Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mekong Delta day tour from Saigon Tours Vietnam

We signed up a day tour from Saigon Tours Vietnam to visit Mekong Delta to see their floating market. Because it was a few hours drive from HCMC, the guide stopped by a cafeteria for us to drink Vietnamese coffee and coconut water. Vietnamese coffee tastes very strong and acidic, I became awake not because of the caffeine but because of the strong taste ( ̄▽ ̄;;) 

Before reaching the ferry, we dropped by a temple called Cao Dai in Vietnamese. The guide swapped the brick-making tour with this that was not included in itinerary.

They worship 4 religions in one place: Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Catholicism. It was quite an interesting blend of all 4 figures in one place.

Next we board the ferry boat to cruise along Mekong river!

This is the Cai Be Floating Market!?

Frankly speaking we were disappointed as there were only a few boats doing trading. We were told that there would be flowers during end of year and more boats in early morning, say 6am, before the sun gets really hot in the afternoon. Maybe joining a 2-day tour would be better by getting there early on the 2nd day. However I read that merchants had decreased dramatically ever since the completion of bridges so goods are increasingly delivered by land instead of boat. So forget about this Mekong Delta tour and join the other cheaper one if you only got a day.

We stopped by a honey farmer for some snacks and honey tea.

It's not in the photo but I bought some royal jelly, and I must say IT TASTES HORRIBLE. I'm not sure if it was spoilt or it tastes naturally rancid. I also later realised fresh royal jelly needs to be refrigerated but I was outside all day under the hot weather. Seriously regretted the purchase and paid 1,000,000 dong for 6 small bottles.

Next we went to tour a farmer's house and listen to local folk singing. We saw many hammocks along the way, maybe Vietnamese enjoy taking afternoon naps?

They had a water catchment well to catch rain water for rearing fishes. They use river water for washing and rain water for drinking. They were reluctant to use tap water as it costs money.

They avoided using pesticides by wrapping the fruits with plastic bags.

They also grew many herbs and vegetables along their irrigation canal. These farmers are self-sustaining by growing and reusing everything they need, very eco friendly!

They removed the hammocks when we returned and performed 3 songs. Our tour guide translated briefly about the story of each song. I think this is entertainment without TV.

They served some fruits but it tasted average, maybe because they did not use fertilizer, so its organic!?

Next we went to our lunch location which had a bonsai garden.

Bonsai in Vietnam looked very different from Japan... they were large, bushy and dry :/

This fish is called Elephant Ear Fish and the meat was not tender at all... :/

You eat by wrapping with rice paper and dip into sauce. But still NG (no good).

The shrimps were nice though, I ate two :P

We went back to Mekong river and saw this boat loading up the longans, finally something! It was refreshing to smell fresh longan :)

Our next destination is a rice paper and candy making factory and they even had a cock fighting show if you pay for it!

The lady doing demo for rice paper making was apparently not happy about her job, she had that gloomy face for the entire time...

They also kept snake wines.

We tasted one that was 5 years old. It was 45% alcohol and had a strong exotic (snake?) flavour. It really burns your throat and we had to sip some water after that.

I watched this on a FB video before about this amazing wok with unlimited rice popping up. It was actually rice with husks that were poured into hot black sand and rice popped out due to the heat.

It was warm and nice, like popcorn, but no flavour. I think I like it fresh than packaged.

Then it was snack time again to buy souvenirs.

Overall this tour brought us to many places to buy things and we think the other cheaper day tour would be sufficient. Don't go for the Mekong Delta River day tour because there is hardly any merchants by the time you get there. It is better to go for 2-day tour if you really want to see the floating market in action.

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