The Mekong Delta is a region of Vietnam that’s a two hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). This large swath of land covers 15,600 square miles and is made up of rivers, swamps, and islands with villages and floating markets throughout. Many of the inhabitants of the Mekong Delta rely on boats as their primary form of transportation. The Mekong Delta makes for an amazing day trip for travelers making their way through Southern Vietnam, especially those staying in Ho Chi Minh City. On our day trip we enjoyed local foods and treats, a canal boat ride, a visit to a coconut candy factory, a horse drawn carriage ride, and more!
Our day started early for our outing to Mekong Delta with a 7:30 pickup at our hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. We were once again in the hands of our amazing guide, Tino, from My Odyssey Tours. To break up the length of our drive to Mekong Delta, we stopped along the way at the Vinh Trang Temple in My Tho.
Vinh Trang Temple in My Tho
Ving Trang Chua is a Buddhist temple located in the city of My Tho. The temple was constructed pretty recently, having been completed in 1850.
The main hall of the Ving Trang contains various Buddha statues, including Amitabha, Gautama, and quite a few bodhisattvas.
The outside temple gardens of Ving Trang Chua have a pagoda, two massive concrete statues, and a multitude of beautiful potted plants.
Bee Hives And Dried Fruit
From Ving Trang Chua, we drove to our boat dock launching point on Mekong Delta to begin our exploration on the water. The old motor boat we took along with our skipper set the mood for what was to be an incredible day.
Our first stop for the day was at a beehive farm where honey and other honey based products are manufactured. It was incredible to see the number of bees going to work to produce the goods we were consuming
After seeing the bees at work, we sat down to enjoy some tea, plantains, and something that had the look of a honey based granola bar. After tea, we met back up with our boat skipper and made our way over to a Quoi An fruit orchard where we would get to eat locally grown fruits while listening to traditional Mekong music.
Quoi An Fruit Orchard With Traditional Music
When we arrived at the fruit orchard we got to walk around and relax for a bit before being seated to a table of fruits and tea. The pineapple, dragon fruit, jackfruit, banana, and papaya were simply out of this world delicious. I almost never get to eat fruit this fresh at home, so it was a real treat.
After enjoying the fruits and tea, we were treated to some traditional Vietnamese music and singing from the locals. My favorite traditional instrument is the dan nhi, a two string sawing bow instrument that sounds like a high pitch fiddle.
After enjoying the fruits and music of the fruit orchard, we made our way to an outdoor coconut candy production factory. At the entrance, we learned how the coconuts are still husked by hand.
After watching the husking process, we moved on to the automated machine work or pressing and mixing.
The final stage we watched was the creation and packaging of the candy. It was amazing to see that all of the candies were packaged by hand. It was very impressive to watch the seemingly mechanized way that this human assembly line was able to work.
After watching the process of making coconut candy, we made our way to the store of the factory. It was here that flavored candies, alligator leather products, jewelry, and many other things were sold. There was also a massive vat of rice wine fermenting with around 20 snakes. After some encouragement, I took a shot! It went down much easier than I thought it would.
Horse Drawn Cart Ride
The French colonial presence is everywhere in Vietnam. From north to south, it was impossible to miss how the Vietnamese culture still has remnants from the French. The French brought horses to the Mekong Delta for transportation in the 1880’s, and they’ve remained for more than a century. We enjoyed a horse drawn ride around a local village and were dropped off along the Vam Xep Canal for our next activity.
Vam Xep Canal
My favorite part of our visit to the Mekong Delta was our boat rode along the Vam Xep Canal. Before this trip to Vietnam, I had seen pictures and video of the Vam Xep Canal, and couldn’t wait to see it in person. Cruising along the thick mangroves, we passed by small villages and houses accentuated by the variety of tropical animals and plants.
Mien Tay Riverside Restaurant
Our final stop for the day was a late lunch at the Mien Tay Riverside Restaurant. The grounds of the restaurant are incredible, with a large seating area, fountains, and lots of tropical plants. Lunch consisted of five amazing courses, with the elephant ear fish being the main highlight. This fish is a staple of the Mekong Delta.
Heading Back to Saigon
After our late lunch, we made our way back to Saigon. It was an amazing day visiting the Mekong Delta. Part of me wishes we would have stayed the night to spend a little more time, but it’s hard to complain given all of the incredible things we were able to see in one day.
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