A tour of the Mekong Delta (Part I)

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Mekong delta tours

Mekong delta tours

 

I  did a two day and one night tour of the Mekong Delta for… $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!

I do and don’t like tours

Although I consider myself an independent traveler, I think tours are valuable in more ways than one! Especially if you’re traveling alone. So I occasionally take them and encourage others there’s no shame in using them.

The only thing I wrestle with occasionally is that a tour itinerary doesn’t always allow as much free time to explore a place, as you’d like. Sometimes, 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 be tempted to want more time to explore this world!

Still, being on a tour isn’t bad and a good English speaking guide more than makes up for it.

Read How to Book Tours in Vietnam
You can also safely book Mekong Delta & Saigon tours here.

Vietnamese River Boat

Vietnamese River Boat

Shopping on the Mekong Delta

Shopping on the Mekong Delta

Boarding our boat for a cruise down the Mekong River

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.

“Vietnam”. 

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”.

Great answer.

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…

Aquarium at a village snack shop : this was biggest fish I’ve seen in a while.
About 2-3 feet in size, it looked like it could swallow my foot whole!

Mekong DeltaVietnamese river house on stilts


(to be continued…)

Information:

I took this tour with Delta Adventures Tours.

My package included:

•    An English-speaking guide
•    Accommodation: A newly remodeled hotel stay, which served free breakfast
•    Number of cities : Three
•    Transportation: three types of boat rides down the Mekong Delta, spacious A.C.  buses, a bike tour
•    Sightseeing:  A floating market,  visit to a rice paper and a coconut candy factory , a rice mill, a bike stroll through a Mekong village, etc….

It cost  $19 ! I don’t think I’ll be going to a concierge anytime soon.

Unfortunately, this website is no longer in operation.
If you wanted to book a tour in advance, you can safely book Mekong Delta & Saigon tours through Viator here.

Previous Post
Photo Essay: The neon blaze of Saigon at night
Next Post
Rice is Life on the Mekong Delta (Part II: Vinh Long, Can Tho)

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6 Comments. Leave new

Hey, the tour sounds awesome! What was the same of the hostel you stayed in? I´m about to book one, this would help me a lot! Thanks!

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Laura in Cancun
August 30, 2010 3:09 pm

What a cool tour! Loving your pictures. I can’t wait to hear the rest.

That’s quite a sexy polka dot poncho 🙂

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Veronica Baker
August 29, 2010 3:02 pm

hey remember the time that you took pictures of a funeral procession because you thought it was a parade?

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OMG, I am so busted! I do that thing with the photographs all the time! I’ll take pictures of some building where I like the architecture, but then when I get around to labeling my photos, I have no idea what it is! It’s embarrassing.

Reply

    @Veronica: Thanks for blowing my cover! ha ha… Yeah, that picture is posted on this blog! Thanks tour guide! Without you, I wouldn’t been like– “I saw this festival parade in Vietnam…”
    @Gray: Don’t worry… guilty here & Veronica’s just outed me even more. This trip I tried to focus on restraining myself from taking too many random pictures that I didn’t have information about. Obviously the restraint wasn’t full-proof.

    Reply

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