Average Elevation: 0 Meters
Day 1: Cai Be
We woke this morning in our hotel in
Hanoi, enjoyed the buffet and checked out. At 8am we walked out
of the front doors and looked for our next trip. I'm always
amazed these booked over the internet packages work, but the SUV idling
in front of us confirmed that I didn't need to make a call to the
credit card company. We had booked a 3 night
Mekong Delta trip and we had a driver, guide and car for the next 3.1
Our first destination was Cai Be. It's about 2 or 3 hours from Ho
Chi Minh City and so we had a drive to get there. The highway was
never up to Canadian standards, but our driver got us through pretty
quick. At some point the roads got smaller and then the driver
just pulled over. We got out and there was a river boat waiting
for us. Our guide got in first and we went for a short run out
into the river. Out first stop is a market that sold a variety of
refined food products. I
was particularly impressed with how rice wrap paper was made.
There were a number of stores / demo factories next to the river here
and each store specialized in a few products. The place was thick
with tourists which worried me about what the rest of the trip would
like. Helen and I had been shopping plent already so we
were reluctant to add to our burden but we did pick up some candy.
After this little demo we got back into our boat and motored out into
the Mekong. We watched traffic go by and eventually stopped at a
small restaurant set out over the river. We were almost alone
there with our beautiful view of the river and an impossibly large meal
in front of us. This was more like it!
Into the Canals
After lunch and a nice rest, we got back into our boat and motored down
a canal that seperated two large agricultural Islands. As we
slowly motored down the canal we caught glimpses of life - fruit being
transported and people harvesting snails from the river banks.
Hand pushed boats glided by (often carrying tourists). The people
on shore seemed friendly, often waving and smiling.
After what seemed forever wandering
canals (If I was
driving we would have gone around in circles) we came up to a dock and
were done - back in the Everest, fresh bottles of water and we drove to
Can Tho is on the other side of one of the
branches of the Mekong and we had to take a ferry to get across.
In the distance you can see a huge bridge being built so that traffic
can move easier. I was quite impressed with the scale - both of
the bridge and of the ferries. The ferries run 24 hours a day and
when we crossed there were at least 6 different ferries at various
stages of making the 10 minute trip. What is hard to
appreciate from a photo is that the Mekong can run pretty quick
(probably as the tide falls) so the ferries were strongly angled
against the current coming and going.
overnighted in Can Tho and the next morning
out for the markets
in the river.
The market in Can Tho is a wholesale market. Boats from the farms
nearby come to this market and sell their boatfull of goods to the
larger boats. The larger boats then sell a variety of goods to
smaller boats that go out to the smaller communities and sell the
goods. The heavy action happens early in the morning, but it was
still pretty active when we were there.
The larger trading boats generally have a stick thrust up into the air
with samples of the produce they have on board. Some trade
boats may have only a few products, some boats have pretty much
everything you can buy in the area.
After the markets, we drove toward Chau Doc. It's not a short
drive but thankfully our guide had a few stops in mind. Our
first stop was a bird sanctuary. We pulled over and our guide
rented some motor cycles and drivers to take us into the sanctuary -
perhaps 1000m from the road. The "sanctuary" is actually quite
small - it's a stand of bamboo that the little egrets have colonized.
Our final stop was a small family home making incesnse sticks.
Repetitive manual labour, but apparently it paid well enough to afford
Our last destination is Sam Mountain. Sam Mountain (a hill) is
the front most foothill on the border between the Mekong Delta and the
hills behind it. From the top of the mountain you can see into
Cambodia (See the large wet area) and Chau Doc on the bank of the
Mekong. This area is dry because of the water canal and dike
building. Because the land is drained here, the Vietnamese can
get another crop of rice out.
We stayed in a hotel half way between Chau Doc
and Sam Mountain.
Day 3: Chau Doc
We went out for another trip on the river. Chau Doc
is right on the border with Cambodia and there are fast boats here that
can take you deep into Cambodia.
We poked around some of the
Driving to Rach Gia
As we drove from Chau Doc to Rach Gia was
through rural fields and small villages. One village had a
festival going so we backed up the vehicle and took a look around.
surprised me was the child
I think it was all for fun, but the image of kids betting and adults
giving and taking money was a bit jaring.
As we continued driving towards the coast we passed a
field being harvested. Most fields are divided into a number of
smaller fields, each owned by a family. Come harvest time, the
community gets together to harvest the rice. A large threshing
machine (some self powered, some tractor powered) comes in and the
whole community contributes to process. Stalks are cut and
bundled and fed into the machine. Rice pours out of one end while
straw is thrown from the large gap. The staw is saved - it's
stored in the rafters of many homes for use as feed for the animals in
Tags: Vietnam(39), boat(11), farm(7), market(6), produce(5), bird(4)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > Vietnam > Mekong Delta
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 01:29:06 Edit
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