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Vietnam Visual Diary: A Day Trip on the Mekong Delta

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2016

Day 2 in Vietnam! For our only full day in Ho Chi Minh City, Trishna and I pretty much unanimously decided to hit the Mekong Delta Tour instead of the other popular alternative for tourists, the Cu Chi Tunnels Tour.

Booking the tour
Based on online reviews, we booked our tour in person at Sinh Cafe Travel when we reached Ho Chi Minh the day before, because the reviews online said it was the cheap + reputable (they also sell bus tickets between cities!) For a day tour to the Mekong Delta we paid 289,000 dong - approximately USD13.00 or SGD18.00.

After speaking to our fellow travelers from Airbnb, we found out that they paid USD35.00 for basically the exact same tour itinerary with the same tour group size - because they booked online through an angmoh site, i.e. Viator. Their tour guide was apparently enthusiastic, but they couldn't understand what he was saying anyway because his English was so accented.

So, if you want cheaper tour packages, booking online may not be the most value for money - just head to the famous De Tham road (where all the tour agencies are) when you are in HCMC itself to book it in person!

Our tour experience
Ok, so our tour guide wasn't the most passionate guy about the Mekong Delta out there. He clearly does these tours every day based on his dispassionated narration throughout the trip such as "To your left, here comes a watermelon boat... To your right is a rambutan boat..." I am sad to say I don't know any more about the history of the Mekong Delta than before I came to Vietnam. But hey, I guess you get what you pay for, haha.

BUT regardless, we had our own fun just chilling, chit chatting and taking pictures! The chartered boat for our tour group took around the villages to try their local delicacies and see the rural Vietnamese "way of life". Clearly, everything was a tourist trap to sell us goods such as their rice paper (for spring rolls) selling at double the price as the markets outside (a good price to pay would be 20,000 - 30,000 dong, or SGD$1.50 for a stack of them) but even at the inflated price, it's still really cheap and supports them, so... heck. And at least we got to see how they were made, so that was interesting.

Also for some odd reason, even though we were on an English speaking tour, there was not a single Westerner in our group despite there being tons at the agency when we were making the booking. It seems that as we made the booking, the tour agency basically racially profiled us... LOL?

We stopped by a village in which they had prepared a spread for us - including the scary ass looking fried fish above, braised (mystery) meat, fried spring rolls, and random veggies it looked like it had been sitting out there for a while, but no tummy problems at all!

A Vietnamese lady entertained us throughout lunch by cutting up the fish and rolling it into spring rolls. These were actually my favourite spring rolls the entire trip. I think it has something to do with a legit local personally hand rolling them for you, and yes, it was delicious. Also, Trishna and I would never have ordered an entire fish for just the two of us the whole trip, so I'm glad we got to try this out!

By the way - the lunch was included in our tour price (SGD18.00) - super worth it!

Overall thoughts
The bus ride was really long back from the Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City - 3 hours, hence we spent almost the whole day from 7am to 5pm out there. I guess I wouldn't have minded one more day just to cover the Cu Chi Tunnels and learn some actual history about Vietnam, but luckily there's Wikipedia? Also, classic Vietnam, but the bus driver basically honked non-stop for 3 hours all the way back to the city, and not in a useful way, but more of an I-have-anger-management-issues way, haha.

Soon yeah I guess it wasn't my favourite day out of our whole trip. We had our own fun but at least there were better things to come! If you have any questions feel free to drop them in my comment section, I'd love to share more about my experiences :)

Bye Mekong Delta!