The Four Islands Mekong Day Tour – Vietnam

The Four Islands Mekong Day Tour – Vietnam

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.

Four Islands Mekong, Vietnam.

Get ready for an action packed Four Islands Mekong Tour.

 

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.

Four Islands Mekong

Exploring the Four Islands Mekong with the family.

 

The Guide

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 guide of Four Islands Mekong

The guide is a hoot.

 

 

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.

Tour Rest Stop, Vietnam

The Tour Rest Stop.

 

Tour Rest Stop, Vietnam.

The Cafe at Tour Rest Stop.

 

 

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.

Ving Trang Pagoda

State of Budai at Ving Trang Pagoda, Vietnam.

 

Ving Trang Pagoda

Ving Trang Pagoda

 

 

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.

Mekong River, Vietnam

Cruising the Mekong River.

 

Mekong River, Vietnam

Not the cleanest part of the river as you can see by the banks.

 

 

Coconut Candy

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.

Making candy, Vietnam.

Busy at work making candy on Unicorn Island.

 

Unicorn Island

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.

Unicor Island, Vietnam

Canoe the canals on Unicorn Island, Vietnam.

 

The snake handler

The snake handler.

 

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.

Toroise Island on the Mekong

Tortoise Island on the Mekong River.

Four Islands Mekong

Resting on the hammocks at Four Islands Mekong.

 

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.

Need accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City? Check out TripAdvisor.

 

 

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A List of Exciting Things to do in Da Lat Vietnam

A List of Exciting Things to do in Da Lat Vietnam

The City of Da Lat is waiting to be explored with peaceful, quirky and fascinating things to see and do. This stunning region in the Central Highlands of Sothern Vietnam is perfect for every traveller. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, or a family travelling with young kids. You will find the perfect activity for the occasion.

In this article, I go over a list of things to do in Da Lat. And quite honestly, I am only the scratching the surface. Because there is all this and much more to be done in this popular tourist city.

 

  1. Elephant Waterfall – The Elephant Waterfall got its name from a rock resembling an elephant. This beautiful waterfall will make you melt as you look at the flowing water from all different angles.
Dalat, Vietnam

Elephant Waterfalls

 

  1. Prenn Waterfall – The attraction at Prenn Waterfall is much more than the falls itself. With plenty of kid friendly activities on offer, it makes for a family friendly outing with the sounds of the crashing water heard in the background.
Dalat, Vietnam

Prenn Waterfall

 

  1. Other Waterfalls – The waterfalls in the area are spread-out and it can be hard to get to them all. But they are all beautiful. Popular falls to note of are the Pongour and Dantanla Waterfalls. You can find a list of other falls by clicking on the link.

 

  1. Weasel Coffee Plantation – The story of how the Weasel coffee beans is made is a fascinating story. The Weasel eats the coffee bean, it goes through their system undigested, with the acid from the stomach giving it its distinct flavour. So yes, the coffee beans come from the droppings of a weasel.  It may sound disgusting but for coffee lovers, it’s a must.

Coffee time!!! Weasel Style.

 

  1. Cricket farm – Unless you are visiting this place as part of a tour, there is not much to see here unless you love seeing cricket’s bounce around in a dark room or you wish to snack on one. Yuck.

 

  1. Linh Phuoc Pagoda – Linh Phuoc Pagoda is a Buddhist temple made from broken glass and smashed up pottery. It is brilliantly designed and a treat to gaze upon. Go inside one the main temple halls, have prayer and spend a minute wondering if monks inside praying are real or not.
Linh Phuoc Pagoda

Linh Phuoc Pagoda

 

  1. The crazy house – The architecture around the Crazy House is fascinating. Designed by one lady who took 14-years to pen what can only be called a masterpiece. The end result is nothing short of sensational. you will be caught amazed at this crazy and quirky hotel. Climbing up the steps and reaching great heights as you go through skinny obstacles and dodge other tourists. Each structure is different and wonderful.
Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat Crazy House

 

  1. Xuan Huong Lake: A 5km trek around a peaceful lake with beautiful gardens that surround the Xuan Huong Lake. Enjoy a ride on the pedal boats, or take a horse carriage around the outskirts. The best part is taking steady and enjoying the sounds and sight of this gorgeous city.
Xuan Huong Lake

Xuan Huong Lake

 

  1. Other Lakes – There are many other lakes in Da Lat that need to be discovered, some you will drive pass while on a day tour. Popular lakes to take not of is The Valley of Love and the Tuyen Lam Lake. You can find a list of other lakes by clicking on the link.

