The Mekong Delta

Our first day in Saigon also involved organinsing a sight seeing tour from Saigon to the Mekong Delta culminating in a river boat journey from Chau Doc to Phonm Penh in Cambodia. Our eventual westward destination was Siem Riep, where we were going to check out the famed ruins of Angkor Wat. Travelling there via a Mekong delta tour was a convenient, inexpensive and hopefully rewarding choice to make.

Organinsing the Mekong Delta tour

Organinsing the Mekong Delta tour was easy but deciding which one to go on was tricky. There is just so many travel agants in the Pham Ngu Lao area and all of them offered all sorts of Mekong Delta tours. One day, two day or three day, returning or not returning to Saigon. After collecting a few brochures and enquiring at a few travel agents we decided they all offered much the same thing, all could make any variations to the advertised tour you asked for and all went for much the same price. We booked a 3 day 2 night tour from Saigon to Phonm Penh with an upgrade to a faster boat between Chau Doc and Phonm Penh. The total cost was about $55 US each and this included some meals, all sight seeing tour fees and fan room accommodation for 2 nights. So it was a good price.

The Bus from Saigon

The day started with us getting picked up at the hotel by a mini bus and shuffled around a couple of other buses until the tour guides settled on a bus that would take us to My Tho on the Mekong River. Now the thing is that no matter which travel agent or tour you book (1, 2 or 3 day) it seems that everybody ends up on the same bus out of Saigon. It appeared that all the travel companies just added up the numbers and organised the whole thing on the spot. When you organise a Mekong Delta tour in Saigon you really have to be prepared to go with the flow. (Pun Intended) After about 90 minutes we arrived at My Tho and boarded a boat for a day of river cruising. On the way we stopped at a handicapped workers factory where they make all this great artwork out of crushed eggshells, pretty amazing.

First Impression

Boarding the boat at My Tho was an instant buzz. The Mekong is litterally breathing with life. Boats of all sizes and shapes, with every purpose imaginable, zig zagging up, down and sidewards. Little one man fishing boats bobbing along beside powerful tugboats towing barge loads of sand, small boats with large motors and large boats with small oars, brightly painted tourist boats swerving out of the way of very large, very bare wooden boats transporting goods of every description up and down the maze of connected waterways. You might think you have arrived at a scene of absolute nautical chaos except that nobody anywhere is in the least bit concerned. It is just the vietnamese people going about there everyday life on the Mekong. Layed back casual chaos is the norm on the Mekong Delta and it is a must see attraction of Vietnam no matter how short you are on time.