Day 1: HCMC – Cai Be Floating Market – Tan Phong Island
6.30 AM: The group will depart from Ho Chi Minh city to Cai Be by car or van. The van will take the road of Trung Luong Express Highway which is part of the North-South Expressway. While driving on this road, the group will stop at Tan An town – the capital city of Long An province – to take pictures. Tan An town possess many picturesque rice fields.
9.30 AM: The group will arrive in Cai Be around this time. Right after arriving, visitors will change from van to motor boats to travel on the Mekong River. Going along the river, the group will soon reach the famous Cai Be floating market. Floating market is a signature type of market that almost only exists in this rivery area of the country. This bustling floating market is where locals buy and sell products from their boats. Samples of fruits, foods, local specialties are hung in front of the boats to tell people what kind of products a boat sells.
After the floating market, the group will go back on land to visit a small family business to learn about the process of making coconut candy and Vietnamese style crispy rice popcorn. Different from other types of candy, coconut candy – the specialty of the Mekong Delta area – is not simply hard candy with coconut flavor but has its own unique shape, taste and texture. It is white or green, chewy, has strong scent of coconut and a deep taste of natural harmonious sweetness. From the candy workshop, visitors will visit the small villages to wander in their beautiful orchard and fruit plantations. During the stroll in the orchard, visitors will be entertained by the performances of the traditional Vietnamese folk music, performed by the locals themselves. Fruits hand-picked from the orchard together with honey tea will also be served.
11.30 AM: The group will keep cruising along the Mekong River to explore a series of small canals. The boat will head to Tan Phong island which is about 12 miles from the Cai Be floating market. Here, visitors will get to join a free Vietnamese cooking class in a fruit garden where you will learn how to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes. Food prepared by yourself and dishes that are prepared with fresh materials from the river will be served for lunch in the center of the fruit garden. After lunch, you can lie down and swing yourself in the comfortable winds on the hammocks to relax and gain back your energy.
14.00 PM: Each visitor will get a bike to cycle along the village soil paths into villages, fruit orchards and bonsai gardens. Not many roads are covered with tar and built evenly and smoothly in the area. Riding a bike on the bumpy red-looking soil road will give you an idea of how people move around and experience a crucial part of the locals’ everyday lives. While stopping at places during the cycle trip, visitors will meet local islanders to learn and observe more about the pastoral life in the Mekong Delta.
15.00 PM: The group will meet up with our local guide in the island to meet up with the group’s homestay for the night. The group will spend the night at local people’s houses on the island. After meeting with the home stay hosts and settling down, everyone is free to walk around the house, the village and the surrounding areas to explore on their own. For dinner, the homestay hosts will help and guide you to make your own dinner (typically Vietnamese dishes) so your living-as-a-local experience can be more complete. Stay the night at the homestay house.
Day 2: Cai Be Floating Market – Ho Chi Minh city
Breakfast will be served early in the morning. After breakfast, gathering back as a group, the group will head to Ba Duc’s Ancient House. Lying only about 1 km away from the center of Cai Be, Ba Duc’s Ancient House is one of the few ancient houses that has been well-preserved. Built in the 19th century, the house is the combination of two architectural styles at once: French and Vietnamese. There is a 3 hectares garden with many types of fruits and ornament plants surrounding the house.
After visiting the ancient house, you will have a chance to learn more about the procedure of the production of one of the most signature Asian cuisine food – rice. You will visit a rice husking mill to see what “magic” this simple machine does to turn the golden grassy types of plants into the clean, tiny, round, white piece of rice. Besides rice production, the group will also see the production of other hand-crafted goods or materials unique to the Mekong Delta area like: “Cham La” which are the specially prepared coconut leaves used to weave the roots of houses or the red bricks used to build houses.
After that, the last meal of the trip will be served at a local restaurant with mostly local cuisine. Everyone gets back to the van or car to go back to Ho Chi Minh city. The bus is estimated tol arrive in Ho Chi Minh city at around 4:30 PM. The trip ends.
* Included: A/C car with drinking water, English speaking tour guide, boat trips, lunch, fruit, honey tea, entrance fee, cooking class, bike, 1 night homestay
* Excluded: Travel insurance, beverage, personal costs.