It has been an action packed two days, but I made it to the Mekong and back! We experienced a lot, too much to fit in one entry, so I’m going to split it up into multiple entries. I will start out by saying that the only plans Annie and I made for the trip were to leave for Can Tho sometime Tuesday morning, and make it back to Saigon by Thursday afternoon. We didn’t book any transportation, lodging or tours in advance. Like I said in an earlier post, you just have to go with the flow here. Trust yourself and trust the people around you to help guide the way. And that is exactly what we did.
On Tuesday morning Annie and I arrived at the bus station a little after 9AM. We hoped off our motos and were immediately approached by five or so different people telling us that their bus company has the best deal for us. We ignored them all and headed for the Mah Linh ticket counter because Mah Linh is the company that owns all of the taxis in HCMC. Their prices are no more expensive than other companies, so Mah Linh seemed like the safe choice. For only 80,000 Dong ($4), we waited about half an hour for the next bus to Can Tho and enjoyed a relaxing, air-conditioned ride. We arrived in Can Tho around 2:30PM and as soon as we stepped off the bus at bus station were surrounded by at least 10 moto drivers asking us where we were going. Annie and I did not know where we were going so we tried to escape them all by going into the bus station, but were unsuccessful and followed by at least three drivers. We had looked up some hotels in Annie’s Lonely Planet book so we made a quick decision to just pick one of the hotels in the book and have one of the moto guys drive us there.
When we arrived at the guesthouse the owners welcomed us in and helped us plan our itinerary for our stay in Can Tho. We booked a room for one night and a six-hour boat tour through the Mekong and to the Floating Markets. All together it was $20 per person. After we sorted all of that out we dropped off our bags and went out to explore the town. Can Tho is supposed to be the largest city in the Mekong, but it seriously felt like a ghost town. We were in the center of town in the middle of the afternoon but it was dead quiet and there were very few people inside the shops and restaurants. Maybe we are just used to the chaos of HCMC, but it was really weird! When it got a little closer to dinner time things picked up a bit, but there was still substantially less going on than what happens in HCMC. The other thing that was a bit strange was there wasn’t really anything to do in the town. We had a few hours to kill before dinner so we walked by the river, had coffee in a cafe, popped into some bookstores and hit up most of the major buildings and statues in town. We were able to entertain ourselves, but I definitely thought the town was going to have more to offer. Anyways, here are some pictures from the afternoon.
Overall, it was a nice afternoon but I can’t say I found Can Tho terribly interesting. There just didn’t seem to be very much to do and the town was very quiet. I’m going to stop for now. It’s almost 7 here and I’m starving and need to get some dinner. But the trip to Can Tho was absoultely worth it and I will write about that in the next entry. Hopefully by midnight my time tonight that post will be up!