I did a two day and one night tour of the Mekong Delta with Delta Adventures… $19! (couldn’t you just cry?!)
No shocking travel stories, horrible food or nightmare tour guides, all went perfectly smooth. Boating down the Mekong Delta, biking through a village, cultural demonstrations, an English speaking guide and a hotel… it was perfect!
Being on tours, makes me both, comfortable and not.
If you’re like me, the only thing you’ll wrestle with that an itinerary doesn’t always allow as much free time to explore a place a bit as you’d like. Everything is dictated by the itinerary schedule and so your sightseeing can feel rushed. If you didn’t catch something… well, you didn’t catch it. With life in the Delta revolving around rice, river channels and riverboat commerce, you’d need time to see and understand the people and culture! Still, being on a tour isn’t bad.
The big difference between having an English-speaking tour guide vs. D.I.Y. tour
The bus picked us up early in the morning– a nice large and comfy A.C. tour bus! For around four hours my ass grew roots into the chair and it got me thinking~
As a travelers, there are times we take photos of things, which are either curious, exotic or which lends to our “Hall of Freak Show Travel Fame”, only to then stamp it with its country name.
Then someone looking at your trip photos asks you, “What is this?” only for you to admit you don’t know what it is but it looked “cool and different“.
“Cool and different”.
Having a tour guide who speaks good English makes a world of difference. They give you that extra ten feet to a mile that bridges “clueless” to informed.
A funeral procession
About the Mekong River and the Mekong Delta
It’s easy to get the two confused. Last year, I ventured to the northern tip of Thailand to see the Golden Triangle (the point where the Mekong River joins Laos, Burma/Myanmar and Thailand into a triangle and which once was the illicit spot which fed the opium-traffiking trade between Burma and Thailand). There wasn’t much to see other than barren lands, occasional boats and the opportunity to cross into Myanmar to experience this-
Taking a boat ride down the Mekong Delta
Interestingly, the Mekong Delta is a region where the Mekong River splits into nine channels, making for a lifestyle whose mainstay of life is the river. You’ll see houses on stilts shooting out of the water, river and fishing boats, commercial trade on the waterways and floating markets, etc… The blood vein of the Delta is the commerce and trade that happens there.
Curious, I asked our guide how much it costs to have a house there. He said it was like a $100 for a house on the river (not sure if that was monthly or annually)… that’s even if the house looks like a scrap shed. Real estate on the Mekong waterways is expensive.
The river’s waters are muddy from bank erosion, but rich in biodiversity. Her fish are said to grow to genetically gargantuan sizes. If I could see through all that mud, maybe I’d see them! Instead, I saw this…