A trip to Ho Chi Minh City would not be complete without a trip to the Mekong Delta region. I was excited to see all of the rice fields and houses on stilts located along the river. It was nice to get out of the hectic city and get a glimpse of this Vietnamese way of life.
We booked a day trip tour to the Upper Mekong River with TNK Travel. I had read some great reviews about this travel agency and decided to book the tour with them on our first day in Ho Chi Minh City. This travel agency is located near the backpacking area of District One.
We payed 550.000 VND ($25 USD) for a small group tour of about 20 people. The larger tour, around 40 people, was 220.000 VND ($10 USD). We opted to pay a bit extra for a smaller tour and for pick up and drop off at our hotel.
After much confusion about when and where the tour van was picking us up, a nice lady at a different travel agency contacted TNK Travel and helped us out and we were finally picked up by the tour van around 8:00 am. Here we met our hilarious tour guide Anh. We rode in the van for about an hour and a half to our first stop Vinh Trang Pagoda, a Buddhist temple located near My Tho.
After the pagoda we drove to the harbour and got on a boat. We stopped at three different islets on our tour. The first islet stop was Turtle Island where we got to try local seasonal fruit and listen to ladies singing traditional southern Vietnamese folk music which also included a (not so traditional) rendition of “If You’re Happy and You Know it”.
After this we boarded a small boat that cruised the smaller canals rowed by tiny Vietnamese ladies. The ladies rowing the boat kept asking for tips the whole time and by the time we were almost to our destination the lady rowing behind me hit me in the head with the paddle and demanded I give her money.
Sidenote: After this stop I got super sick. I spent the rest of the trip running in and out of bathrooms and trying not to faint. So I am sorry for the lack of pictures but I was in no state to take any!
Our next stop was a Eco Bee Farm that focused on honey tea and honey products. We saw the bees at work and got offered honey straight from the slate. It also had a python that crazy people decide to hold. I ran in the opposite direction as Sam placed it around his neck.
After this we boarded the boat again and headed for Coconut Island. I LOVE coconuts and any product to do with them. But unfortunately this is where I was at my sickest and spent the whole time in the bathroom. I was so sad to not have had the chance to watch them make coconut candy and to try the coconut whisky.
TIP: PRACTICE YOUR SQUATS before you travel to Vietnam. I got quite the workout with all my bathroom stops.
Our last stop was Tortoise Islet where we had lunch. This place had a very disney feel to it. The lunch was great which included pork, prawns, and the Mekong Delta fish. I spent most of this stop on a hammock feeling sick and sorry for myself.
From there it was a quick trip back to the harbour and onto our van, back to Ho Chi Minh City.
If you are looking for an authentic Mekong Delta tour this would probably not be for you. This tour was super touristy and reminded me a lot of a disney like theme park in the middle of the Mekong Delta.
Have you guys been to the Mekong Delta? Did you have a different experience than me? Would love to hear your stories!