 

  1. Bich Cau Garden: A lovely little garden island on the eastern end of Xuan Huong Lake. Gaze upon the delightful gardens and stay for a coffee and a bite to eat at the cafe.

 

  1. Lien Hoa Bakery: This little bakery is a beauty. A large selection of bread, savouries, pastries, sweets and magnificent designed cakes. It’s like a bakery I had never seen before and is very popular amongst locals and the tourist.
Dalat, Vietnam

Lien Hoa Bakery

 

  1. Da Lat flower park: Da Lat Flower Park is full of amazing colour, blooming flowers, decorative bonsais and picturesque views from high above. Its nature at its best as you take a perfect walk amongst the backdrop of the an amazing garden.
Dalat Flower Park

Dalat Flower Park

 

  1. Da Lat Cathedral – You’ll be hard pressed in Vietnam to find a Cathedral that isn’t beautiful, or anywhere in the world for that matter. The Cathedral in Da Lat is no exception and only a stone throw from the City Centre.

 

  1. Cable Cars – Get the best views in the Highlands Da Lat by reaching great heights in the Cable cars. Bring your camera and get ready to shoot some amazing scenic views.

 

  1. Big C Supermarket – An underground boutique shopping mall. A nice place to visit for a little retail therapy, for when you have had enough of the outdoors.

 

  1. Eat at the food stalls – Wandering around the city Centre, you will run into a food stall or a hundred. Stop by for an extremely cheap meal and dine on a stool no higher than your shins as the traffic goes on by.

Grab a snack on the streets..

 

  1. Eat at the restaurants – There are many restaurants in the city to pick and choose from. Don’t hesitate, just dine and enjoy a delicious Vietnamese meal with ice cold beer.

 

  1. Da Lat Night Market: The Night markets are not too different to those in Saigon. Crowded and a lot of cheap stuff any tourist can live without. The markets come with all the basics, fruit and veg section, butchers, food court and clothing. the atmosphere is buzzing and it is a great way to enjoy the nightlife.
Dalat, Vietnam

The Night Markets

 

  1. Take a walk through the City Centre – As with any destination you visit, strolling through the city in a slow and leisurely pace is a must. You never know what hidden secrets you will discover.

 

  1. Book a day tour – There is so much to do and see in and around Da Lat. A day tour (and there are plenty to choose from) will have you covered as you get and out explore the fascinating region.

 

  1. Da Lat star – Wander through the maze of sculptures and villages made of clay. The unique design put into this fascinating attraction will leave a lasting effect as you walk the grounds and admire the artwork.
Dalat, Vietnam

Da Lat Star

Bitexco Financial Tower – The Best view in Saigon

Bitexco Financial Tower – The Best view in Saigon

The Bitexco Financial Tower. it stands out large amongst other high rises in the Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh City. From the ground, it bares down at you like a giant standing out from the pack. The unique sky rise is truly quite the spectacle on the gazing eye.

It is the viewing area of the Skydeck of the 49th floor when you get hit for a home run. Getting off the elevator, you step out and stare in the distance at a city that is full energy and in masses of traffic. From above, you can’t help feel in a bit piece amongst the chaos.

Bitexco Financial Tower

Its unique design stands out above.



Where is itBitexco is in a popular tourist spot of district one with plenty of other attractions like Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Centre and Nguyen Hue Walking Street close by.

Once you’re in the general vicinity of the building, look up and you will see the uniquely designed tower. Finding the building won’t be problem from this point as you head ticker office and up the express elevator to the Sky deck.

