Cruising along the Mekong River 湄公河上暢遊
A tour down the Mekong River seems like a must if you’re visiting Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam. Although I wasn’t too keen on it, my only other option for a day trip was the Cu Chi Tunnels and I didn’t fancy crawling around the tunnels in the heat.
The travel agent told me there were three different tours costing USD12, USD20 and USD30. The actual tour was the same, but on the USD12 one you ride a 30 people coach and spend more time going around picking up people hence less time on the river. Another difference was the ‘simple’ lunch with the USD12 tour, and the ‘good’ lunch on the two other tours. And finally I was told, though I’m sure it was a language thing and she didn’t mean it that way, that there is a difference in the quality of people, and you get more backpackers on the USD12 tour! ? Anyway, here’s the USD20 gang.
旅行社職員向我介紹三個不同價格的一日遊。 12元美金坐30人旅遊車，會花多點時間在市內接載乘客，所以花在湄公河上的時間比較少。 還有20美金和30美金一日遊，後者會乘坐10人小型旅遊車。 另外她說12元美金團友會吃”簡單午餐”，另外兩團會吃”好的午餐”。 最後她說一個不同之處我覺得很有趣，應該是英文程度關係。她說12元團友質素不同，會有較多背包客，? 但我相信她絕沒貶義，只是英文詞匯有限。這是我20元美金的團友。
Before boarding the boat on Mekong River we stopped at the Vinh Trang Pagoda first. This is one of the main temples in the region and is built in an Asian and European architecture style. The big happy buddha was a very welcoming sight outside.
The other buddha inside the temple looked kinda groovy if you ask me. Not sure if you’ve seen those Buddha theme night clubs before, I half expected to hear music blasting out anytime.
After a half an hour pit stop, we boarded our air conditioned boat and did a quick tour around the Mekong Delta before landing on one of the islands.
Our first stop on the island was to visit the coconut candy factory which I wrote about the other day. Here is our guide explaining the manufacturing process. If you haven’t seen my video tour of the plant, you’ve got to check it out to see how fast the ladies hand wrap the sweets.
Then we go to see a small bee colony and got to taste the fresh honey from the frame. Oh! Here’s our guide again. Apparently he handles all the displays and introductions on the tour, including a massive python which a lot of the guys from the group held and took photos with. I ran away and hid in the restaurant when they did that. My husband told me afterwards there was a cage full of them.?
Finally it was a ride on the smaller boats along the murky Mekong River.
I was sitting at the back of the 4 person boat behind two other people from the group who decided to purchase a local hat and obstructed my forward looking view in full. To be honest, I think tourists looks a bit hideous in these local hats.
But that didn’t stop me from watching the boats coming back the other way. The happiness on the face of some of the rowers, while others were just relaxing waiting for their next customer. To us tourist, the Mekong River may be just another sightseeing location, but for the locals, its their home, their life.
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