Despite being work free this week, it has taken me days to finally sit down and continue writing about my trip to the Mekong. I’ve been running errands around the city and just haven’t been in the mood to deal with my slow computer. My last post left off in Can Tho, where Annie and I had just finished seeing the floating markets. Since we started our boat ride at 5AM in the morning, we finished around 11AM and were able to gather our stuff and catch a minivan headed toward our next destination, My Tho, before noon. We took a nice charter bus to Can Tho, but our ride to My Tho was definitely not as glamorous. We were packed in a large minivan with about 15 other Vietnamese people. It was a tight squeeze, but we made it to My Tho without any problems. When we arrived in My Tho we met up with another housemate, Rhona, at the central market in town. It wasn’t much of a central market if you ask me, but our moto driver who took us from the bus stop to the market informed us that the real attractions in My Tho are the canals and islands. He worked at a local homestay located on the island Ben Tre and we booked a boat tour through him that toured all the islands and ended at the homestay in Ben Tre. It’s kind of crazy to think that we trusted this random moto driver but like I said, you just have to go with the flow here. He accompanied us to our boat and said that he would meet us at Ben Tre after we finished the island tour.
The boat ride around the islands was nice, but it wasn’t as interesting as the boat ride in Can Tho. There was just so much more to see in Can Tho. The river was lined with houses and riding around all morning gave me a really good sense of what life is like for people who live in the Mekong Delta. In My Tho the islands had local inhabitants, but the islands seemed much more catered toward tourists. Unfortunate, but what are you going to do?
We first stopped at Unicorn Island and sat down to try out some local honey tea, banana wine, ginger candy, coconut candy and fruit. The honey tea was amazing, but the banana wine was pretty gross. It is called wine but it smelled so strong and definitely tasted like something much stronger than wine. The one shot I did there is probably the last shot of banana wine I”ll ever do. The coconut candy was really delicious and we decided to buy a few packs to take back home to HCMC.
Before leaving Unicorn Island, we temporarily changed boats and hopped on a smaller boat to ride through some of the canals. After Unicorn Island we moved onto Turtle Island to hike along the river and watch the sunset. Our walk around the island was very beautiful because the sun was setting and the color of the sky kept on changing. As we walked around the island we passed by some local homes and saw lots of kids playing outside, adults preparing dinner and twenty some year olds gathered around in groups playing gambling games. Our boat lady gave us twenty or so minutes to walk around the island and then we had to be back on the boat to watch the actual sunset on the river. Luckily, there weren’t many other tours near us so we got to experience it in relative peace and quiet.
So my first trip to the Mekong is almost fully documented. There will be one more post that will have pictures from the fish feast we had at our homestay and the morning bike ride we took through the local streets of Ben Tre. I hope you guys like these pictures and they make you want to come visit!!!