Taking the Long Way travel blog

Boat 1 on the Mekong

The mighty Mekong River

A little muddier than I had anticipated.

Houseboats on the Mekong


Making coconut candy, each batch has to be cooked (and stirred) for...

Honey tea and royal jelly

My guide,King, holding a hive of bees

The worst singers I have ever heard, who serenaded us before lunch

The boat driver was insistent I wear a conical hat, despite the...


Rowing through the canals


Water buffalo

The lunch option...

Ferry to Can Tho


Jonny I found you a horse :P

Overcrowding on the river

My Mekong Delta tour kicked off this morning with a 2 hour bus ride to Ben Tre, the closest part of the Mekong To Saigon. From there I went in a series of big, medium and miniature row boats through various parts of the Mekong.

The Mekong Delta is a very rich and lush area, covered with rice fields. It produces about half of the total of Vietnam's agricultural output, primarily as it receives the bounty of the siltation from the upper Mekong in Laos and Cambodia.

I don't know what images the Mekong Delta conjures up for you but I was imagining swampy mangroves, jungle canopy, snakes, monkey, rustic village atmosphere...you get my drift. Well its nothing like that at all. I must admit I was disappointed, its just a great big old dirty river that is no different to any other with big cities liberally dotted throughout and no quaint charm whatsoever! The row boats were so plentiful that there were boat jams in the smaller canals with tourists nearly spilling out left, right and center.

Once I got over my disappointment that my fictitious Mekong was just a figment of my imagination I started to enjoy it a little more. We went to 4 different islands and watch coconut candy making, bee-keepers at work and had plenty of time to swan about and relax and eat lunch. The included lunch was a very small portion of rice and vegetables and they tried to get us to buy extra food, including a hideous looking fish dish that looked like something out of a nightmare.

From Ben Tre it was another few hours to Can Tho where I stayed the night. Can Tho is further into the heart of the Mekong but is actually Vietnam's 5th largest city with over 1 million people, so no small town feel here!

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