures.
Ving Trang Buddhist temple is on the Southern side of Ho Chi Minh City and is seen of the tour before reaching the boats. Take some pictures and marvel and the fine structures that Vietnam do so well, you can also do a little shopping at the nearby markets.
Cruising the Mekong River
Cruising the Mighty Mekong River, that begins in the Himalayas and makes its way through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, before finishing in Vietnam, is an experience just to be in its vicinity of the famous river in Southeast Asia.
The crocodile filled section of the river around the Four Islands Mekong may not have the most gorgeous scenery, the mucky waters and the commercial boats can be a little off putting. Look past it and admire the Mekong for what it is. Just don’t jump in.
Check out the locals make their coconut candy without the luxuries of a factory is quite fascinating. From shredding the coconut into powder, to the mixing and the packaging. It is a detailed process with mainly female workers involved and they work quick and get the job done.
On the coconut candy itself, it’s okay, but they are cheap and why not reward those hard-working girls by purchasing a pack or six. They could make great gifts for any relative back home who love their candy.
Unicorn Island is where most of the tour activities take place. From making and trying their honey tea, to pictures with a python and the unfortunate horse and carriage ride (you don’t have to ride), the activities begin to add up in quick time.
A highlight of the day is local villagers taking the group on a canoe ride through the canals, which is surrounded by many palm trees and local housing, creating a welcome shade from the heat.
The canoe ride, while more than enjoyable, can get a little annoying when the villagers start spending more time begging for a tip, than letting their guest enjoy the experience.
Food of the Tour
A basic lunch is served to the group on Tortoise Island. On this day, the group had marinated pork with rice and vegetables. You can purchase extra food and drinks at your own expense.
After lunch, you get a good hour to wander Tortoise Island, where resting crocodiles can be seen caged in large numbers, a few market places that sell local souvenirs and the best part is the hammocks, which gets a good workout with a few of the group getting a bit of a shut eye after a feed.
Fruit tour and a Vietnamese concert
A bit of fruit with some tea was the last on the list in the Four Islands Mekong tour. You are treated to a marvellous performance of Vietnamese music by the locals, the show runs for about fifteen minutes and has a variety of artist performing.
The enjoyable performance, contains a few basic instruments, their amazing soothing voices and beautiful women dressed in their traditional dress. It is a fantastic cultural experience to end a day, before heading back home.
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