How time really flies so fast! I can’t believe it is now a year since I was at the Vietnam side of the Mekong Delta! We booked a 3D/ 2N Mekong trip for US$33 each, inclusive of 2 nights stay in a hotel, all entrance and guide fees, 2 breakfast and 1 lunch. It was the 24th of February last year when we left Saigon for the 2-hour bus ride to Mytho. From there, we took a small boat through the narrow canals of the Mekong to see a coconut candy factory. Wow, the candies were delicious and all natural! We end up buying 110,000 dong worth of candies! Don’t be deceived by all those zeros, it’s just around US$6 worth of candies. But wait… we were able to get double rooms for that amount too.. that was expensive candy! The funny thing was, we left the bag of candies in the place where we had lunch boohoo! Good thing our tour guide was able to contact the tour guide of another group who will have lunch at the same place. In the end, we only enjoyed our expensive candies 2 days after when we picked it up at the TNK Travel office.
A strange attraction in the candy factory is a huge python where almost everyone was queuing for a photo. I don’t want to add stress on the poor snake so I didn’t queue. Another 20 minutes on the boat then we reach the place where we had lunch. The free lunch is just Vietnamese noodle soup so we decided to order something unusual on the menu, Fried Elephant Ear Fish. It’s not as bizarre as we thought. It was in fact very tasty. We shared the 120,000 dong cost with 3 others since it was a big fish.
After lunch, we took the boat again to a place where they let us try local fruits. Nothing that I haven’t tried before but I saw the tourists from Estonia and Iceland enjoying the fruits a lot. 3 Vietnamese girls were singing traditional songs as we have our fruit dessert.
Next on the agenda was a 30 minute rowboat through the narrow Mekong channel with natural palm canopy. It was a peaceful way to travel. No motors, just the sound of the oars touching the brown Mekong waters. I wished they made this boat trip longer. It was truly an experience of how the rural Vietnamese traveled and lived.
Now off to the bigger boat to bring us to the bus for the 2 hour trip to Can Tho where we spent the night. Our hotel, Huy Hoang Hotel, was comfortable enough. Clean, double room with TV and fan. The food around Can Tho did not disappoint us. I highly recommend Mekong Restaurant. Affordable yet the portions are bigger than usual. Visiting a new place is not complete without trying street food! A must-try is the fried sticky rice with chicken floss. So tasty! And very cheap! Just 5,000 dong! (Roughly US$.30). It’s also quite filling so if you’re on a very tight budget, it is the perfect dinner.
I like the rural and slow-paced vibe the towns around the Mekong exudes. I am glad I was still able to experience the old Vietnam before capitalism catches up.