A few zips away from the busy downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, you can be suddenly whisked away to a bucolic setting just by the great Mekong River of Indochina. Due to siltation, the water may be brown and murky but that doesn’t mean you’ll be bored with the standard river tour.
With the standard boat tour you get to ride in a wooden boat – similar to those junk boats in Hong Kong, but a little smaller and without sails. They may not look very sturdy, but they are equipped with floating vests and life savers, and of course they get the job done taking you from one river delta location to another.
Cruising down the river, you get to see lots of water crafts, fish pens and prawn farms. One interesting picture I got to take was this fleet of fishing boats tied by the riverbanks.
Since it was almost lunchtime when we left downtown Ho Chi Minh, our first stop was a restaurant by the river. They served the usual yummy Vietnamese fare such as fresh spring rolls, rice, pho, noodles and fruit. But this time there’s a twist – the fresh spring rolls are prepared in front of you. Below is the picture of the fried fish whose meat was used to prepare the fresh spring rolls.
Next stop was a place where they make these candies made out of coconut milk. The candies are so gooey that they stick to the roof of your mouth. I went home with a few packs of these and kept them inside the fridge – which made them hard and difficult to eat.
The last leg of the tour involves us taking small rowboats to zip through the small river tributaries. The rowers are ladies clad in bright blue silk shirts (one of the photos below involves one lady napping in a hammock) and donning traditional asian straw hats.
You couldn’t imagine the upper body strength of these ladies, rowing every single day. I wonder how they would fare against our Philippine Dragon Boat Team champions. 🙂
There are also some shops selling traditional Vietnamese crafts near the restaurant we ate in. Live entertainment was also provided by bands singing local songs while you want to lounge in one of the shops and eat tropical fruits such as pineapple, durian and dragonfruit – Vietnam’s national fruit. The fruits are served with salt and bits of chili pepper.
After the boat tour, we headed back to our van and went to the Snake Farm – to be covered in another post. 🙂