Backpacking around Ho Chin Minh soon? Or if you are old school,we should actually say “Backpacking Saigon soon”?
We got feed back that the one day Mekong river tour wasn’t that good. So we asked the tour counter of which tour to follow. They recommended the Ben Tre and My Tho One day Tour. So we decided to go for it.
We referred to the Lonely Planet Guide, and apparently The Sinh Tourist Tour Company seems to be reliable and quite popular among travelers. So we decided to check it out.
There are brochures that come in different languages that explains the different tours that The Sinh Tourist Agency offers.
There are pictures on the walls but they don’t tell you much. Just a pretty picture of one of the places that you will be visiting in the tour. Most likely the photographer chose the best place and angle to take the picture, to give you the impression that it is a beautiful place. So as a tourist, you can’t really depend on the words and single picture framed up on the walls to tell you what you will be expecting during the tour. It is usually a sales gimmick!!
We hope you don’t mind, that this blog is a little too long, because we took everything and anything that could help you visualize what to expect on the Ben Tre and My Tho One Day Tour.
Instead of the usual blog of just telling you what to expect. We decided to do the tour, with a scenario. And today’s scenario is “What if you forgot to bring your slippers for the holiday and all you have are hotel bedroom free slippers” . So we try
At first when the slippers came out from the plastic bag, it was all new and comfortable. It seemed to draw a lot of attention from other tourists tho.
On your receipt, you will be told what number is the tour bus, that you will be boarding. So take note and stay alert because plenty of times where they change the bus numbers, just to fill the buses up. So you might end up having to board another bus. So be attentive. Last thing you want is to be left out.
The bus ride took about 1 hour 30 minutes. Then you need to board a motorized wooden boat, that will take you up the Mekong River.
The boat is a simple wooden boat. The cute thing about it is that there are wooden seats just put on top of the boat. So make sure you don’t topple over.
Plenty of vegetation around the banks of the river. “The tour guide told us” that most of the plantations beside the river were palm trees and sea coconut plants.
Please ignore the feet. The feet were enjoying the cool village breeze.
We went under bridges and past locals riding bicycles going about their daily routine.
The banks of the river is lined with sea coconuts.
After the boat ride. You will need to get off and walk through the village to have lunch.
Lunch is served at one of the local village huts. There are people there to serve you. Take note that the food is paid with the tour fee. But you will need to pay for the drinks. (So don’t go too happy when you see that they serve beer)
One of the specialties served is the fish that they call “Elephant Ear Fish” that is found abundantly in the Mekong. Maybe the fish is flat and wide which reminds them of elephant ears 😀
Nicely decorated standing up, but a bit hard to eat. We ended up lying it down on its sides.
You will be served with fresh fish wrapped with a thin rice film, with some rice noodles, mint leave, pineapple and cucumber strips. Dip it in the sweet and sour sauce for a yummy experience.
Next on the menu is cat fish. Cat fish meat is very rich and has very high fat content. And it tastes very smooth when you put it into your mouth.
P/s: Again we would like to stress that the meal comes with the price of the tour. But you will need to pay for your drinks. They serve can drinks and also beer.
After lunch, you will have to walk past coconut plantations and local village huts to the main road.
Then you get on the carts which are waiting for you. We saw the same cart, carrying a bunch of squealing pigs, most probably headed to the market. Got us thinking if the same cart ferrying us, was the same before it came and fetch us. O.o scary!
The ride was very refreshing because you get to see the local countryside and also enjoy the fresh breeze.
Here, you will get the chance to experience, how to row your own boat along the Mekong River, while you wear a Vietnamese conical hat!
After competing to see who could row faster along the river. (This is a great place to take pictures of each other). It is hard to take pictures of your self because, a slight movement on the boat can cause it to rock really violently.
Next visit is the coconut candy factory! This is only one of the many produce from the coconuts they plant here.
This first picture shows a man, slowly stirring the coconut mixture to caramelize it.
The caramelized paste is then molded into long strips and then manually cut into small cubes. Very delicious chewy cubes! Not too sweet and fragrant. Just the way we like it.
Here they sell the wooden craft you can find in the markets in Saigon. What is interesting is the thin pancakes they sell. They have different flavors. There are free samples for you to try. You will need to BBQ or gently pan heat it to make it crispy. Goes well as a snack.
Offer offer he says. Buy 4 packets get 1 free. (Nice as souvenirs) However we did see some other coconut candy for sale in town that had better wrapping. The taste is the same.
The bottles on the left are coconut wine. It is similar to “Todi” or Coconut Liquor found in Malaysia. Warning: Coconut wine are very strong stuff. You can ask the guide for samples. Samples come in shot glasses.
Clockwise: Round brown fruit: Longan, Pineapple, Dragon fruit, banana and rambutan.
After sampling the fruits and the coconut candy factory visit. You guys will take the slow big boat back home.
Plenty of scenery along the river. The river was a bit brownish, and dirty. Its amazing that the Vietnamese use the water for everyday usage.
On the way back, the boat will make one last stop before heading home. A visit to the red brick factory. Here you will get to see how they make bricks in Vietnam.
Nothing goes to waste in Vietnam. Rice husks are being used as fuel to burn the fires in the kiln. Then the burnt husks are sold off as fertilizer for the crops.
After a short visit to the brick factory. Its time to head home.
The slippers SURVIVED!!!. Though half the thread has already come off. And the worse part of the trip was that it rained. We would be in deep trouble if the tour lasted another 2 hours. The mud kind of got the better of the slippers.
Overall: We fare the Ben Tre and My Tho tour trip, as relaxing with very little strenuous activities to do. If you love nature and would like to take a break from the “Chu Chi Tunnels” and horrific war torture and history attractions, then you might want to consider this tour. It was a one day relaxing tour!
If you are interested, you can always find any of the Sinh Tourist Tour Outlets at The Sinh Tourist .
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