31.03.2011 - 31.03.2011 33 °C
It is only fitting that while in South East Asia you visit the Mekong, and no place better than from Vietnam.
The delta region covers around 39,000 square kilometres of Vietnam and Cambodia and for only $30 each we have organised a 3 day, 2 night trip inclusive of accommodation, breakfast, and lunch. A special thanks to Kim from Kim’s Place in Ho Chi Minh for organising this trip for us at such a good price – especially after hearing what some of the other people on our tour paid.
^^ First Day of the Trip
The tour began with a bus and boat ride from Ho Chi Minh to Ben Tre where we were treated with a pony-carriage ride with the locals as well as a delicious visit to the coconut candy “factory”. I call it a “factory” but in reality it is just several women sitting around a thatched hut, husking coconuts, cooking them, and hand moulding/packing the candy.
After buying some delightfully delicious coconut candy and sampling some suspect snake wine we were on our way to Unicorn Island!
^^ Looking at the Mekong from Ben Tre jetty
^^ Ready for the boat trip
^^ Excited for Ben Tre
^^ Buffalo just hanging out
^^ Coconut Candy
^^ Delicious Snake Wine
We entered Unicorn Island via local canoes - driven with extreme accuracy through the winding canals deep into the Island’s centre. No one spoke English and we were shuffled into a big bamboo pagoda and sat down at a few large tables. All of a sudden large fruit platters starting arriving and a traditional Vietnamese band played while we feasted.
^^ Loving it
^^ Winding through the tight canals
The island makes its money from honey and fruit and everyone seemed surprisingly calm while they were passing around a bee infested honey tray straight from the hive – no smoke or protective clothing was required.
^^ Some random guy just arrived with a snake, so we held it
After a quick boat ride back to the mainland and a bus ride further into the delta we found ourselves in Can Tho – where we would spend the night.
^^ Walking through Can Tho street markets
^^ Street vendors have everything
After such a long day we were ready to feast, and in true Vietnamese style we were not going to be disappointed. We sat ourselves down in a restaurant opposite a huge golden statue of Ho Chi Minh and were treated with a banquet! We had spring rolls, yellow noodle soup, Vietnamese pancakes, steamed wontons, garlic beans, and my favourite – chopped snake . After gorging ourselves we sat outside and drank 40 cent beers – 750ml. We got slightly worried when a woman walked past the front of the restaurant and started projectile vomiting in the gutter, but I’m proud to report that we were 100% healthy the next day . If you are ever in the area I must recommend that restaurant, it is called Quam Com Mekong – 38 Hai Ba Trung.
^^ Can Tho feast!
^^ The snake was the highlight
All over Vietnam there are people who work street stalls and little vendors that sell everything you can imagine. While we were sitting outside the restaurant having beers, all of the street sellers that line the street started screaming and running off with their little ‘stores on wheels’ down the street and into the alley ways. When we looked up the road we saw a Humvee full of military clad police driving along slowly. The thought crossed our minds that maybe we should run away like all the locals as well, but our beer induced confidence let us stay and watch as the street emptied of all local traders. The street was silent and we asked our host in the restaurant what was happening. He informed us that it is illegal in Vietnam to street-sell or do anything considered “dodgy” in front of Ho Chi Minh and only 15 meters away from us was a 10 meter tall golden Ho Chi Minh statue! After a sigh of relief we thought it was pretty funny, and the outlook of being executed in the street by some militant gang we didn’t know about dissipated! It wasn’t even 10 minutes after the cops had left that the street was bustling and full of vendors again .
^^ Hanging out with Ho Chi Minh
This was the end of day 1 and I hope the next 2 days are just as good!!!