The cost

The Bitexco Financial Tower is probably the one thing in Vietnam that comes with bit of a cost (is still relatively cheap). The cost up to the Sky deck is 200000vnd. Which is about $9USD or about $12AUD. So yeah, not much really and worth it.

Bitexco Financial Tower

Great views from the Bitexco Financial Tower

A little history

The Bitexco Financial Tower is a new building in the schemes of the things. The ground breaking began in 2005, construction started in 2007 and it was officially opened October 31 of 2010. They don’t mess around in Vietnam.

Go on a clear day

It goes without saying. If you plan on going to any building or other venue with a view, go on a clear day. Don’t waste your money on an overcast day. Ho Chi Minh City is quite picturesque with all the rivers and canals running through the city. It is also exciting to see the cranes and new buildings in progress, it gives you a sense that is a city that’s fast changing and in a hurry.

 

Bitexco Financial Tower

Best views are seen on a clear day. Naturally.

The VerdictCome for the stunning views and stay for a little bit of a shop, eat or movie in the mall on the lower floors. The Bitexco Financial Tower is an icon of the city and more than requires a visit to see the rapidly changing growth of Ho Chi Minh City.

You want to read more about Ho Chi Minh City, click on the link.




Making the most of Ho Chi Minh City

Making the most of Ho Chi Minh City

The average holiday tends to be a week or two. Therefore, making the most of your short-lived holiday is paramount. It’s a situation I found myself in on my trip to Vietnam. I had my family, it was school holidays and time in the crazy city of Ho Chi Minh was limited.

Isn’t that what holidays are all about anyway. Making the most of your time, making the most of your life, because it is all precious and so is travel. And f you blink, you will miss it.

Pearl Plaza

Book a Day tour or two

Day tours in Ho Chi Minh City are a blast. Great guides, great locations and a great English speaking guide’s that entertains you the whole trip. Whether it to a beautiful coastal area, the Mighty Mekong Delta or getting claustrophobic in the Cu-Chi Tunnels, A day is well spent exploring the Southern part of Vietnam.

Making the most of a day trip

Book a day trip on the Mekong River in Vietnam

Discover a chaotic city

Ditch the motorbikes and forget the car. The best way to discover Saigon, is by your own two feet. Discover hidden alley ways, hidden restaurant, hidden stalls and truly discover what this fascinating city is all about. Some of the best food I ate in Vietnam were the restaurants that found me and not the other way around.

thousand words

You will be surprised at what you find when you discover a city by foot.

Eat Soup

Soup, Soup, everywhere. Vietnamese noodle soup stalls will be found everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City. On every street corner, in driveways, markets, restaurants ad even on the middle of the footpath where you walk. Soup in Vietnam is something you can’t escape. Don’t fight it, just eat.

 making the most of soup eating in Vietnam.

Lots of soup in Vietnam.

Visit Historical Sites

The French once had a large presence in the South and it is obvious with its stunning French architecture designed buildings. The Notre Dame Cathedral and The Old Pot Office are a stone throw from each other and it is a tourist bonanza as the camera happy travellers take pictures of such beauty. The Opera House in the central part of the District 1 is another building that is worth your attention.

Notre Dame

Making the most of Saigon.

Ho Chi Minh City has some amazing historical buildings.

 

Dodge Traffic

Dodging motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City is not an option, it’s compulsory. Crossing roads, walking on footpaths, most times you are risking life or limb in doing so. But you couldn’t truly say you were in Saigon if you didn’t experience a close call with a motorcyclist.

Uber

Just a normal day in a chaotic city.

Uber your way around Ho Chi Minh City

Uber your way around Ho Chi Minh City

I have a few pet hates in life. Getting ripped off and being taken advantage of. Life’s little cruel acts that happen to us all from time to time. I know, I know, it’s only little things. But, we all have those little things that piss us off.

As a traveller, I am always mindful of that local who thinks they can drive the price up on clumsy tourists. For example, getting the price driven up on you while shopping at a local market, or a taxi driver ripping you off by a deliberately taking a longer route home.

