September 6, 2015

Cruising Through the Mekong

From the Tibetan Plateau of Yunnan province in the People's Republic of China, the Mekong river including its tributaries, passes through several countries in South East Asia. Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and all the way to Vietnam.

Boats or ferries that tours travellers around the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

From Ho Chi Minh City, we traveled about 2-3 hours by van due south all the way to the city of Ben Tre located at the province of the same name. In Ben Tre, there is a river delta where the Mekong River meets up with the southern waters of the Vietnamese country. As we arrived at the port/station, we were greeted by beautiful boats that will give us a trip around the river delta.

Me aboard the beautiful boats around the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

I was with my brother Wilson and cousin Judy and we were joined by four other travellers. A couple from Alaska and another couple from Australia. They were friendly and nice and I even get to be friends with the Alaskan couple Karen and Mike Tennison. Karen and Mike are just really cool people and they are so much fun to be with. I am so lucky to have met them on this trip!

Alaskan couple Karen and Mike Tennison, my new friends at Vietnam

Que Dua Coconut Candy, our first stop at Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Our first stop was a place called Que Dua, which was a coconut candy factory. In there you can see how the whole processing of these sweet candies are being done. From turning coconuts into oil and then used with flavorings, up until it is hardened and cut into small pieces, you will really see how intricate the techniques on making those delicious little treats. It is sweet and bite sized but be careful though because it sticks in your teeth.

Right after that, we boarded a small boat and went to go to Lunch and then to a honeybee farm were there wee products for us to try like their freshly farmed honey, banana wine and the expensive but very nutritious royal jelly.

Vietnamese, American, Australian and Filipino happily on a boat in Vietnam

Our guide and the Aussie couple at the Honeybee farm, Vietnam

Right after the tasting and a few buying, we then board another type of boat! These ones were very small and narrow and can only fit about four passengers and a guide. As the guide paddles, we went inside these beautiful Nipa Palm arched passways that were naturally formed by the river. It creates a magical athmosphere as we slowly and gently pass through them.

Me and Ate Judy at the smaller boats, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Me at the Mekong Delta, Ben Tre, Vietnam

At the end of these beautiful and narrow river-ways, we got out of the boats walked a few hundred meters were a feast was prepared for us. A feast of different local tropical foods that can also be found here in the Philippines. Pineapple, Jackfruit, Papaya, Mangoes and Longans.

Tropical Fruit Feast, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Right after a healthy snack, we walked all the way back to our very first boat and it took us back to the port were our trip has started. The water of the Mekong river was chocolate brown or shall I say, coffee-with-creamer brown. Not because it is dirty but because of the rich amount of silt that comes with it as it starts it's trudge from the uplands of China.

My Brother Wilson, our Guide and Me, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

After we said our goodbyes at the van, we were dropped one by one on our hotels and then we aid goodbye and thanks to our driver and to our guide. I am so sorry I forgot her name but she was really cool and she knows a lot of things about the Philippines and our Language. Thank you Vietnam, I really enjoyed not just your culture but also the beauty of nature that surrounds your historic country.

Thank You Mekong, Thank You Vietnam