(River cruising, February 17, 2015)
(River cruising, February 17, 2015)

Give yourself a break, travel and enjoy life.

With a total length of 4,909 km, Mekong river is considered as one of the world’s greatest river systems (Mekong River Commission). It is the “longest in Southeast Asia, 7th in Asia, and 12th in the world” (Encyclopedia Britannica). It flows through six countries namely, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam. Among these six countries, the river delta (the area where the mouth of the river is located, or where the river flows to the open sea or ocean) is located in South Vietnam. And one of the gateways to the Mekong River Delta is through the capital of Tien Giang Province, My Tho, which is about 70 kms away from Ho Chi Minh City. The Mekong River Delta is also considered as the country’s “Rice Bowl” (Lonely Planet),

Visiting the river delta is relatively easy due to the numerous tour offers within Ho Chi Minh. You can either book earlier through online or through your respective hotels, hostels, or inns. There are different tour packages which includes various activities and duration. When we visited the country, we only had few days for our entire stay so we opted to just take the day tour package.

The entire tour package gave us the following experience:

  • River cruising using small paddled boats

Although the water of the river was so murky, we still enjoyed the experience of touring along the small canals of the river. The whole stretch of the canal walls is covered with lush green Nypa fruticans. Because the traffic is light to moderate (because of the number of visitors), we were able to truly appreciate the experience. We noticed that there are both male and female paddlers, as well as young and very old ones. It shows that there is a small difference in there gender roles in this area.

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  • Be amazed with different islands within the Mekong River

There are four main islands within the River Delta, namely, Dragon, Phoenix, Turtle and Unicorn. These islands where named after the four benevolent animals/ animal symbols of the Vietnamese Culture. These islands have different beauty at its own right. Aside from these major islands, you could also visit Thoi Son Islet.

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  • Enjoy a life in the farm

Being the rice bowl of the country, Mekong Delta will surely give you a taste of how life in a farm looks like. All the islands that we visited has a natural ambiance of a typical farm in South East Asia, with all the trees planted all over the place, as well as the animals within the vicinity.

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  • Bring home some goodies and souvenirs for your loved ones

In most islands in Mekong Delta, you can  buy different souvenirs and local delicacies such as honey products, teas, candies, some nuts. You could also buy some other products such as soaps and ointments. In Thoi Son Islet, you could also watch how the sweet candies are made and packaged.

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  • Have a taste of local delicacies and fresh tropical fruits of Vietnam

In almost all the islands that we visited, we feasted in their freshly-picked and very sweet tropical fruits, including bananas, chicos, pineapples, among others. Aside from these, we also tried their different teas (such as honey tea) and sweet delicacies.

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  • Have a relaxing day by listening to the local music

Lastly, a cultural tour will never be complete without listening to a local musical presentation. For about 15 to 20 minutes. A group of local performers will serenade the visitors with their good voice and great play of local musical instruments. Good food and good music, a pair made in heaven.

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We spent the whole day roaming around the islands and appreciating the culture. After the travel, we headed back to Ho Chi Minh City and spent our night savoring more of the country’s local cuisine while enjoying its night life.

When we left, we took nothing but pictures, we left nothing but memories.

Other notes:

  • If you want to know more about the river and the country, it is best to ask the tour guides even during some of your break times.
  • With your limited time in each island, still try to roam around the area and observe to discover more about their culture.
  • If you want to check for hotels within Ho Chi Minh City online, you could go to the website of Agoda, which we did for our travel.

Trivia:

  • During cold months, the water in the river is freshwater while during warm season, it is salt water. It is because of salt water intrusion from the ocean due to the lowered water level in the river.
  • Vietnamese people plant a lot of coconuts because they love putting coconut milk in their deserts instead of animals’ milk.

For more photos, pls visit my Life gallery.

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