You all know what I am talking about. Been there, done that.

Enter Uber. You know, that new craze taking the world by storm. Where you order a driver through the Uber app on your phone, the fee is pre-determined and pre-paid by your registered credit card. It truly was my saviour on a recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and it became a useful friend.

Uber

Let the Uber driver get you through Ho Chi Minh City.

The Ease of it all

You know the fee before you get in the car. No ifs, no buts, no arguments. You don’t get ripped off by the driver and vice-versa, you can’t cheat the driver. It’s a win-win.

Save your coins

No need to get your foreign cash out, save it for the shopping or a good meal. Your credit card is registered through the app and the rest takes care of itself.

Cheaper than a taxi

I used a taxi early in my Vietnam trip, what a fool. Therefore, I know on average I saved a good 4-5 dollars per trip, using Uber. Maybe it doesn’t seem such a big deal for a single trip, but times it by ten and all the sudden you’re looking at a big saving. That equals a heck of a lot of meals in a South-eastern Asian country.

The Uber drives are quite cool

The driver’s got me from point A to point B in a safe manner. In Vietnam, the locals English is not so good, so the drive is rather quiet but you get to your destination. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I used Uber on a couple of occasions. The English in Malaysia is quite good and it as great to have a chat with a local driver and learn about their country. Even share a laugh or two.

I had to get out of my comfort zone in a foreign country to get hooked on to Uber, and while I know their services have been around a while. I am just glad I got hooked Vietnam and with the amount of times I used their services, I saved a heap of cash.

Read more about my Adventures in Asia, right here.

Uber

Uber your way around Ho Chi Minh City

 

Top 5 places to visit in Dalat, Vietnam

Top 5 places to visit in Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat is a beautiful city in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Surrounded with pristine lakes, stunning gardens, A number of waterfalls and a bubbling town centre. Dalat is a popular tourist choice for holiday goers, with a number of activities to do and attractions to visit.

It may not have the razzle and dazzle of the larger cities in Vietnam. And that is probably a good thing too. This vibrant city will leave you with fond memories that will sit with you long after your holidays is done and dusted.

During my stay in Dalat, I visited some truly wonderful attractions. Naturally, there is so much more to do and see than what is on this list. But for this article, I’m going to put 5 places you must visit in Dalat.

Top 5 Places to Visit in Dalat.

  1. Dalat star: The artist in you will love this truly magnificent place. The best way to describe Dalat Star is a pit made of clay, carved out and designed to look like a village. Take time to discover a truly unique attraction that has been well crafted to be a tourist hotspot.
    Dalat

    Dalat Star

  2. The crazy house: The architecture around the Crazy House is simply brilliant. Designed by one lady, The Crazy House will leave your creative mind in awe as you stroll around this creepy attraction. Not only is it a crazy place to spend an hour to view different structures, it is also a hotel with a few rooms available for those wanting to holiday with a bit of difference.
    Dalat

    View from the top of the Crazy House.

 

  1. Xuan Huong Lake: This picturesque lake is a popular spot to visit for a stroll or a little relaxation. A wonderful 5km walk around the lakes edge with beautiful gardens and cafes to enjoy a coffee with a view. You can also take a ride on the pedal boats on the calm waters at a low cost, or take a horse and carriage and take in the Dalat air.

    Xuan Huong Lake.

  2. Dalat Night Market: The night markets open at 5pm and it is not too different to those markets in other parts of Vietnam. The Markets has all the basics, fruit and veg, butchers, food court, clothing and other merchandise to name a few. The atmosphere is electric in the evening and it is a great way to enjoy the nightlife.
    Dalat

    The busy Night Markets.

     

  3. Dalat flower Park: A beautiful stroll amongst a pristine lake and colourful gardens. This special Flower Park is beautifully landscaped and blooming in fresh flowers, that it feels like spring all year round. It is the perfect spot for two lovers to visit and rekindled the magic, as you enjoy the scenic views inside the Dalat Flower Park.

 

The colour of Dalat Flower Park.